Wal-Mart

Social networking is all about the ability to create an online identity, share something about yourself with others and most important"¦have fun. And sites like flickr are being flooded by people who want to share and blog about photos from around the world. Our data is showing flickr receives 4.9 million people a month. You can get lost on Flickr for hours while you tag and comment on some ridiculously funny photos. You can also be blown away by some amazing photography. Either way, it’s about sharing your photos with your friends and having fun.

Well, corporate social networking has reached a new level. Designed to engage and create a viral buzz with their teenage consumers, this month Wal-Mart launched a social-networking site called The Hub. Teens 13-18 have the ability to join and start their own pages, share photos and videos, and give the retail king some much needed advice on how to engage the teen consumer. The problem isn’t the effort or the site design; it’s the restrictions Wal-mart has put on the teens. Wal-Mart screens all the new page submissions to make sure it is appropriate, informs parents that their kids have joined, bans music, and does not allow e-mail between users. We understand that Wal-mart is looking out for the safety of their young consumers, but why be the mean baby-sitter who shuts the TV off and tells us to go to bed early? We bet the only buzz Wal-mart hears is the sound of the TV going on in the other room.

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