Attaching oneself to the popularity of a current cultural phenomenon is a tried and true promotional tactic used as far back by ad execs, the likes of Don Draper and the Mad Men. So, it didn't come as any surprise when someone in the social media space would seize the opportunity to tag on to one of the most popular TV dramas of the day: Game of Thrones.
Yes, "worlds collide" à la Seinfeld, when HootSuite takes on the task of drawing parallels to the "Great Houses" of the "Game of Thrones and the "Great Houses" of the "Social Media Realms."
Producing a creative infographic titled, "Social Medis Winter is Coming," the HootSuite team delineates some of what they call the 'social media blockades' of the day. Explained as such:
"In recent years, relations between the biggest houses in the realm have turned cold. All Paths Intersecting (API), the largest of houses, House of Twitter and House of Facebook, have been blockaded or cut-off. Who has suffered the brunt of these action but the citizens who use their networks. The following map illustrates the tense relations between these houses and how it affected travel within the social media realm."
HootSuite's analogy continues as they point to the war amongst social networks as "unfortunate" because their "walls aren't built to protect the citizens."
"While wars rage on behind the scenes, the users of these paths are beginning to find their favorite networks a lot less accessible, and a lot less social," notes the HootSuite team.
While HootSuite has done a great job in mapping out the realms controlled by Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest and others, it strategically places their own House (HootSuite Order of the Owls) smack dab in the center of the map, on an island on to itself.
It then describes itself benevolently as a neutral entity. With over 7 million members, its motto is "Stronger together" and "its owls carry messages between all Houses, unimpeded by blockades or battles."
Yes, the battles fought in cyberspace for online domination presents high stakes for all social networks involved. And yes, HootSuite should be given kudos to be the first to jump on "Game of Thrones" bandwagon. But as much as this infographic endeavor was their opportunity to critique the major social networks as no longer "being social" and/or user-friendly, in fairness, it should be noted that HootSuite doesn't always consider their citizenry as top priority either.
While HootSuite offers a freemium option for their basic service, HootSuite Pro is an expensive proposition at $8.99 per month. Yes, there are free reports like the ow.ly but the others are $50 per report. For medium-to-large size business with large social media teams this may work, but for smaller businesses or for the average individual user, these fees are a wee bit too pricey.
On the employment side of their business, HootSuite’s internship program came under fire in April after a Reddit thread outed the tech giant for illegally withholding pay for full-time interns. Over 500 comments had flooded the thread before HootSuite first reacted.
As a direct result, not only will future interns be paid, but the company will also be making restitution for all those who have worked for free at the Vancouver-based company for the past six months.
So while the HootSuite Order of the Owls repairs its own walls to protect their users (and employees), perhaps they might also remember that their House would have never been built had it not been for the Houses of Twitter, Facebook and Google, etc. 'Not biting the hand that feeds,' is also a cautionary note that comes to mind.
And while their analogy was very cleverly put together, they failed to include one key GOT parallel -- the dramatic twist.
So, here's hoping there's no "Red Wedding" on the horizon for the Game of Social Media Thrones -- or, for that one owl-like social media management system, that sits in the middle of it all!