Monday, January 17, 2011

Gun Maker Glock Needs to Edit Its Social Presence

Here are two truisms that until today were in no way connected:

1) Corporate social media engagement is more credible and carries greater impact when the organization adheres to the highest levels of transparency; and

2) The right to bear arms is guaranteed to Americans in the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.

After reading this article on Brand Channel I took a stroll over to gun maker Glock's Facebook fan page.  I found many of the user submitted photos to be disturbing and, in light of the shootings this month in Tucson, in poor taste.

I don't own a gun, yet certainly respect those who elect to do so responsibly.  I also agree that companies should refrain from censoring the comments and contributions of their customers.

Yet, in this case I think Glock needs to take action and remove certain photos from its fan page.  They create a harmful impression of the company and its more mature customers.

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Update:  I shared my post with Strategic Communications Group's (Strategic) senior team and my colleague and partner Shany Seawright provided a well articulated and insightful response.  Wanted to share it.


Yesterday, Marc pointed to the Glock Facebook fan page and his post on the appropriateness of the photos that were uploaded by users. He asked our opinion on if Glock should remove photos that are inappropriate. 
 
Yet, what I think is inappropriate, a Glock fan would not. The fact is this is a fan page of guns
 
Personally, I felt that the photos that Glock uploaded were just as bad as the ones that users uploaded. But my personal opinion on guns aside, I would say that Glock is staying true to its industry and is not doing anything that another corporate fan page wouldn’t do.

They’ve provided guidelines for how users can engage http://www.facebook.com/GLOCKInc?v=photos#!/note.php?note_id=448975327606 and have protected themselves legally from what users may say or do. They also reserve the right to remove and delete any content that doesn’t follow the guidelines that they have set forth.

5 comments:

JeromePineau said...

Can you point to which pictures specifically you are referring? I mean there are a lot of them there...would be nice if you provided a few examples.
Thanks

Marc Hausman said...

Hey Jerome -- I appreciate you stopping by the blog.

Just click through to the BrandChannel article for a selection of inappropriate photos from the Glock Facebook fan page. I didn't see the need to re-publish images that verge on the offensive.

JeromePineau said...

I dunno, maybe an index? I don't see anything particularly shocking in there - would be interesting to see if they address your concerns though - have you tried communicating with them either on FB or out of band? Maybe they don't even know about the pics...I just find this use case interesting as a community manager myself :)
Thanks
J.

Marc Hausman said...

Jerome,

Interesting...your comment points to quite a challenge when it comes to social media engagement -- perception is personal.

For instance, I find photos of children with guns and slogans like "Suck my Glock" to be offensive.

That's not to say everyone feels the way I do because that could very much be part of the culture of gun ownership.

JeromePineau said...

I can't seem to find those pics - there's so many of them - but regardless, you're absolutely right - the slogan is tasteless no matter what the context and involving kids with guns, outside the context of firearm safety, is probably not warranted.
I don't think it's so much about gun culture - you find tasteless content in just about every industry, including luxury watches believe it or not. The community manager should set rules with respect to UGC that are in line with the brand's image and culture. I doubt this is what Glock would want to be associated with - in this case they are probably not monitoring content. In either case, what would be interesting is confronting them about it! Only then can you make a final judgement with respect to the company. If they don't care or are not on the ball, then everyone can reach their own conclusion.