Bloggers will be working overtime this weekend to give us “teaching moments” from the bullied bus monitor episode. It won’t be about the bullying, of course:
- The power of social media to “ignite” people to action
- The power of “viral” videos
- The power of “crowdfunding”
All of it crap.
We rarely enter this arena, but we were struck by two posts on The Washington, um, Post yesterday, within three hours of each other, two authors asking the same questions:
Is Karen Klein deserving of what is slowly working its way up to a half-million dollars? Is bullying “worth” $50,000 per minute? Why do strangers donate to “causes” like this?
In a perverse way of thinking, the Karen Klein story is what so many marketers have been trying to achieve for their own cause (read: brands and products), without a fraction of the success. Like The Washington Post writers, they must really be scratching their heads over this one.
[As a quick aside, we pray the Gen Y/Millennial pundits will pull in their sails. What more obvious signal do we need to understand how truly f&cked this country will be in about 20 years? What mental illness is it that would allow someone to video themselves bullying someone FOR TEN MINUTES?]
[An aside to our aside: Have we now reached the zenith, or the nadir, of “user-generated content”?]
Understanding this requires understanding “valuation.” For example, strangers will “like” some random Facebook brand page - whoopee. And they will donate just the amount of money needed to help a family recover from a fire (and not a penny more).
But they will assign an extraordinary value to Karen Klein’s recovery because of what she lost – her dignity.
People don’t have an upper limit when valuing what it takes to restore a person’s self-worth. To see it stripped away so disgracefully and inhumanely pushed a button deep inside those who chose to donate to Klein’s “vacation” fund.
And, not because she “could have been our mother or grandmother,” but because she could have been you.
Marketers and their brands can’t touch this, because they are in the business of trying to convince consumers that they could do with a little more dignity. Buy our clothes and you will be more beautiful. Buy our laptop and you will be the coolest person on the block. Etc.