Should marketers be concerned with the Facebook App, EnemyGraph?

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From the very beginning, social media has been known as a channel that helps people connect with old friends and make new ones. And although it has the reputation of being one big happy party, negativity rears its ugly head every now and then. Maybe it is the rude wall post from the jaded lover, or the late Saturday night tweet made by the disgruntled employee who probably had one too many. But even then, most people like to think of social media as a friendly medium where everything is peachy. That could all change if the makers of a new Facebook app have their way.

Introducing EnemyGraph

Created by a research group from University of Texas at Dallas’ Emerging Media and Communication program, EnemyGraph is a Facebook app specifically designed to allow users to  make enemies. So instead of liking something, users can now express their dislike of a person, place, company, or brand. Who or whatever a user specifies as their enemy is then posted online for all their friends to see. The EnemyGraph app has only been live for a short time, but it is rising in popularity fast. So far, Fox News, Rick Santorum, and Twilight are among the things that Facebook members using the application are not too fond of.

Marketing Implications of EnemyGraph

EnemyGraph doesn’t necessarily bring game changing implications to the table, but there may be cause for marketers to be concerned. For example, if your company suffers through a stint where the customer service is less than stellar, an application such as this could give that unfortunate period more attention than you would probably like. If EnemyGraph were able to take off, even to the point where the concept was adopted by other vendors, marketers who have regular interactions with the public would have to go above and beyond to keep their reputation intact.

Up to this point, most of the discussion surrounding EnemyGraph has been about all the damage it could inflict on the reputations of online businesses and even users. And while it does have the potential to ruin a company’s reputation in record time, this controversial app appears to have some marketing value as well. For marketers, the benefits of EnemyGraph may lie in its potential as an effective research tool. A company looking to learn more a specific market could use the tool to find out what people do not like and leverage those insights to devise an approach they are more likely to be receptive to.

Just Another Fad?

The creators of EnemyGraph definitely appear to be on to something, but is it a trend to watch, or just another fad destined to flop? That all remains to be seen. Dean Terry, director of the program the group of researchers created the app through, seems to think it could grow and better suit the needs of users. If that happens and EnemyGraph picks up steam, marketers may have to pay much closer attention to their brand management strategy.

This post was written by Chiko Noguchi, who is a best-practices activist and advocate for a leading provider of email templates

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One Response to “Should marketers be concerned with the Facebook App, EnemyGraph?”

  1. Gilbert Rollins June 3, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    I have no problem with the introduction of the enemy graph application. In fact it should have been introduced a long time ago. People deserve the freedom to express both sides of their views. if you don’t like something you must have the freedom to express your dislike too.

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