Tinker.com: Friend or Foe?

Today, I read an article in AdAge.com about Tinker.com, discussing its ability to offer a system that automatically finds only positive comments on Twitter about a particular brand and filters out all negative and profane comments, as well as any comments mentioning a competitor. A brand could use this tool to its advantage to display all the great things people are saying about it on Twitter. But is this fair?

Here, I’m conflicted. For that segment of the brand’s target audience that does not understand “social media” or the reason Twitter is becoming such a big deal, I think it’s a great idea. It’s a way to share word-of-mouth advertising with these customers without revealing anything you don’t want them to know or see.

To those audience members who understand that the greatness of Twitter lies in its ability to show what everyone is saying- not just the good stuff- its an abomination, and an exploitation of a tool that is meant to provide a true marketplace of ideas. The people who understand that transparency is key and will accept nothing less will probably not be a fan of brands using Tinker’s tool.

I guess I would have to know more about how the tool works to really form a strong opinion, although I am biased toward the latter. Will the filtered comments appear on the company’s Web site as a Twitterfeed? Will it take effect when anyone searches for the brand on Twitter?

I will at least remain wary of this tool and I think others should, too.

What do you think?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. All of that information exists in a public forum, a company engages in filtering of positive information all the time. The key is to find out what your product does well and emphasize that point. Look at every car commercial; of course the BMW out performs the Honda Civic, but you never hear about MPG or price comparison. Even PT Barnum never made mention that the horses smell really, really bad and that Carnies are downright scary.
    One of the major goals of business communication is to represent your brand positively, and while transparency is a good thing, it isn’t always necessary. Companies will find great value in a service like Tinker, how it uses the information is another story. They need to find a way to utilize the comments while not putting it in list form. The real challenge lies in being able to take the negativity as well as the good. Knowing what your public doesn’t like about the product is much more important than knowing what they do like, that way you can adapt and ultimately survive.

    Reply

    • Posted by allisonbroyles on March 25, 2010 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks, Will. Somehow, this comment got caught in my “spam” folder so I didn’t see it until just now! Thanks for reading and commenting on my post, I’ll make sure you are no longer marked as spam!

      Reply

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