Apr 01, 2010

Antisocial People Rather Intensely Like Forcing Others Out. Lively Social Debate Altogether Yucky

(Note: This was our small contribution to the annual April Fool's Day shenanigans that take place online and offline.)

There's a new trend in social media behavior that's recently begun to catch on with many users. Rather than reaching out to old friends or attempting to cultivate new relationships, these individuals are instead doing things to make people de-friend or no longer follow them. Forget social media; for these users, antisocial media is king. Whole pages are now being created that are devoted to the sole purpose of allowing users to detail who they hate and why they hate them as a means to get these people to no longer include them in their social media circle of friends. An example of a typical posting on one of these pages describes the source of one user's ire as follows: "Cheese breath always takes most comfortable chair in meetings, never holds door when you know he sees you behind him, needs to clip nose hair. Seriously, does your mom dress you?"

Among the online destinations dedicated to feeding this latest user need is the recently launched antisocial site SnowShovel. As explained on the site, its name stands for the item its users would most like to use to hit people who irritate them.SnowShovel already has membership numbers approaching seven figures and expects that to double in size by the end of 2010. "

It's all part of the current political mood in the U.S.," says Dennis Moore, co-founder of the site. "People no longer tolerate anyone whose opinions differ from their own. They just don't respect them at all. So rather than relying on discussions and attempts to find common ground, they instead just go online and electronically smite their enemies".

Despite his use of the somewhat biblical hyperbole, Mr. Moore does feel that the antisocial trend has its upside.

"It's healthy for your personal well-being to vent," Moore contends.; "Freud said so. So did Jung. You could look it up.

The movement is not solely isolated to these "In-Your-Facebook" types of sites. Antisocial media users on Twitter pride themselves on driving off their followers. In fact, @TwitOfTheYear was started so that these users can compete against one other for the highest number of followers alienated.As of 9 PM last night, Briton Gervaise Brook-Hampster led the rankings, having lost 4,110 followers including, according to one recent tweet, his own grandmother and three of his four children.

Several brands have become aware of the antisocial media movement and have begun devising ways to capitalize on it. Some have started reaching out to users who have actively campaigned to be de-friended by their competitors with the intent of recruiting these users as both customers and a new form of social media marketing asset. Only time will tell if antisocial media will reach the level of popularity enjoyed by its less hostile predecessor but one thing is certain. The antisocial trend will need to find a way to be monetized or it may prove in the end to be nothing more than another online joke.

Note: This was our small contribution to the annual April Fool's Day shenanigans that take place online and offline.  For a discussion of the perils of actually behaving antisocially online, check out this post.)


[Contributed by Emily Van Winkle]