I came across an interesting thing today in my ambling over the internet. It’s a service called Plurk, and it claims to be the unTwitter.
Now, most of you probably know what Twitter is. Lots of you likely have Twitter accounts. I do, you can feel free to follow it, it’s @WhyRTM – simple, right? I love Twitter. But I don’t love Plurk, and I didn’t even sign up.
If you visit Plurk’s front page, the first thing you see is the bold question; “Tired of your existing social networks?”
Am I the only one this irks?
This tells me that the basis of all of Plurk’s identity is saying “But We’re Not Them” which is so faulty it hurts. Microsoft did the same thing with its rebranding of the Live Search engine, turning it into Bing. What does bing stand for? “But It’s Not Google” – and whether Microsoft intended this or not, this is the story that got out, and it’s what people will believe. Even now, with tales rolling in of Bing’s searches coming up massively pro-MS and anti-Apple, it’s easier to believe that this was intentional.
Best Buy has been running “We’re Not On Commission” ads for years now, and the effect is the same. It tells people not that your staff are better, that your prices are lower, that your store is more fun to shop at – it says nothing except “Oh, we’re not in that crowd” which is no incentive at all.
How does this not make sense? Failing to develop your own identity and leeching the popularity of others by sharking the people annoyed with them is diminishing. This means, as a business or as a person, you’re not making the most of your You-ness, you’re bashing the competition (unprofessional) at the same time as you’re telling people that you’re exactly what they are – but you’re not them.
Who cares if Plurk is better? Hundreds of thousands of people post hundreds of millions of tweets daily, and if I’m networking, I’m going to Twitter, because that’s where the people are.
Who cares if Bing is awesome? It’s not Google, according to my social awareness, which tells me that it’s exactly what google is, but with a different banner at the top.
Say it with me, now, it’s the motto of the day: I Want To Be Different, Just Like Evrbody Else.