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I'm Jake McKee

People call me The Community Guy

UPDATED: SlideShare team pulls dick move

Posted on 07 Apr 2009 | 10 comments

UPDATE: Turns out Slideshare was playing an April Fool’s Joke on its users. Not only did they send these notes out, they also added two extra zeros to the end of your view counts.

The Slideshare team posted an blog post (failing to understand the concern), but they failed to send another email (you know, the channel they originally used) to clarify the issue that way. When you say you want to be a professional network for professional people sharing professional content, screwing with things that should be off-limits just makes you appear to be a group of immature nerds hacking away in their basement. Imagine a teacher saying, “You got an A on the test! April Fool’s! You actually made a D”. What’s funny about that? Do you really expect me to invest time and professional content in a site run by Beavis and Butthead?

I’m all for a good April Fool’s joke, and encourage businesses to have a bit of fun every day, not just 1 April. But the Golden Rule of sites that depend on user generated content submissions is simple: Don’t mess with my profile data. Don’t jack with my stats, don’t change my username, don’t change my relationship status from married to single. That’s me you’re messing with, not just a bunch of information. It’s how I present myself online. It’s the stand-in for my physical self when all you can see is my activity.

And by the way, had this not been a joke, this would have been a very cool thing to do and the comments I shared below are still relevant to those companies not wanting to pull a dick move on their users.

UPDATE 2: Slideshare posts a “lessons learned” blog post. Clearly they’ve seen the light, and kudos to them for the openness and honesty.

I just noticed this message in my inbox today:

Hi communityguy,

We’ve noticed that your slideshow on SlideShare has been getting a LOT of views in the last 24 hours. Great job … you must be doing something right. ;-)

Why don’t you tweet or blog this? Use the hashtag #bestofslideshare so we can track the conversation.

Congratulations,
-SlideShare Team

You think I headed back to the site to check out what was going on? You think my ego was stroked enough to be reminded to post more items to SlideShare.net in the future? I absolutely did.

The only thing that could have made this outreach any better would have been their community manager (assuming they have one) reach out personally. What a great way to connect to real people, to make the company even more human.

But either way, this is a great concept that can be easily automated and provide huge returns on the efforts to increase repeat visits and usage.

Oh, and by the way, the presentation driving the traffic was my presentation “How LEGO caught the Cluetrain“.

  • http://blog.ecairn.com laurent

    They could also have used you real name ;-) .
    Because it makes you conclude it's an automated email. So much for the human side.

  • http://www.socialspan.com Nikhil

    Happened to me as well. I was definitely flattered and did proceed to the site. But I'm wondering what criteria they used to define “LOT” of traffic. Did they send it to anyone who got even one view? Nevertheless, I agree that this was very well done.

  • http://decision3d.com Lee White

    Too bad it was only an April Fools joke and note and not serious outreach. On the other hand, SlideShare does inform you when they put one of your presentations on the front page.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Clay-Newton/519472562 Clay Newton

    This looks a lot like their April Fools joke http://mashable.com/2009/04/01/slideshare-april

    It really upset some people, but I thought it was really humorous, for all the reasons you state above!

  • http://bit.ly/11q8oO bruce christensen

    We did a simple April Fools joke exchange.
    It was designed to engage a memory from the past with the “SAVE this or that” trend.
    We suggested that we SAVE an Elephant Joke on April 1st.
    These jokes where all the rage in the 60' and 70's and are a bit of a lost art. They are stupid but are also funny.
    We suggested that Saving an Elephant joke would benefit the next generation and continue a tradition of fun.
    This April Fools joke didn't hurt anyone's web presence and we had a little fun with it.

    Q: Why do elephants lay on their backs?
    A: To trip low flying canaries.
    Q: Why did the elephant have a yellow spot on his butt?
    A: He wasn't laying on his back.

  • http://www.communityguy.com Jake McKee

    Ha ha! Great stuff! Yes, fun is good. Ill conceived fun is bad :)

  • http://www.deswalsh.com Des Walsh

    It was pretty clear from comments I read on the day that some people in the rush of the moment circulated to clients and others the news of their “success” and then had to eat humble pie. Here in Australia, some of us were vulnerable to being fooled because April Fool's day had been and gone. If you are online for business, wanting to provide a service for professional people, it's probably a good idea to get your kicks elsewhere, out of sight of clients and potential clients. And not a good idea to play Let's Make Our Users Feel *Really* Stupid..

  • http://www.t7b.com t7b.com

    Happened to me as well. I was definitely flattered and did proceed to the site. But I’m wondering what criteria they used to define “LOT” of traffic. Did they send it to anyone who got even one view? Nevertheless, I agree that this was very well done.

  • http://sparkplug9.com johnkoetsier

    Interesting!

    I saw that too, and I saw suddenly enormous viewed stats on my slideshows. I just assumed, however that it was a glitch, because a couple of order of magnitude differences in a couple of weeks was just too unlikely.

  • http://sparkplug9.com johnkoetsier

    Interesting!

    I saw that too, and I saw suddenly enormous viewed stats on my slideshows. I just assumed, however that it was a glitch, because a couple of order of magnitude differences in a couple of weeks was just too unlikely.