Falling Like a Domino

Even though Dee has lived for several years in a city with some of the best pizza on the planet, she still occasionally insists on ordering a Domino’s thin crust with jalapeños.  I think she’s crazy, but I usually acquiesce since (1) I know better than to cross her when she’s in search of her beloved pizza, and (2) because Domino’s actually has a really cool website which the nerdy tech side of me appreciates.  The site enables users to order online and then track their pie through the preparation and delivery process with impressive precision.  Despite the fact I generally shy away from giant chains that produce meals involving entirely defrosted ingredients, I have to confess that the 30 minute delivery and $12 cost are tough to beat.

However, Domino’s unfortunately isn’t receiving too many other complimentary comments on the Internet these days.  As many sources reported over the last week, videos that depicted two Domino’s employees in North Carolina tampering with customer food were uploaded to YouTube.  Through a plethora of channels, the videos moved like a hurricane across blogs, Twitter, and other online media, leaving a path of PR destruction for Domino’s.  This is yet another example of the vulnerability brands face today, but what was perhaps most interesting was how the company combated the adverse publicity.

Domino’s created a Twitter account and directly addressed the issue.  They then added content to the company’s Facebook page, and ultimately posted a sincere apology from Patrick Doyle, President of Domino’s USA on YouTube.  They are also aggressively pursuing legal measures against the two employees and broadcasting updates about the arrests online.

The jury is still out on how Domino’s image has recovered since the fiasco, but social media has also been shaping major political issues.  These social media outlets received heightened coverage during the U.S. election season, but last week the movement want decisively global.  In Moldova, a crowd of more than 10,000 citizens materialized seemingly out of nowhere to protest against Moldova’s Communist leadership.  In the process, they ransacked government buildings and clashed with the police.  The protesters skirted detection while organizing their uprising by enlisting the very tools Domino’s used to combat its problem: text-messaging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

I don’t condone the destruction, but I am interested in the increasing trend – although it’s certainly not a new one.  Emerging media technologies have been especially important to me ever since I studied abroad in São Paulo.  There, I witnessed Brazilian farmers organize themselves via cell phone to improve their representation in local government.  They passed along a simple text message with the summons for protest: “Go 2 Paulista Ave.  Wear white.”  The thousands of similarly dressed farmers were an inspiring sight and illustrated to me the versatility of media technologies beyond mere entertainment.

Going forward, I’ll add additional major business and political movements spurred by digital media to this blog, and please let me know of others you encounter so I can document them.