Brandon Oliver Smith is a Manager on the Strategy & Innovation team at Social Media Group.
Did you know that Prada has a store located in the middle of the desert? The nearest town is Valentine, Texas, population 217. Apparently one of Valentine’s locals wasn’t too happy with Prada and took to spray-painting the phrase “Dum Dum” on the side of the building. Hearing this got me thinking about a few things:
1) “Dum Dum”? Really??
2) What does vandalism on a social network look like?
It’s taken less than a decade for our physical world to become coated with a thick layer of Digital. Clones of our personalities, interests and relationships now exist on social networks, effectively recreating much of our physical world in a digital form.
On social networks, these digital clones are our personal property. On Facebook, I own my profile page. It’s mine to update and maintain. Likewise for each of my friends. Given that we’re digital property owners, how would we feel if someone vandalized our profile pages? Would we defend our digital property the same way we would our physical? What if the act of digital vandalism could be considered art, similar to graffiti?
We’re already seeing examples of brands using social networks as art canvases, similar to graffiti artists using subway cars. Late last month, the Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo hijacked their own Pinterest board by transforming it into a scrolling animation. Prior to that, Smart Argentina remodelled their Twitter timeline into an ASCII based animation. These are fantastic examples of brands looking at the digital realm much like a graffiti artist looks at the physical. Where most of us see walls, subway cars, freights and delivery trucks a graffiti artist sees a blank canvas ripe for artistic expression.
I find this element of our physical world creeping into the digital realm fascinating and I can’t help but think of the future. Once we as digital citizens become more settled, is there bound to be a creative class with an itch to tag the walls? If so, who will be the first to go All City?