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> YIKES: Audience Communication
YIKES: Audience Communication
So… these days, as tween virtual worlds buzz about safety & proactive experiences, I find it interesting that I got THIS push email from Vizwoz – a British virtual world for tween/teens:
I don’t know what I find more insulting… the invitation to a game of blood & assault, the “Club the Penguin” which happens to sound VERY FAMILIAR to “Club Penguin” (a rival), the anti-conservative message during a time when the importance of animal conservation (especially in the Artic) is very high, or the tongue-in-cheek barring of U12 kids from playing such a game (which is IN FACT a total INVITE to U12… nothing they want to do more than things they’re not supposed to, right?).
This whole “Not for kids under 12” BS = clever strategy (but NOT necessarily the good shade of clever). Aside from it’s “Can’t get on the ride if you’re not 5 feet tall” message, again, kids U12 are going to want to act tough and hang with the big dogs and play the game. It ALSO is a HORRIBLE message for community. HORRIBLE. Why? The “house” (the biz that runs the site) just gave a giant THUMBS UP for community segregation but giving it the good ole nod and wink. Sure sure, kids know there’s a difference between their social interactions and their age groups and their ‘cool’ levels, but the minute the Powers-that-be give their acceptance of such a divide it gains credit.
When you’re a virtual world trying to bring some sort of comrodery and unity to your experience, why on EARTH would you then drive a giant wedge in the community by calling out the fact that the “kiddies” are not good enough to play a big-dog game? I know, I know – it’s not like they’re actually BARRING the younger tater tots, but by openly admitting that they build games that are not necessarily appropriate for a valid part of their demographic – that’s just not cool.
What’s worse? This email goes out to their entire email system… from parents to kids to market peers. Tut tut, Vizwoz.
Even MORE amazing is how Disney might take this. Why Disney, you ask? Well, call me crazy – but I think the Mouse (aka owner of Club Penguin) just signed a deal to provide video content for the vizwoz movie theaters, etc. Again, tut tut, Vizwoz.
Aim I being over sensitive to this? Cos I really think this is in poor taste. I could be… ya never know. Anyone have thoughts?