The gentle art of TMI

In a moment of boredom, I decided to sign up for Pepsi’s latest promotional campaign, which is yet another variation on entering confusing codes from bottle caps into a website, in the hopes of some sort of reward. I indulge in a daily diet soda, so I figured I might as well earn something for my efforts.

Aside from a poorly coded website at iconicsummer.com, which was heavy on glitz and pointless animation, but gave no indication that it was processing or loading data, it broke one of the primary tenets of social media linking.

I’ll often use a “login with Facebook” option when available for sites like this, since it prevents having to create yet another username and password, but the Pepsi site demanded extensive access to my Facebook profile, looking for birthday, friend information, and an ability to post on my behalf. The Twitter link requested even more access, and then to top it all off, after authorizing what seemed to be the lesser of two evils, the site demanded that I create a full profile with username, password, and address information.

This is the equivalent to meeting someone for the first time, and requesting personal details, names and contact information of friends, and access to that new acquaintance’s  email account to send out missives on their behalf. All with little or no promise of benefit.

Like the physical world, your motives in meeting someone new may not be all roses and puppies, and you may ultimately want access to that person’s expertise, contacts, or professional and personal network, yet you’d usually have the tact not to demand or expect this level of intimacy upon the first handshake. Unless Pepsi’s marketeers routinely introduce themselves with “Hi, I’m Joe from Pepsi, might I have all your friends’ phone numbers?” they may want to rethink their demands for Too Much Information in the virtual world.

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