National News

November 19, 2013

What's the weird new social-media trend? Being nice

NEW YORK — First it was Jimmy Kimmel declaring his love for Jimmy Fallon. Then it was the Yankees being nice to the Red Sox, which was almost unfathomable, yet also understandable and gracious in the wake of the Boston bombings. But now it's getting out of hand: Arch-rival corporate brands are being nice to each other with no discernible provocation whatsoever.

Earlier this week, a bunch of British snack brands, from Cadbury to Walker's Crisps to Jaffa Cakes and Phileas Fogg, threw each other a veritable Twitter tea party - and indeed, Yorkshire Tea joined in the lovefest.

And last week, Microsoft's Xbox One team engaged in a random tweet of kindness toward the Sony Playstation 4, even though the two products are about to go head-to-head in a high-stakes holiday-shopping-season showdown that will help shape the fates of both companies for years to come.

What's next? A Ford F-150 ad congratulating Chevy on the 2014 Silverado? McDonald's congratulating Burger King on putting its Big King back on the menu? Hertz admitting that Avis really does try harder?

The surprising thing is that, whether genuine or cynical, Microsoft's gesture seemed to work: It's been retweeted some 15,000 times, ensuring that the PS4's launch doesn't entirely overshadow the upcoming launch of the Xbox One in terms of social-media buzz this week. I predict that, as with Oreo's timely Super Bowl tweet, Microsoft's olive-branch ploy will become a trend among the savvier brands on social media, which will compete to garner goodwill by saying nice things about their arch-rivals.

That doesn't sound like a bad thing, on its face, although I could see it turning from sweet to saccharine rather quickly. And, of course, there's a shelf life built into any trend of this sort: Once it becomes the norm, it will cease to surprise, at which point perhaps everyone will go back to being mean again. Which can, of course, be pretty delightful in its own right.

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • Players protest rehiring of fired Minnesota coach

    The University of Minnesota-Mankato football team Wednesday boycotted the fired head coach who won his job back in an arbitrator's ruling last week, nearly two years after fighting accusations of child pornography and other misconduct.

    April 16, 2014

  • A year after background check defeat, modest goals

    Democratic worries about this November’s elections, a lack of Senate votes and House opposition are forcing congressional gun-control supporters to significantly winnow their 2014 agenda, a year after lawmakers scuttled President Barack Obama’s effort to pass new curbs on firearms.

    April 16, 2014

  • Dress codes: Where should schools set limits?

    They’re called leggings — popular fashion items that are tight-fitting pants to some, and glorified tights to others.

    April 16, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

    April 16, 2014

  • Police: Suspected killers wore GPS devices

    Two convicted sex offenders dutifully checked in with police every month and wore their GPS trackers around the clock — the rules of parole that are designed to tip off authorities if a freed felon backslides.

    April 15, 2014

  • Questions linger year after Boston Marathon bombs

    A surveillance video shows a man prosecutors say is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placing a bomb near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, just yards from where an 8-year-old boy was killed when it exploded.

    April 15, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Tuesday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:

    April 15, 2014

  • Aw, geez, 'Fargo' is on TV with Billy Bob Thornton

    After failed attempts and broken dreams, by golly, someone went and put “Fargo” on series TV.

    April 15, 2014

  • Little sign of progress as Obama, Putin speak

    Speaking for the first time in more than two weeks, President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin showed little sign of agreement Monday, with the U.S. leader urging pro-Russian forces to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine and Putin denying that Moscow was interfering in the region.

    April 14, 2014

  • Drivers in California crash had clean records

    Both drivers in the fiery Northern California crash involving a FedEx truck and bus full of students had clean driving records.

    April 14, 2014