As I was contemplating this edition of the Trendrr chart -- the weekly dose of social-media buzz-tracking that normally runs on Friday, but which we've moved up because of the Thanksgiving holiday -- I began to think about the very meaning of "Black Friday" circa 2009. It's always been a weird marketing construct -- as if consumers ever really cared that the day after Thanksgiving is a chance for retailers to clear the red ink from their ledgers and go into the black (though who knows how realistic that expectation is this year). And while the supposed joy of frenzied bargain-hunting still gets celebrated in the media (shots of bustling mall scenes will surely open local newscasts across the country Friday evening), the darker possibilities, like last year's gruesome Walmart stampede, remain an unsettling subtext. Anyway, a few notes and observation about this week's chart:
- This year, marketers have particularly diluted the meaning of Black Friday, given all the pre-Black Friday, and "better-than-Black-Friday" deals they've been plugging ad nauseam. "Black Friday" first started showing up as significant trending topic on Twitter last week, with 3,725 tweets on Thursday, Nov. 19.
- On Monday of this week, there were 18,598 tweets mentioning "black friday." My informal review this morning of the 100 most recent "black friday" tweets showed a lot of consumers comparing rumors about deals, wondering how early they'd get up to go shopping, etc. But then there were also an annoying number of fly-by-night marketers plugging their own cheeseball "deals," and the occasional voice of dismay, like that of Twitterer Mark Downey (@macnamera): "Black Friday is for suckers and wild animals who are willing to body-check an old lady to the ground for a DVD player."
- Twitter buzz about Cyber Monday hasn't even pushed past 2,000 tweets a day (as of yesterday), but guess who's doing really great right now in Twitter buzz? Yep, Amazon. I'm keeping an eye on Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and other retailers getting frequent mentions on Twitter, and may follow up next week once all the dust settles to see if a direct correlation can be drawn between Twitter buzz and and reported sales.
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Dumenco's Trendrr Chart of the Week is produced in collaboration with Wiredset, the New York digital agency behind Trendrr, a social- and digital-media tracking service. More background here. A basic Trendrr account is free; Trendrr Pro, which offers more robust tracking and reporting tools, comes in various paid flavors (get the details here).
Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.