CYBERSPACE—This is a story about algorithms—specifically, Facebook algorithms and the ways in which they can associate you with people outside your normal circle of acquaintances: say, for instance, porn stars. That did in fact just happen, but it might have gone totally unnoticed had the Facebook algorithm not associated Canadian porn star Camille Crimson with another redhead named Erika Napoletano, who just happens to be an “ass-kicking coach, speaker, columnist and hash tag abuser” who decided to, as AdWeek put it, “turn the tables” on the uninvited comparison to Crimson, the founder and star of one of our favorite websites, The Art of Blowjob.
Napoletano posted a detailed timeline of the Camille Crimson comparison to her Redheaded Writing Blog today. In the post, titled “The Part Where Facebook Thinks I’m a P0rn Star,” she says it all started a few weeks ago when she started getting “a metric fuckton” of emails from friends informing her that fellow Facebook denizen Crimson is now officially “Similar to Redheaded Writing.”
Finally, she had to admit that something unusual was afoot that she could no longer ignore. She figured she’d better embrace the comparison to Crimson that was all but forced upon her by writing about the incident on her blog and, more importantly, by transforming her Facebook page (temporarily) into her version of Redheaded Porn, which she assures the reader is “more comical than anything.” (We would suggest that marketing observers will find her response to the incident to be anything but “comical,” and will instead take away valuable lessons.)
She also introduced herself to all of Crimson’s friends (and why not?), saying of her countering campaign, “The bottom line is—if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. And have fun doing it.”
At this point in the game, however, Napoletano still thinks that Crimson has engaged a Facebook ad campaign that either purposefully or unwittingly targeted her friends, but it quickly turned out that Crimson had also been unaware of what Facebook was up to.
By early this morning, Napoletano had updated her blog to inform the world that “Camille (a very lovely lady) contacted me and said she’s NOT running Facebook ads. So yeah — this is all the work of Facebook’s awesome algorithms. They’re drunk. How awesome is that?!”
Crimson also took the algorithm mishap in stride, tweeting this morning, “It speaks to just how funny us pornstars are to the mainstream.”
Facebook has yet to comment on this situation, but a slight sour note was interjected into the discussion by AdWeek, which wrote about the incident with admiration for the way in which Napoletano made lemonade out of what they saw as a delivery of melons to her page by Facebook, but was less accomodating to Crimson.
“Most marketing professionals,” they wrote of Napoletano, “would never have the guts to pull off something like this. Then again, most porn stars probably wouldn't have the marketing savvy to run social targeting campaigns. So while it's definitely an odd pairing, in this case they'll both likely benefit from all the buzz.”
While we agree that both will surely benefit, the snarky comment about most porn stars not having the “marketing savvy” to run a social targeting campaign is naïve to say the least. AdWeek would be surprised at the level of “marketing savvy” exhibited by today’s porn stars, so many of whom have grown up with social networking as their prime method of communication.