Bebo, the social network which was hugely popular approximately 8 years ago (when I was pregnant with Bunny), before nosediving into the realms of failure, is back with swagger… and a bad attitude! The online app, is promoting it’s creative avatars, combined with hashtags, which returns images. The new slogan is “probably not for boring people”, but from what I’ve seen, I’d say it’s probably not for polite people!
Bebo’s official Twitter page is telling people to “tweet the artist”.
The artist however, slams any critics as “haters” and has no qualms about rudeness or professional conduct.
Upon seeing the owner of a reputable PR firm demonstrating constructive criticism and sharing her opinion of the new Bebo on Twitter, she was slammed by a vile response. Despite the fact that this PR had in fact praised the artistic skills of the new avatars, the artist responded with this…
Personally, I don’t think that is a very professional nor appropriate response, especially from a representative of a social media brand seeking new members. When questioned about her approach, she was defensive, not at all sorry and claimed her tweets were not representative of Bebo… despite Bebo telling people to tweet her at that handle as their representing artist. After blocking me, for pointing out that the rude hashtags she had used were inappropriate, she then tweeted that I was “sensitive and nosy”. Call me what you will… I’m not representing a huge global brand aimed at children and teenagers!
So I decided to test it out for myself. I don’t believe you should mock something before you’ve tried it. Boy, was I in for a shock!
It took a matter of seconds to sign up, after downloading the app, as there were no age restrictions or advisories. The original Bebo had a minimum age of 13 years old. The new Bebo appears to target the younger market and have no limits. Quite literally.
When you first sign up, you create an avatar that looks like yourself. Then you are connected with a Bebo avatar (a male) and are advised to slap him! You hashtag #slap and up comes a picture of your avatar slapping his avatar and his avatar, with a black eye! I’m not a big fan of violence and didn’t think this was the best introduction to a “social” network. I might be old fashioned, but slapping people, has never been a “social” activity for me.
Remember, I am writing as a mother. An outraged mother. I have a very impressionable 7 year old daughter and an inquisitive 10 year old step son, who are both really getting into their technology. They are however, both very innocent and oblivious to many things in the adult world.
So I thought, as a child might, that having been advised by Bebo’s artist to hashtag “anal” and “squirt”, that I should do that and see what happened.
THIS… is what came up on screen next…
Obviously this led to a friend and me, testing out a whole bunch of hashtags. We wanted to see just how far Bebo had gone. Every swear word, slang term and sexual hashtag we could think of… had an image to accompany it!
I was then advised by Bebo’s avatar to check what was trending. And there, in the top ten trends, was the F word.
Now I’m sorry Bebo, if you thought this whole “attitude” gimmick was a funny and clever way to reel in teenagers, but I don’t think it’s big or clever. Where are the adult content filters? Yes, these might be avatars, not photographs, but I don’t want my children learning these words. You can still get the gist of what is happening in the avatars. Where is the censorship? The internet is a dangerous enough place for minors as it is, it seems Bebo is now intent on corrupting young people as early as possible.
Why were these rude avatars even made?
Why is there no censorship or age restrictions on Bebo?
And why are Bebo letting their representing employees recommend profane hashtags on Twitter and allowing them to be rude to potential network users?
Yes I know, I sound like a ranty mum… but I AM a ranty mum!
In fact, maybe I am one of the “boring people” that Bebo say will not suit their network, but that’s okay by me, I’ve long outgrown laughing at cartoon images of people farting.