Social overload?

We went to the movies on Saturday (we saw Bridesmaids & loved it btw). I picked up a $10 rewards card when I bought the tickets at the counter. Apparently I get a discount or a free ticket next time I visit the cinema (can’t remember which). For $10, I figured this was a reasonable buy and the young woman behind the counter was friendly & efficient & the purchase process was seamless (another $10 on my existing transaction).

I opened the little black Hoyts Rewards folder today and I noticed the activation process and the social features embedded in it (rate films, build a Flick List and connect with mates). Now I haven’t activated the card yet – I probably won’t until it’s time to see another movie, but I’m annoyed at the social web features that come with the account. Why? Businesses are being told over and over again that they have to get social in order to survive. Why, as someone who is into social, am I annoyed by this?

I suspect it’s social overload. It’s another username, another password, and another interface I have to invest in. It makes perfect sense on the surface. The Hoyts folks are doing all the right things. But to me as a consumer, it’s annoying. I’m crossing my fingers the activation process is straight forward. My experience of movie reward schemes isn’t super. They’ve been overly technical and cumbersome and when I have turned up with my internet purchased ticket, I still end up having line up at the ticket office anyway.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually think it would have been better if the Hoyts scheme was connected to an existing social network, and yes, I mean The Social Network, Facebook. For all the flaws and weaknesses of this (not everyone uses Facebook, privacy concerns of conservative users etc), you’re more likely to get engagement. I figure –

  • If you’re not into social by the time you activate your Hoyts card, then there’s little chance you’ll use the features.
  • If you are into social by the time you activity your Hoyts card, then you’re probably already on Facebook or Twitter (at least one of these two anyway)

I could be wrong and as I’ve said, I haven’t activated the account (and I’m not going to yet), but I doubt the Hoyts social features will get much traction and will get limited return on investment for the company. I’m happy to be proved wrong when I finally do activate the card (with school holidays coming up next week, I’m sure activation is a couple of days away), but I don’t hold out much hope.

Note: I just wanted to note that I do like the design of the folder. The explanations are clear and simple. And I think the Step 1: Activate and Step 2: Personalise (which I instantly recognise as ‘get social) is easy to understand. Just hoping that once I log on, the process is just as simple.

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