Many hoped this would go away quickly. Now we may be able to make it go away.
Miley Cyrus’ showmanship not long ago at the Video Music Awards program lit up social networks worldwide. Following her on-screen performance, Cyrus received an incredible amount of attention, which may have been the ultimate objective. However, this degree of attention given to something many adult viewers found distasteful provoked a different sort of reaction, and one that may have implications for future marketers and publicity seekers.
According to a recent TIME magazine entertainment article, a plug-in has been released for the Chrome internet browser that will overwrite Miley Cyrus’s name as well as several Cyrus related words with hash tags to effectively hide the offending words from the reader. The plug in will also blur any images that it determines to be of Ms. Cyrus.
The anti Cyrus Chrome plug in may have been released as a joke, but it apparently hit a nerve with the general public. One can easily download “No Cyrus” from the Chrome Web Store and the application currently enjoys a five star rating. It has been downloaded repeatedly.
What does this mean for real world consumers of social media and web content? Technology is emerging that will help users more carefully manage the content to which individuals allow themselves to be exposed.
The entire Cyrus experience indicates a consumer desire for greater levels of exposure control. It may not be long before a configurable system to block unwanted content from browser and social media display will be available. A single application that allows the user to restrict the words, terms and content displayed would provide a control mechanism that many seem to want.
Allowing users to choose what they are exposed to would require content providers to make sure their information and content is generally valuable and interesting. Releasing shocking or offensive content just to generate web views as part of one’s future entertainment or communication strategy could wind up being counter-productive. If readers can easily shut off exposure, distasteful content loses some of its ability to generate attention.
Is the “No-Cyrus” application a game changer? Maybe not right away. As Internet users demand more accountability and control over the content to which they are exposed, though, similar plug-ins and applications may emerge to provide the control readers want.