Should Unthink rethink?

This week marks the launch of Unthink, a new social network that positions itself as a counterpoint to Facebook and Google+ attacking what they describe as dishonest invasions of privacy. While there’s clearly room for another social network in the marketplace that offers users greater ownership of their content and privacy protection, the focus of this post is the combative tone of their launch campaign.

While the user interface of the site looks great, you can see from their launch video that they pull few punches when targeting their peers. While this is clearly designed to tap into the wellspring of frustrations and even anger over privacy issues, especially among young users, the negative tone may well prove counterproductive.

It’s rare that you ever see a brand generate more than temporary attention when it strikes such a negative tone. In my mind, it would have been more effective to celebrate the clear positives of greater transparency and ownership of content that Unthink provides. While such sensationalism will command attention in the short term, the tone of the marketing seems inconsistent with the spirit of their values. I would have preferred that Unthink celebrates its own merits, including its seamless integration of the functionalities of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and the clear transparency as to how they make money.

I’ll watch with interest to see if Unthink can attract an older audience and for how long such an adversarial tone sustains interest. Hopefully they will soon strike a more positive tone. The platform is extremely well done and the principles behind the platform are very important so it would be unfortunate for the the tone of the launch marketing to frustrate its long term success. True transparency, privacy and data ownership are revolutionary enough without having to someone else down.

What do you think about the privacy and data-ownership issues that Unthink addresses?  Do you think that tone is appropriate, or would it be better to lead with a more positive approach?