Cosmopolitan Banking on Social Capital

The Cosmopolitan recently received two Sherpie Awards, which honor the best social media marketing in the casino industry, winning for “Best Use of Twitter” and “Best in Show.”

In a sense, the awards were richly deserved—the Cosmo has seamlessly integrated Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and YouTube into a comprehensive platform fine-tuned to interact with the forward-thinking customers the resort is courting. So there’s some real commercial competence on display here. But what’s really in it for the Cosmopolitan’s “friends” and “followers”?

Wading into the Cosmo’s Twitter stream, one sees a string of hey-thanks replies to praise, re-Tweets and seemingly random quirky link bait (“The 23 Best Simpsons Musician Cameos,” “10 Scenic Airport Landings”) that try to spark a connection with that ineffable “curious class” which, for the better part of a year, has defied definition (though it’s abundantly clear that they don’t gamble much). There aren’t any discount offers or overt come-ons.

Superficially, it’s engaging, but you can’t help the feeling that your new friend is being so nice for a reason. It’s like the guy who compliments your black frame glasses and Foster the People T-shirt before promising to burn you a mix tape that’ll knock your Chuck Taylors off. Then, over a cold PBR, he looks deep into your eyes and asks if you’ve seriously thought about the benefits of quality-term life insurance.

Re-tweeting about how easy it is to fall in love with the pumpkin ravioli at STK is nice, but deleting a pointed Facebook post about difficulties in making an STK reservation for one via OpenTable (as documented in a thread on irreverent casino gadfly site makes it clear that this isn’t a spontaneous conversation among like-minded free spirits. It’s marketing.

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