In a span of 24 hours, Disflix came and went. If you missed it, don’t worry about it. But, if you were caught up as a spectator in the drama that unfolded on Twitter this week, you may be left wondering wtf.
Here is what happened with Disflix in a nutshell:
– A group of Disney fan/influencers have been teasing an exciting new collaboration.
– The collaboration was announced on Monday – Disflix, a paid membership site offering unique content (Disney travel tips, in-Park live streams, exclusive videos, ride-throughs, etc) produced by these influencers. The membership fee was $10 per month.
That is when the Disney community on Twitter got out aaaaaaall of their popcorn gifs.
Everybody got mad.
– Disney fans got mad because they don’t want to pay for content they previously got for free.
– Disney bloggers/vloggers/podcasters got mad because the team behind Disflix didn’t seem to care about breaking Disney’s rules.
– Society in general got mad due to lack of diversity in the Disflix group.
(Oddly enough, Netflix didn’t get mad about the blatant rip-off of their logo and branding, at least not publicly.)
And of course, it’s not enough for someone to simply tweet “Hey, I don’t think this is a good idea …” Because, Twitter. So the insults started flying. Shaming and attacking, from both sides. Ugh, c’mon Disney fans … we are better than this.
About 24 hours after the Disflix announcement, the group announced they were shuttering the idea. Unfortunately the group blamed the negativity on social media for the website’s demise, instead of admitting they realized the whole concept was against Disney’s rules. Which created even more backlash and mocking.
Well, this may be the unpopular opinion in the Disney Blogosphere right now, but here is my defense of Disflix.
First of all, I’ll say the idea was poor from the start. Any decent Disney fan influencer/blogger/podcaster knows that recording on Disney property for commercial purposes is prohibited. This is Disney Influencer 101. It’s a little shocking to me that out of a group of 15 or so smart influencers, no one thought about this. It’s the FIRST thing I thought of when I watched their announcement video (a heavily edited professional video shot on Walt Disney World property).
While the rule against recording for commercial purposes is well known, Disney has been extremely lax on enforcing it. Disney loves their fan influencers; I’ve experienced this when I’ve attended a few Disney Social Media Moms events. There are many, many podcasts and vloggers who record on Disney property and aren’t shut down. Disney invites members of the media to previews and events and encourages photos and videos.
What Disney DOESN’T like is people making money off their brand. And Disney DOESN’T like people who set up websites that maybe-kinda-sorta look like they are officially Disney but aren’t really Disney, and therefore it’s misleading to the average viewer. And Disflix hit both of these points. And that’s why the Internet lashed out at it.
And the way the group handled it with the statement on their website did not earn them any bonus points from the Disney fan community.
But here’s why it wasn’t a HORRIBLE idea.
Membership sites are a thing. The idea of a membership site, where members pay a recurring fee for exclusive content, is not a crazy idea. A lot of sites do it, and in fact, a few Disney fan sites do it. If I could think of a way to do it without stepping on Disney’s copyright, I would do it.
We do need to make money. Sorry y’all, but us influencers DO have to make money if we’re going to do this full time. YES, it’s a choice. It’s a choice I’ve made to be a full-time blogger. I’m not forcing anyone to congratulate me, pat me on the head, and hand me money. I am very grateful to the people who read my websites, follow me on social media, and interact with me. I don’t take it for granted and I don’t expect it. And I love my life, I love sharing my Disney adventures with you, and talking about your Disney weddings with you. BUT I do also need to pay my mortgage and buy cat food for Vela. So, please don’t follow Disney fan influencers and enjoy the content we produce but then get mad at us when we try to make money.
Entrepreneurship is no joke. Creating something is difficult. Putting yourself out there is difficult. Coming up with new ideas and executing them perfectly is nearly impossible. I applaud the Disflix team for trying something new, even if it wasn’t totally thought through.
I know what it’s like to fail. I know what it’s like to put hundreds of dollars into an idea you think is oh-my-gosh-amazing and ultimately watch it tank. I have made many public mistakes and the Internet has put me in my place. Walt Disney failed several times before he struck gold with Mickey Mouse. Failures are a part of running a business. Failures are especially difficult when they are witnessed on a public stage, with all of the Internet watching.
And the bullying, shaming, and name-calling I’ve seen on Twitter and other platforms is completely unacceptable to me.
It’s weird/ironic that while all this was unfolding on Tuesday, I was attending a networking event where the speaker was talking about empathy. She spoke about how when you watch TV and you see someone crying, or you see them in pain, you relate to them and you care about them. You may start to tear up or you may feel a pit in your stomach. When we are online, we can’t see the pain someone else may be experiencing. It’s easy to attack and insult people we don’t know, people we can’t look in the eye. We can’t see their surroundings, we can’t see the entire story, we can’t see their body language or the reaction on their face. So we feel no empathy. We get caught up in the moment and forget there’s a real person on the other side of the screen. It happens to the best of us. I have been guilty of this. Probably everyone here has been guilty of this, especially maybe around November 2016? Does anyone remember that month?
Anyway, the Disflix saga of April 2017 provided us with a lot of lessons.
Stay humble. Everyone makes mistakes but the way they are handled and resolved speaks volumes about your character.
Be kind. When mistakes are made, don’t kick people while they are down. Offer them a hand to get back up.
Keep creating. Your next big idea is right around the corner.