Know what’s really scary? Canadian businesses are terrible at the Internet

Vancouver’s Hootsuite aims to convince businesses that social media “doesn’t have to be scary”

American Psycho with a business card metaphorically standing for LinkedIn

The murderous, business card–coveting Patrick Bateman from “American Psycho” stands in for LinkedIn (Hootsuite)

Each year, Vancouver social media software maker Hootsuite shoots a series of photos to mark Halloween—and promote their services in an appropriately viral way. Last year it was dogs in costumes. This year’s dress-up recasts classic characters from scary movies as the personification of different social networks. There’s Hellraiser‘s Pinhead, standing in for Pinterest; there’s The Birds’ Tippi Hedren being attacked by a flock of Twitter logos; and of course American Psycho’s murderous investment banker Patrick Bateman, professionally creeping on LinkedIn.

The point Hootsuite is trying to get across with the photos is “#SocialNotScary”—the idea that businesses should embrace social media instead of hunkering down and hoping it goes away.

Amen to that. Canadian businesses are lagging badly in the adoption of digital marketing and e-commerce, as James Cowan recently wrote:

Only 46% of Canadian businesses have a website, with the number falling to 41% among small- and medium-sized enterprises. Even worse, 3% of our retail economy takes place online—less than half of that of the United States and one-eighth of the levels in the United Kingdom. Between 2004 and 2009, the Internet contributed 10% to the country’s GDP growth, far lower than the average of 21% across other industrialized countries.

Now that’s truly scary.

Dear Canadian businesses: time to get it together on Internet commerce »
Canada lags in e-commerce, report confirms »

Watch Hootsuite’s making-of video: