This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the light on some activities, hobbies, niches or even social norms which can be ridden with consumerism but they are often looked at as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what could possibly be the most ubiquitous presence in several people’s lives, social networking. It is likely you think about social networking as a way to interact with and remain-in-touch with your friends and relatives, a method to keep updated on topics and groups which you care about as well as even ways to meet new people. And once useful for good, social websites does all of the things. But additionally there is a hidden … and never so hidden … strain of consumerism in Realstew.
Depending on your real age, you’ve probably experienced these cycle at least once and possibly several (and even often). A social networking launches. You can find no ads, which is glorious and you also spend all your time on the website speaking to people of great interest or looking at fascinating (or at a minimum mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social network must make some money. By that point, you’ve developed your network and grow committed to the site itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. Then, suddenly, you discover your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for things which you may or may not want but almost always don’t need. Social media is considered the shopping mall of the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get deciding on a which stores you need to walk into. Do you even know that you just wanted to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing that you simply didn’t – until a social networking ad said which you supposedly did!
The bait and switch with advertisements on the majority of social media sites is regarded as the obvious way in which consumerism is worked into the model, but it’s not the most insidious way.
The thing that makes a social websites network this kind of target-rich environment for advertisers is the quantity of data they can drill through to be able to put their ads directly ahead of the people who are probably to respond to them. By “the amount of data that they could drill through” we mean “the amount of data that users provide and therefore the social networking network shares with advertisers.” Now, to become perfectly clear, an internet site sharing user data with advertisers so that you can help them optimize their marketing campaigns is in no way a new comer to social media marketing and the majority of users never recognize that simply by using a site or creating a merchant account on the site they can be by default allowing their data to become shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, tiny print in the terms and conditions that nobody ever reads). But what makes it more insidious whenever a social media does it?
The type of data that you’re sharing over a social media and that the social networking is sharing with advertisers is just a lot more intimate. Social media sites share your interests (both stated and based on other stuff that you post). Did you become pregnant recently? You don’t must share it with advertisers, you just need to post about this on the social network where you really should share it with your family and friends and also the social network’s smart computer brain knows to know advertisers to begin showing you diapers. Have you go to a website that sells hammers recently? Your social network is aware that dexspky04 an operation called retargeting, and from now on you’re likely to see ads from that website advertising that very product in an effort (usually highly successful) to help you get straight back to purchase it. So while data sharing is the most insidious way that social networks implement consumerism, it’s actually not by far the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, one of several concerns that we work the hardest to give to people’s attention is why is addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way, at this point, it’s interwoven with everyday life, society and even personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous concerning the consumer element of social networking. Social media can be a lifestyle tool to help you to express yourself and communicate with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven into the fabric of that experience is consumerism. In fact, the technique of social media marketing will depend on that. It’s assumed that people will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and interact with them. Similar to the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same holds true of the brand over a social media site. Yet, the control of customer care or sales representatives who manage social websites presence for a business or brand is to speak to the buyers or brand advocates as though the manufacturer were somebody. This fine line between how you communicate with actual living people on social websites and brands, products or companies is really fine that you often forget you will discover a difference. And that is a dangerous blending of life and consumerism.
Social media advertising also relies upon a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming that individuals seemingly nearest to you (your social media marketing friends and contacts) can more efficiently influence one to buy, try or support a brandname, company or product. That’s why just about all social media campaigns are meant to encourage people to share information regarding brands, products or companies on his or her social networking. If you notice people who you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you are more inclined to connect with and, ultimately, put money into that element. It’s by far the most virtual type of peer pressure or “keeping on top of the joneses.” And furthermore, as people spend a great deal time on certain social networks, it possesses a significant cumulative impact.
So, the next time you think that you will be harmlessly updating your status to the friends, think of how much your social media activity is facilitating the intrusion from the consumer machine. Then improve your status about that!