This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the lighting on some activities, hobbies, niches as well as social norms that happen to be ridden with consumerism but are often considered to be being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what could possibly be the most ubiquitous presence in many people’s lives, social networking. You almost certainly imagine social media in an effort to get in touch with and stay-in-touch with your friends and family, a means to keep up-to-date on topics and groups that you simply cherish and perhaps even a way to make new friends. And once utilized for good, social networking does all of those things. But there is also a hidden … and never so hidden … strain of consumerism in Realstew.
Based on your age, you’ve probably experienced the subsequent cycle one or more times and perhaps several (as well as frequently). A social media launches. There are no ads, and is particularly glorious and also you spend your time on the website speaking to people useful or checking out fascinating (or at least mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social network needs to make some money. By that point, you’ve established your network and turn into purchased the web site itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. And after that, suddenly, you find your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for items that you may or may not want but more often than not don’t need. Social media marketing is among the most shopping mall from the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get the choice of which stores you need to head into. Do you have any idea which you desired to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing that you simply didn’t – until a social media ad said which you supposedly did!
The bait and switch with advertisements on the majority of social networking sites is considered the most obvious method that consumerism is worked to the model, but it’s not the most insidious way.
What makes a social media network this sort of target-rich environment for advertisers is the level of data that they can drill through to be able to put their ads directly before the people who are probably to answer them. By “the volume of data they can drill through” we mean “the amount of data that users provide and that the social media network shares with advertisers.” Now, to be perfectly clear, a web site sharing user data with advertisers so that you can help them to 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 an account over a site they may be automatically allowing their data to get shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, really small print from the conditions and terms that nobody ever reads). But exactly what makes it more insidious when a social networking will it?
The kind of data that you’re sharing on a social networking and that the social networking is sharing with advertisers is simply so much more intimate. Social media sites share your interests (both stated and produced from other activities that you simply post). Did you become pregnant recently? You don’t should share it with advertisers, you just need to post regarding it with a social network where you may want to share it with your friends and relatives along with the social network’s smart computer brain knows to inform advertisers to start out showing you diapers. Would you check out a website that sells hammers recently? Your social network knows that dexspky04 an activity called retargeting, and from now on you’re planning to see ads from that website advertising that very product in an effort (usually highly successful) to get you to purchase it. So while data sharing is the most insidious method that social media sites implement consumerism, it’s actually not the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, one of several issues that we work the most difficult to take to people’s attention is that exactly what makes addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way in which, at this stage, it’s interwoven with daily life, society and even personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous in regards to the consumer aspect of social media. Social media marketing is really a lifestyle tool to help you to express yourself and communicate with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven into the fabric of the experience is consumerism. In fact, the practice of social media marketing relies on that. It’s assumed that folks will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and interact with them. Much like the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same is true of a brand with a social media site. Yet, the charge of customer care or sales people who manage social websites presence for a company or brand is to speak to the shoppers or brand advocates as if the brand were an individual. This fine line between how you will talk to actual living people on social networking and brands, products or companies is very fine which you often forget you will find a difference. And that is certainly an unsafe blending of life and consumerism.
Social media also will depend on a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming those seemingly nearest you (your social media friends and contacts) can more efficiently influence one to buy, try or support a brand, company or product. That’s why just about all social media advertising campaigns are made to encourage men and women to share information about brands, products or companies on his or her social network. If you notice people which you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you are more inclined to connect with and, ultimately, spend money on that element. It’s one of the most virtual method of pressure from peers or “keeping with the joneses.” And furthermore, as people spend a whole lot time on certain social networks, it comes with a significant cumulative impact.
So, next time you believe you might be harmlessly updating your status for your friends, take into consideration simply how much your social network activity is facilitating the intrusion in the consumer machine. Then improve your status concerning this!