This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the sunshine on some activities, hobbies, niches and even social norms that happen to be ridden with consumerism however they are often looked at as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what might be the most ubiquitous presence in lots of people’s lives, social networking. You almost certainly imagine social media marketing in order to interact with and stay-in-touch with your friends and relations, a way to keep up-to-date on topics and groups that you value and maybe even a means to make new friends. And whenever employed for good, social networking does all those things. But there is also a hidden … and never so hidden … strain of consumerism in Realstew.
According to how old you are, you’ve probably experienced the next cycle at least once and perhaps several (or perhaps many times). A social networking launches. You can find no ads, which is glorious and you also spend all your time on there conversing with people useful or taking a look at fascinating (or otherwise mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social network has to develop money. By that period, you’ve built up your network and grow invested in the web site itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. After which, suddenly, you locate 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 networking is one of the shopping mall from the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get the choice of which stores you wish to head into. Would you realize that you simply wished to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing which you didn’t – until a social websites ad informed you which you supposedly did!
The bait and switch with advertisements on the majority of social networking sites is considered the most obvious manner in which consumerism is worked in the model, but it’s not probably the most insidious way.
Why is a social networking network this sort of target-rich environment for advertisers is the level of data they can drill through in order to place their ads directly in front of the those people who are almost certainly to respond to them. By “the amount of data that they may drill through” we mean “the level of data that users provide which the social media marketing network shares with advertisers.” Now, to become perfectly clear, a website sharing user data with advertisers so that you can help them optimize their marketing campaigns is by no means a novice to social websites and many users never understand that using a site or creating an account on a site they may be automatically allowing their data to get shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, really small print within the conditions and terms that nobody ever reads). But what makes it more insidious every time a social networking does it?
The particular data that you’re sharing over a social network and that the social networking is sharing with advertisers is merely a whole lot more intimate. Social networks share your interests (both stated and produced from other things that you post). Would you get pregnant recently? You don’t should share it with advertisers, you simply need to post about it on a social network where you really should share it with your family and friends as well as the social network’s smart computer brain knows to tell advertisers to start showing you diapers. Do you check out a website that sells hammers recently? Your social networking recognizes that dexspky04 a procedure called retargeting, and today you’re gonna see ads from that website advertising that very product in an effort (usually highly successful) to get you straight back to purchase it. So while data sharing is easily the most insidious method that social networking sites implement consumerism, it’s actually not the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, one of several conditions that we work the toughest to bring to people’s attention is the thing that makes addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way that, at this moment, it’s interwoven with daily life, society and even personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous about the consumer part of social networking. Social networking can be a lifestyle tool to enable you to express yourself and contact others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven in to the fabric of that experience is consumerism. Actually, the practice of social networking will depend on that. It’s assumed that men and women will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and connect with them. Just like the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same holds true of your brand with a social networking site. Yet, the charge of customer care or sales people who manage social networking presence for a corporation or brand is to talk to the clients or brand advocates just like the emblem were someone. This fine line between how you talk to actual living people on social networking and brands, products or companies is very fine which you often forget there exists a difference. And that is a dangerous blending of life and consumerism.
Social media advertising also depends on a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming those seemingly nearest you (your social websites friends and contacts) can more efficiently influence anyone to buy, try or support a brandname, company or product. That’s why virtually all social media campaigns are created to encourage individuals to share specifics of brands, products or companies on the social networking. When you see people which you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you will probably communicate with and, ultimately, pay for that element. It’s probably the most virtual type of peer pressure or “keeping on top of the joneses.” And because people spend a whole lot time on certain social networks, it possesses a significant cumulative impact.
So, the next time you believe you will be harmlessly updating your status to the friends, think about just how much your social networking activity is facilitating the intrusion of your consumer machine. Then enhance your status with that!