This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the sunshine on some activities, hobbies, niches or perhaps social norms which can be ridden with consumerism however they are often regarded as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what might be the most ubiquitous presence in several people’s lives, social websites. You most likely think about social media in order to get in touch with and remain-in-touch with your friends and family, a way to keep up-to-date on topics and groups that you simply cherish and perhaps even a way to meet new people. And when used for good, social networking does all of those things. But additionally there is a hidden … rather than so hidden … strain of consumerism in Real Stew.
According to how old you are, you’ve probably experienced the subsequent cycle at least once and possibly several (and even many times). A social media launches. There are actually no ads, and it is glorious and you also spend all of your time on there speaking with people useful or taking a look at fascinating (or at best mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social networking has to develop money. By that point, you’ve developed your network and grow purchased the web site itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. After which, suddenly, you see your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for things which you may or may not want but more often than not don’t need. Social websites is one of the shopping mall in the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get the option of which stores you wish to go to. Have you realize that you wanted to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing that you just didn’t – until a social media marketing ad said which you supposedly did!
The bait and switch with advertisements on the majority of social networks is considered the most obvious way in which consumerism is worked in to the model, but it’s not by far the most insidious way.
Why is a social websites network this sort of target-rich environment for advertisers is the volume of data that they may drill through in order to place their ads directly before the those people who are almost certainly to answer them. By “the volume of data that they may drill through” we mean “the quantity of data that users provide which the social networking network shares with advertisers.” Now, to be perfectly clear, a web site sharing user data with advertisers to be able to enable them to optimize their marketing campaigns is by no means a new comer to social websites and many users never recognize that through a site or creating your account over a site they are automatically allowing their data being shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, very small print inside the stipulations that nobody ever reads). But why is it more insidious whenever a social networking will it?
The sort of data that you’re sharing with a social network which the social media is sharing with advertisers is merely a whole lot more intimate. Social media sites share your interests (both stated and derived from other things that you simply post). Have you have a baby recently? You don’t have to share it with advertisers, you simply need to post about this over a social media where you may want to share it with your family and friends and the social network’s smart computer brain knows to inform advertisers to start showing you diapers. Have you go to the website that sells hammers recently? Your social networking knows that dexspky04 a process called retargeting, and from now on you’re planning to see ads from that website advertising that very product in a effort (usually highly successful) to obtain straight back to purchase it. So while data sharing is easily the most insidious way in which social networking sites implement consumerism, it’s actually not the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, one of the concerns that we work the toughest to give to people’s attention is that the thing that makes addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way that, at this moment, it’s interwoven with daily life, society and in many cases personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous concerning the consumer aspect of social media. Social networking is really a lifestyle tool to let you express yourself and get in touch with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven to the fabric of that experience is consumerism. Actually, the technique of social networking relies on that. It’s assumed that people will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and interact with them. Just like the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same is true of the brand on a social media marketing site. Yet, the control of customer service or sales people who manage social websites presence for a company or brand is to speak to the buyers or brand advocates as though the company were an individual. This fine line between how you contact actual living people on social networking and brands, products or companies is so fine that you often forget you will find a difference. And that is a hazardous blending of life and consumerism.
Social networking also relies upon a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming that people seemingly nearest you (your social websites friends and contacts) can better influence you to buy, try or support a brand, company or product. That’s why just about all social media marketing campaigns are made to encourage men and women to share specifics of brands, products or companies on their social networking. When you see people which you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you will probably communicate with and, ultimately, put money into that element. It’s the most virtual method of pressure from peers or “keeping up with the joneses.” And since people spend a great deal time on certain social networking sites, it possesses a significant cumulative impact.
So, when you believe you are harmlessly updating your status to your friends, consider how much your social network activity is facilitating the intrusion from the consumer machine. Then update your status about this!