This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the lighting on some activities, hobbies, niches as well as social norms which can be ridden with consumerism but are often looked at as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what may be the most ubiquitous presence in many people’s lives, social websites. You most likely think of social networking in order to connect with and remain-in-touch with your friends and relations, a way to keep up-to-date on topics and groups that you just care about and maybe even a way to make new friends. And whenever utilized for good, social media marketing does all those things. But there is also a hidden … and not so hidden … strain of consumerism in Realstew.
Depending on your real age, you’ve probably experienced these cycle at least one time and perhaps several (or even often). A social networking launches. There are no ads, and is particularly glorious so you spend your time on the website talking to people of interest or considering fascinating (or at a minimum mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social networking needs to make some money. By that point, you’ve built up your network and turn into purchased the 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 stuff that you might or might not want but more often than not don’t need. Social networking has become the shopping mall from the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get choosing which stores you need to go to. Would you even know that you simply wanted to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing that you just didn’t – until a social networking ad mentioned that you just supposedly did!
The bait and switch with advertisements of all social media sites is regarded as the obvious way in which consumerism is worked to the model, but it’s not one of the most insidious way.
The thing that makes a social networking network such a target-rich environment for advertisers is the amount of data that they can drill through as a way to place their ads directly before the people who are probably to answer them. By “the level of data they can drill through” we mean “the amount of data that users provide which the social websites network shares with advertisers.” Now, being perfectly clear, an internet site sharing user data with advertisers in order to enable them to optimize their marketing campaigns is in no way a novice to social websites and the majority of users never recognize that using a site or creating a merchant account on the site they are by default allowing their data to become shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, tiny print from the terms and conditions that nobody ever reads). But why is it more insidious when a social network will it?
The kind of data that you’re sharing on the social networking and that the social networking is sharing with advertisers is just so much more intimate. Social networks share your interests (both stated and derived from other items that you simply post). Did you have a baby recently? You don’t should share it with advertisers, you simply need to post about this with a social media where you really should share it with your friends and relations and the social network’s smart computer brain knows to know advertisers to start showing you diapers. Do you go to the website that sells hammers recently? Your social media is aware that dexspky04 an operation called retargeting, now you’re gonna see ads from that website advertising that very product within an effort (usually highly successful) to help you returning to purchase it. So while data sharing is easily the most insidious manner in which social networking sites implement consumerism, it’s actually not probably the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, one of several concerns that we work the most difficult to create to people’s attention is the fact what makes addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way in which, at this stage, it’s interwoven with everyday living, society as well as personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous about the consumer element of social websites. Social media is a lifestyle tool to allow you to express yourself and get in touch with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven to the fabric of that particular experience is consumerism. In fact, the practice of social media advertising relies upon that. It’s assumed that men and women 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, this is also true of any brand on the social websites site. Yet, the charge of customer support or sales representatives who manage social websites presence for a corporation or brand is to talk to the clients or brand advocates as if the manufacturer were a person. This fine line between how you will talk to actual living people on social networking and brands, products or companies is very fine that you just often forget there exists a difference. And that is certainly an unsafe blending of life and consumerism.
Social media marketing also relies upon a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming that individuals seemingly closest to you (your social networking friends and contacts) can more effectively influence you to buy, try or support a brandname, company or product. That’s why just about all social media campaigns are designed to encourage individuals to share details about brands, products or companies on their own social media. When you notice people that you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you are more likely to interact with and, ultimately, spend money on that element. It’s probably the most virtual kind of peer pressure or “keeping up with the joneses.” And furthermore, as people spend a lot time on certain social networking sites, it possesses a significant cumulative impact.
So, the next time you think that you will be harmlessly updating your status for your friends, think of just how much your social media activity is facilitating the intrusion of the consumer machine. Then improve your status with that!