This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the sunshine on some activities, hobbies, niches as well as social norms which can be ridden with consumerism but are often thought of as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what may be the most ubiquitous presence in numerous people’s lives, social websites. You almost certainly consider social networking so as to connect to and stay-in-touch with your family and friends, ways to keep up-to-date on topics and groups that you simply worry about and possibly even a method to make new friends. And when utilized for good, social websites does all of those things. But there is also a hidden … instead of so hidden … strain of consumerism in Real Stew.
Based on your age, you’ve probably experienced the following cycle at least once and perhaps several (or perhaps many times). A social media launches. There are actually no ads, in fact it is glorious and you also spend your time on there speaking to people appealing or considering fascinating (or otherwise mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social networking has to earn some money. By that point, you’ve built up your network and become purchased the site itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. And then, suddenly, you discover your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for things which you may or may not want but typically don’t need. Social networking is one of the shopping mall of your present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get deciding on a which stores you wish to enter. Have you realize that you just wanted to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing that you simply didn’t – until a social networking ad mentioned that you simply supposedly did!
The bait and switch with advertisements on the majority of social networks is easily the most obvious method that consumerism is worked into the model, but it’s not the most insidious way.
Why is a social media marketing network this type of target-rich environment for advertisers is the level of data that they may drill through in order to put their ads directly in front of the those who are more than likely to answer them. By “the amount of data that they can drill through” we mean “the level of data that users provide and therefore the social media network shares with advertisers.” Now, being perfectly clear, a website sharing user data with advertisers as a way to help them to optimize their marketing campaigns is in no way a new comer to social websites and the majority of users never realize that through a site or creating an account over a site they can be by default allowing their data to get shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, tiny print from the terms and conditions that nobody ever reads). But exactly what makes it more insidious each time a social network can it?
The sort of data that you’re sharing with a social network and that the social network is sharing with advertisers is simply a whole lot more intimate. Social networks share your interests (both stated and produced from other stuff that you post). Have you have a baby recently? You don’t have to share it with advertisers, you simply need to post about this on the social networking where you might want to share it with your friends and relations and also the social network’s smart computer brain knows to tell advertisers to start out showing you diapers. Do you check out a website that sells hammers recently? Your social network knows that dexspky04 a process called retargeting, and today you’re gonna see ads from that website advertising that very product inside an effort (usually highly successful) to help you get straight back to purchase it. So while data sharing is considered the most insidious way in which social networking sites implement consumerism, it’s actually not probably the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, among the conditions that we work the hardest to create to people’s attention is that the thing that makes addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way that, at this point, it’s interwoven with daily life, society and also personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous about the consumer element of social media. Social media marketing is really a lifestyle tool to enable you to express yourself and talk to others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven in the fabric of the experience is consumerism. In fact, the practice of social networking relies upon that. It’s assumed that men and women will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and connect to them. Just like the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same holds true of your brand on the social networking site. Yet, the charge of customer satisfaction or sales people who manage social media marketing presence for an organization or brand is to talk to the customers or brand advocates like the company were a person. This fine line between how you get in touch with actual living people on social media and brands, products or companies is so fine that you just often forget you will find a difference. And that is certainly a hazardous blending of life and consumerism.
Social media also relies on a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming that people 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 virtually all social media campaigns are made to encourage men and women to share specifics of brands, products or companies on the social media. When you notice people whom you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you will probably interact with and, ultimately, spend money on that element. It’s by far the most virtual kind of peer pressure or “keeping on top of the joneses.” And also since people spend a lot time on certain social media sites, it comes with a significant cumulative impact.
So, the next time you believe you happen to be harmlessly updating your status in your friends, think of just how much your social network activity is facilitating the intrusion in the consumer machine. Then enhance your status concerning this!