This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the lighting on some activities, hobbies, niches or perhaps social norms which are ridden with consumerism however are often looked at as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what could be the most ubiquitous presence in many people’s lives, social media. You probably think about social media as a way to connect with and remain-in-touch with your friends and relations, a means to keep updated on topics and groups that you simply value and possibly even a way to make new friends. And whenever employed for good, social media marketing does those things. But there is also a hidden … and never so hidden … strain of consumerism in Real Stew.
According to your real age, you’ve probably experienced the next cycle at least once and maybe several (or even frequently). A social network launches. You can find no ads, and is particularly glorious and you also spend your time on there speaking with people useful or taking a look at fascinating (or at best mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social media should make some money. By that time, you’ve developed your network and become committed to the website itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. And then, suddenly, you see your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for items that you might or might not want but more often than not don’t need. Social networking is considered the shopping mall from the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get the option of which stores you would like to walk into. Have you even know that you planned 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 on the majority of social networking sites is easily the most obvious way that consumerism is worked into the model, but it’s not the most insidious way.
Exactly what makes a social media 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 while watching those people who are most likely to respond to them. By “the quantity of data they can drill through” we mean “the quantity of data that users provide and this the social websites network shares with advertisers.” Now, to become perfectly clear, a website sharing user data with advertisers as a way to help them to optimize their marketing campaigns is in no way unfamiliar with social media and the majority of users never recognize that through a site or creating an account with a site they are by default allowing their data to be shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, really small print within the terms and conditions that nobody ever reads). But what makes it more insidious when a social network can it?
The sort of data that you’re sharing with a social networking and this the social network is sharing with advertisers is simply so much more intimate. Social media sites share your interests (both stated and derived from other stuff that you post). Did you get pregnant recently? You don’t have to share it with advertisers, you simply need to post about this on a social media where you may want to share it with your friends and family as well as the social network’s smart computer brain knows to inform advertisers to begin demonstrating diapers. Would you go to the website that sells hammers recently? Your social media understands that dexspky04 a process called retargeting, now you’re planning to see ads from that website advertising that very product in a effort (usually highly successful) to obtain returning to purchase it. So while data sharing is regarded as the insidious method that social media sites implement consumerism, it’s actually not one of the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, one of several issues 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 even personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous concerning the consumer element of social networking. Social websites is really a lifestyle tool to help you to express yourself and get in touch with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven into the fabric of that particular experience is consumerism. In fact, practicing social media marketing relies upon that. It’s assumed that individuals will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and connect to them. Much like the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same holds true of the brand on a social websites site. Yet, the charge of customer satisfaction or sales agents who manage social media marketing presence for a corporation or brand is to talk to the customers or brand advocates as though the brand 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 very fine which you often forget you will find a difference. And that is certainly a risky blending of life and consumerism.
Social media also relies upon a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming that people seemingly nearest to you (your social media marketing friends and contacts) can more efficiently influence you to buy, try or support a brand name, company or product. That’s why nearly all social media marketing campaigns are meant to encourage visitors to share specifics of brands, products or companies on their social networking. When you notice people who you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you will probably connect to and, ultimately, pay for that element. It’s one of the most virtual method of pressure from peers or “keeping track of the joneses.” And since people spend so much time on certain social media sites, it comes with a significant cumulative impact.
So, next time you think that you happen to be harmlessly updating your status for your friends, think of just how much your social networking activity is facilitating the intrusion from the consumer machine. Then update your status concerning this!