This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the sunshine on some activities, hobbies, niches or even social norms that happen to be ridden with consumerism but they are often regarded as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what may be the most ubiquitous presence in many people’s lives, social networking. You most likely imagine social networking as a way to connect with and remain-in-touch with your family and friends, a means to keep up-to-date on topics and groups that you simply care about and maybe even a means to make new friends. And when utilized for good, social media does those things. But additionally there is a hidden … and not so hidden … strain of consumerism in Real Stew.
Dependant upon your actual age, you’ve probably experienced these cycle at least one time as well as several (as well as frequently). A social network launches. You will find no ads, and is particularly glorious so you spend all of your current time on the website talking to people useful or considering fascinating (or at least mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social media has to make some money. By this time, you’ve established your network and grow dedicated to 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 usually don’t need. Social media marketing is considered the shopping mall in the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get the choice of which stores you wish to enter. Have you realize that you simply planned to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing that you simply didn’t – until a social networking ad informed you that you simply supposedly did!
The bait and switch with advertisements of all social media sites is easily the most obvious manner in which consumerism is worked into the model, but it’s not the most insidious way.
Why is a social media network this sort of target-rich environment for advertisers is the volume of data that they may drill through to be able to place their ads directly while watching those people who are almost certainly to respond to them. By “the quantity of data they can drill through” we mean “the volume of data that users provide which the social media network shares with advertisers.” Now, to become perfectly clear, a site sharing user data with advertisers as a way to help them optimize their marketing campaigns is by no means unfamiliar with social media marketing and a lot users never realize that by using a site or creating a free account over a site they can be by default allowing their data being shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, small print inside the stipulations that nobody ever reads). But the thing that makes it more insidious when a social network does it?
The particular data that you’re sharing with a social network and that the social network is sharing with advertisers is simply so much more intimate. Social networking sites share your interests (both stated and based on other stuff which you post). Have you have a baby recently? You don’t have to share it with advertisers, you just have to post about it on a social network where you might want to share it with your family and friends along with the social network’s smart computer brain knows to inform advertisers to get started on demonstrating diapers. Did you go to a website that sells hammers recently? Your social media recognizes that dexspky04 an activity called retargeting, now you’re gonna see ads from that website advertising that very product within an effort (usually highly successful) to help you get straight back to purchase it. So while data sharing is regarded as the insidious manner in which social networks implement consumerism, it’s actually not probably the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, among the concerns that we work the hardest to create to people’s attention is that why is addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way that, at this time, it’s interwoven with daily life, society and even personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous regarding the consumer component of social networking. Social networking is actually a lifestyle tool to let you express yourself and communicate with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven to the fabric of that particular experience is consumerism. In reality, the concept of social networking relies on that. It’s assumed that people will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and connect to them. Similar to the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same holds true of the brand on a social media site. Yet, the charge of customer support or sales agents who manage social networking presence for a company or brand is to talk to the customers or brand advocates as if the company were somebody. This fine line between the way you talk to actual living people on social networking and brands, products or companies is indeed fine that you often forget you will discover a difference. And that is an unsafe blending of life and consumerism.
Social networking also will depend on a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming that people seemingly nearest you (your social networking friends and contacts) can more effectively influence anyone to buy, try or support a brand, company or product. That’s why just about all social media campaigns are made to encourage visitors to share specifics of brands, products or companies on their own social network. Once you see people who you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you are more inclined to connect with and, ultimately, pay for that element. It’s probably the most virtual method of pressure from peers or “keeping up with the joneses.” And furthermore, as people spend so much time on certain social media sites, it comes with a significant cumulative impact.
So, when you think that you might be harmlessly updating your status for your friends, think about how much your social network activity is facilitating the intrusion from the consumer machine. Then update your status concerning this!