This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining light on some activities, hobbies, niches and even social norms which can be ridden with consumerism however are often regarded as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what might be the most ubiquitous presence in many people’s lives, social media. You most likely imagine social networking in an effort to connect to and remain-in-touch with your friends and relations, a means to keep updated on topics and groups that you cherish and possibly even ways to meet new people. And whenever useful for good, social websites does all of the things. But additionally there is a hidden … rather than so hidden … strain of consumerism in Real Stew ltd.
Based on your actual age, you’ve probably experienced the next cycle at least one time and maybe several (or perhaps many times). A social networking launches. You can find no ads, and it is glorious and you spend all of your time on there speaking to people of great interest or considering fascinating (or at least mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social network must earn some money. By that time, you’ve developed your network and become invested in the site itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. And then, suddenly, you find your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for things which you might or might not want but usually don’t need. Social media is considered the shopping mall from the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get the choice of which stores you wish to head into. Do you even know that you just wanted to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing which you didn’t – until a social media ad told you which you supposedly did!
The bait and switch with advertisements of all social networking sites is easily the most obvious method that consumerism is worked to the model, but it’s not probably the most insidious way.
Why is a social media marketing network such a target-rich environment for advertisers is the level of data that they could drill through so that you can place their ads directly in front of the individuals who are almost certainly to answer them. By “the quantity of data that they can drill through” we mean “the quantity of data that users provide and this the social media network shares with advertisers.” Now, to be perfectly clear, a website sharing user data with advertisers in order to help them optimize their marketing campaigns is in no way a new comer to social media and many users never know that through a site or creating a merchant account on a site these are by default allowing their data being shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, really small print in the stipulations that nobody ever reads). But what makes it more insidious when a social media does it?
The type of data that you’re sharing with a social networking and therefore the social media is sharing with advertisers is definitely so much more intimate. Social media sites share your interests (both stated and produced by other activities that you just post). Did you have a baby recently? You don’t need to share it with advertisers, you just need to post regarding it over a social network where you might want to share it with your family and friends as well as the social network’s smart computer brain knows to know advertisers to get started on showing you diapers. Did you go to the website that sells hammers recently? Your social networking is aware that dexspky04 an operation called retargeting, and today you’re likely to see ads from that website advertising that very product in an effort (usually highly successful) to get you back to purchase it. So while data sharing is considered the most insidious manner in which social networks implement consumerism, it’s actually not one of the most damaging.
At Postconsumers, among the issues that we work the toughest to take to people’s attention is that why is addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way, at this time, it’s interwoven with everyday living, society and even personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous regarding the consumer aspect of social media marketing. Social websites is actually a lifestyle tool to enable you to express yourself and communicate with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven in the fabric of this experience is consumerism. The truth is, the practice of social media relies on that. It’s assumed that folks will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and connect with them. Similar to the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, this is also true of the brand with a social media marketing site. Yet, the charge of customer support or sales representatives who manage social media marketing presence for a corporation or brand is to speak with the buyers or brand advocates as if the brand were a person. This fine line between how you will talk to actual living people on social websites and brands, products or companies is really fine that you just often forget you will find a difference. And that is certainly a risky blending of life and consumerism.
Social media also depends on a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming those seemingly nearest you (your social websites friends and contacts) can better influence you to buy, try or support a brandname, company or product. That’s why virtually all social media advertising campaigns are meant to encourage people to share details about brands, products or companies on their own social networking. When you see people whom you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you are more inclined to connect to and, ultimately, put money into that element. It’s one of the most virtual method of pressure from peers or “keeping on top of the joneses.” And also since people spend a great deal time on certain social networks, it possesses a significant cumulative impact.
So, the next time you believe you happen to be harmlessly updating your status in your friends, consider how much your social media activity is facilitating the intrusion from the consumer machine. Then update your status with that!