This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the light on some activities, hobbies, niches or even social norms which are ridden with consumerism however are often considered to be being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what may be the most ubiquitous presence in numerous people’s lives, social media. You probably think about social networking as a way to get in touch with and stay-in-touch with your friends and family, ways to keep updated on topics and groups that you just value as well as even a way to meet new people. And once useful for good, social websites does those things. But there is also a hidden … instead of so hidden … strain of consumerism in Real Stew ltd.

Dependant upon your age, you’ve probably experienced the subsequent cycle one or more times and possibly several (or perhaps often). A social network launches. There are actually no ads, and it is glorious and you also spend all of your current time on the website speaking to people useful or taking a look at fascinating (or otherwise mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social network needs to earn some money. By that time, you’ve established your network and grow invested in the website itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. And after that, suddenly, you find your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for items that you might or might not want but almost always don’t need. Social websites is one of the shopping mall from the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get the option of which stores you need to go to. Did you even know that you just planned to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing which you didn’t – until a social media ad mentioned that you supposedly did!

The bait and switch with advertisements on the majority of social networking sites is easily the most obvious manner in which consumerism is worked in the model, but it’s not probably the most insidious way.

Exactly what makes a social websites network this type of target-rich environment for advertisers is the amount of data that they can drill through so that you can place their ads directly in front of the those who are probably to respond to them. By “the quantity of data that they can drill through” we mean “the volume of data that users provide and this the social websites network shares with advertisers.” Now, to become perfectly clear, a web site sharing user data with advertisers in order to help them optimize their marketing campaigns is by no means unfamiliar with social networking and many users never recognize that by using a site or creating a merchant account with a site they can be automatically allowing their data to get shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, very small print within the stipulations that nobody ever reads). But exactly what makes it more insidious whenever a social media would it?

The sort of data that you’re sharing on a social media and that the social media is sharing with advertisers is simply a whole lot more intimate. Social networks share your interests (both stated and derived from other activities that you just post). Did you have a baby recently? You don’t have to share it with advertisers, you simply need to post regarding this over a social network where you really should share it with your family and friends and the social network’s smart computer brain knows to share with advertisers to start demonstrating diapers. Would you check out a website that sells hammers recently? Your social media is aware that dexspky04 a process called retargeting, and now you’re likely to see ads from that website advertising that very product inside an effort (usually highly successful) to get you to purchase it. So while data sharing is considered the most insidious way in which social networks implement consumerism, it’s actually not probably the most damaging.

At Postconsumers, among the problems that we work the most challenging to take to people’s attention is the fact exactly what makes addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way, at this time, it’s interwoven with everyday living, society as well as personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous in regards to the consumer element of social websites. Social websites can be a lifestyle tool to help you to express yourself and contact others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven in the fabric of the experience is consumerism. Actually, the practice of social media depends on that. It’s assumed that folks will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and communicate with them. Similar to the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same is true of a brand with a social media marketing site. Yet, the control of customer support or sales agents who manage social media marketing presence for a business or brand is to speak with the customers or brand advocates as though the brand were an individual. This fine line between the way you talk to actual living people on social media marketing and brands, products or companies is so fine that you just often forget there exists a difference. And that is a hazardous blending of life and consumerism.

Social networking also relies upon a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming that those seemingly nearest to you (your social media 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 networking campaigns are created to encourage men and women to share specifics of brands, products or companies on their own social networking. When you notice people which you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you are more inclined to connect 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 whole lot time on certain social networking sites, it possesses a significant cumulative impact.

So, the very next time you believe you might be harmlessly updating your status in your friends, think about just how much your social network activity is facilitating the intrusion from the consumer machine. Then improve your status about that!