This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the light on some activities, hobbies, niches and even social norms that happen to be ridden with consumerism but are often looked at as being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what could possibly be the most ubiquitous presence in several people’s lives, social networking. You most likely think about social websites in order to interact with and remain-in-touch with your family and friends, a way to keep up-to-date on topics and groups that you just care about as well as even a method to meet new people. And once utilized for good, social websites does all of those things. But there is also a hidden … and never so hidden … strain of consumerism in Real Stew.

Based on your age, you’ve probably experienced the following cycle at least one time and possibly several (or even often). A social networking launches. There are actually no ads, which is glorious and you spend all your time on the website talking to people useful or taking a look at fascinating (or at least mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social network must make some money. By that time, you’ve established your network and become dedicated to the internet site itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. After which, suddenly, you see your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for items that you might or might not want but usually don’t need. Social media marketing is considered the shopping mall of the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get choosing which stores you wish to walk into. Would you know that you just planned to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing that you just didn’t – until a social media ad told you that you simply supposedly did!

The bait and switch with advertisements on many social networks is considered the most obvious way in which consumerism is worked into the model, but it’s not by far the most insidious way.

The thing that makes a social networking network such a target-rich environment for advertisers is the level of data that they could drill through in order to place their ads directly ahead of the people who are probably to answer them. By “the level of data that they could drill through” we mean “the volume of data that users provide and this the social media marketing network shares with advertisers.” Now, being perfectly clear, a web site sharing user data with advertisers in order to assist them to optimize their marketing campaigns is in no way a novice to social websites and a lot users never recognize that by using a site or creating your account over a site these are automatically allowing their data being shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, really small print in the terms and conditions that nobody ever reads). But what makes it more insidious when a social network would it?

The particular data that you’re sharing on a social network and this the social networking is sharing with advertisers is definitely a lot more intimate. Social networking sites share your interests (both stated and based on other things that you just post). Do you become pregnant recently? You don’t have to share it with advertisers, you need to simply post regarding this with a social network where you may want to share it with your friends and relations and also the social network’s smart computer brain knows to know advertisers to begin demonstrating diapers. Have you check out a website that sells hammers recently? Your social networking is aware that dexspky04 an operation called retargeting, and from now on 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 easily the most insidious way that social networking sites implement consumerism, it’s actually not probably the most damaging.

At Postconsumers, one of many issues that we work the most challenging to create to people’s attention is why is addictive consumerism so dangerous is how, at this time, it’s interwoven with daily life, society and in many cases personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous regarding the consumer aspect of social networking. Social networking can be a lifestyle tool to help you to express yourself and communicate with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven into the fabric of this experience is consumerism. The truth is, the technique of social networking relies upon that. It’s assumed that men and women will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and interact with them. Just like the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, this is also true of the brand on a social media site. Yet, the charge of customer care or sales people who manage social media presence for a company or brand is to talk to the customers or brand advocates as though the manufacturer were somebody. This fine line between the method that you communicate with actual living people on social websites and brands, products or companies is really fine that you simply often forget you will find a difference. And that is a hazardous blending of life and consumerism.

Social media advertising also relies upon a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming that individuals seemingly nearest to you (your social media friends and contacts) can more effectively influence you to buy, try or support a brand, company or product. That’s why nearly all social media campaigns are created to encourage visitors to share information regarding brands, products or companies on his or her social media. When you notice people whom you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you will probably connect to and, ultimately, spend money on that element. It’s one of the most virtual type of peer pressure or “keeping on top of the joneses.” And furthermore, as people spend so much time on certain social media sites, it has a significant cumulative impact.

So, when you think that you happen to be harmlessly updating your status in your friends, think of simply how much your social networking activity is facilitating the intrusion of your consumer machine. Then update your status about that!