This month at Postconsumers, we’re shining the sunshine on some activities, hobbies, niches as well as social norms that happen to be ridden with consumerism however are often considered to be being postconsumer alternatives. Today, we’re tackling what might be the most ubiquitous presence in lots of people’s lives, social media. You probably think of social media in order to connect with and stay-in-touch with your family and friends, a means to keep up-to-date on topics and groups which you worry about as well as even a way to make new friends. And when utilized for good, social media does all of the things. But additionally there is a hidden … and never so hidden … strain of consumerism in Real Stew ltd.

According to your age, you’ve probably experienced the following cycle at least once and maybe several (and even frequently). A social media launches. You can find no ads, which is glorious and also you spend your time on the website speaking to people of interest or checking out fascinating (or otherwise mildly interesting) things. Then, eventually, the social media must make some money. By this time, you’ve established your network and become invested in the web site itself, so you’re unlikely to entirely flee. And then, suddenly, you discover your homepage or feed or stream cluttered with ads for stuff that you might or might not want but almost always don’t need. Social websites is one of the shopping mall of the present era, but unlike most malls you don’t necessarily get choosing which stores you wish to go to. Would you realize that you wished to transform your Instagram photos to magnets? We’re guessing that you didn’t – until a social websites ad informed you that you simply supposedly did!

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

The thing that makes a social networking network this type of target-rich environment for advertisers is the volume of data they can drill through so that you can place their ads directly while watching people who are almost certainly to answer them. By “the amount of data they can drill through” we mean “the amount of data that users provide and therefore the social media network shares with advertisers.” Now, to get perfectly clear, a web site sharing user data with advertisers in order to assist them to optimize their marketing campaigns is in no way new to social media marketing and most users never know that by using a site or creating a free account on a site these are automatically allowing their data to get shared (it’s typically mentioned in very, very small print within the stipulations that nobody ever reads). But why is it more insidious each time a social media can it?

The kind of data that you’re sharing over a social media which the social networking is sharing with advertisers is definitely a lot more intimate. Social networking sites share your interests (both stated and derived from other items which you post). Did you become pregnant recently? You don’t must share it with advertisers, you just need to post about this over a social network where you might want to share it with your friends and relatives as well as the social network’s smart computer brain knows to know advertisers to get started on demonstrating diapers. Did you visit a website that sells hammers recently? Your social networking knows that dexspky04 an activity called retargeting, and today you’re planning 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 easily the most insidious manner in which social networks implement consumerism, it’s actually not probably the most damaging.

At Postconsumers, among the problems that we work the most difficult to create to people’s attention is the fact that exactly what makes addictive consumerism so dangerous is the way in which, at this moment, it’s interwoven with everyday routine, society and in many cases personal identity. That’s what’s so dangerous about the consumer element of social websites. Social media marketing is a lifestyle tool to enable you to express yourself and get in touch with others, yet it’s absolutely accepted that woven in to the fabric of this experience is consumerism. Actually, the concept of social media marketing relies upon that. It’s assumed that people will treat brands as “people” and like, follow and communicate with them. Just like the backlash against Mitt Romney’s assertion that corporations are people, too, the same is true of any brand on the social networking site. Yet, the charge of customer care or sales representatives who manage social websites presence for an organization or brand is to talk to the shoppers or brand advocates just like the brand were a person. This fine line between how you will get in touch with actual living people on social media and brands, products or companies is really fine that you just often forget there exists a difference. And that is a dangerous blending of life and consumerism.

Social media also relies upon a “follow the herd” mentality, assuming those seemingly closest to you (your social websites friends and contacts) can more effectively influence you to buy, try or support a brand, company or product. That’s why nearly all social networking campaigns are meant to encourage people to share information regarding brands, products or companies on their social network. If you notice people whom you know and trust endorsing a consumer element, you are more inclined to communicate with and, ultimately, spend money on that element. It’s by far the most virtual type of peer pressure or “keeping track of the joneses.” And furthermore, as people spend a great deal time on certain social networking sites, it features a significant cumulative impact.

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