How social media influences people
How social media influences people
There’s a lot of talk about how social media and mobile smartphones are the almost unprecedented “gold mine” of opportunity and financial windfall. And that those select few that are indeed making (for the time being) a killing in this arena. But does the ordinary Average Joe (the majority of users) think about how social media influences people? Or what all that “chatter” is all about?
For 99% of you, it’s an utter travesty. You’re being conned and manipulated.
Social media nudges you all day long
Almost none of you understand the extremely sophisticated mechanisms “behind the curtains” of big platforms like Fakebook, Instaslut, Twatter, SnipChump, and a few others.
The mine you for money.
What you “see” during your usage isn’t natural or organic. It’s programmatic. It’s a design.
Heck, Fakebook is even sucking money from depressed teenagers by peddling things that they are apt to buy because of the condition that this social plague has caused. And did you know that some stupid kids ARE EVEN PAYING FAKEBOOK to “promote” their own ordinary posts? Who does that? Who pays for attention?
Man, I’d hate to raise a kid in this environment.
How does that make you feel?
If you put ANY thought into the digital universe, connected the dots, followed the money – you’d probably feel pretty shitty for falling victim for any of their well-crafted ploys.
See, that is where the problem lies. Most people do not employ the necessary critical-thinking mechanisms to defray these assaults.
And that is why companies like Apple have billions of dollars in the bank.
[As a side note – how many Apple lovers were astounded at the amount of cash that they have stored up? Doesn’t that make you realize you’ve been suckered into paying WAY MORE than market value for something(s) that aren’t much different? Or that you’re constantly upgrading for no reason? What about the fact that devices, just a couple years old run profoundly slower as the “updates” get installed? At what point to you just kick that grossly opportunistic company to the curb? When do you realize how you were conned?]
You are putty
That’s the sad thing about this whole conundrum. It’s hard to turn the tables (at least today).
Decades of indoctrination (via gov’t handouts, shoddy public schools, declining social values, smut on TV and movies, etc.) have amazingly created almost the perfect society of slaves. Willing slaves.
We’re not even going to try and note the “merit” that can be attributed to social media anymore. Everyone already knows the minute amount of “good” they are forced to allow – in order to keep their racket running. Par for the course in this world.
Look at everyone who continually posts on social media
There are lots of people who spend countless hours (often employing teams of people i.e., almost like telephone operators), feverishly bombarding the social media “phone lines” with non-stop blips of stuff. Quotes, inspirational garbage, links, videos, etc. What does that do for society? What psychological triggers are they activating?
So much information to sift through. People to link to. Shout outs. All this interaction. On a digital platform. All a waste of your time, and a means to an end for someone else.
Maybe this is the future. And it’s here now. No turning back?
But can anyone “listen to the ground” and realize that perhaps a seismic shift is about to happen? Can you un-program a society? I mean the “older” people understand – but they’re a minority now, and have lost the floor of influence. Unless, of course, the interwebs suffer some kind of problem (which is happening at an alarming rate as of late).
I don’t know. I see both sides of the coin. I am fully aware of how this exploding technology if handled correctly, can reap huge benefits at least for a limited time. And it also requires recognition of the constantly changing dynamics which require “re-tooling” on an almost continual basis. Some people are succeeding in amazing ways. Kudos to them.
But there are others – who feel that this whole new paradigm is – in the long run – unhealthy for humanity. And beneficial for just a few. Look at how the billionaires are increasing at a rapid rate. While most ordinary people are not being uplifted proportionally whatsoever. In fact, they’re declining. The middle class is almost gone.
Anyway – here’s a post from a former Fakebook executive along the same lines. You either wake up and take back control of your life, or you have absolutely nothing to complain about because of your consent.
Authored by Antonio Garcia-Martinez (former Facebook product manager), author of Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, originally posted at The Guardian,
For two years I was charged with turning Facebook data into money, by any legal means. If you browse the internet or buy items in physical stores, and then see ads related to those purchases on Facebook, blame me. I helped create the first versions of that, way back in 2012.
The ethics of Facebook’s micro-targeted advertising was thrust into the spotlight this week by a report out of Australia. The article, based on a leaked presentation, said that Facebook was able to identify teenagers at their most vulnerable, including when they feel “insecure”, “worthless”, “defeated” and “stressed”.
Facebook claimed the report was misleading, assuring the public that the company does not “offer tools to target people based on their emotional state”. If the intention of Facebook’s public relations spin is to give the impression that such targeting is not even possible on their platform, I’m here to tell you I believe they’re lying through their teeth.
Just as Mark Zuckerberg was being disingenuous (to put it mildly) when, in the wake of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, he expressed doubt that Facebook could have flipped the presidential election.
Facebook deploys a political advertising sales team, specialized by political party, and charged with convincing deep-pocketed politicians that they do have the kind of influence needed to alter the outcome of elections.
I was at Facebook in 2012, during the previous presidential race.
The fact that Facebook could easily throw the election by selectively showing a Get Out the Vote reminder in certain counties of a swing state, for example, was a running joke.
Converting Facebook data into money is harder than it sounds, mostly because the vast bulk of your user data is worthless. Turns out your blotto-drunk party pics and flirty co-worker messages have no commercial value whatsoever.
But occasionally, if used very cleverly, with lots of machine-learning iteration and systematic trial-and-error, the canny marketer can find just the right admixture of age, geography, time of day, and music or film tastes that demarcate a demographic winner of an audience. The “clickthrough rate”, to use the advertiser’s parlance, doesn’t lie.
Without seeing the leaked documents, which were reportedly based around a pitch Facebook made to a bank, it is impossible to know precisely what the platform was offering advertisers. There’s nothing in the trade I know of that targets ads at emotions. But Facebook has and does offer “psychometric”-type targeting, where the goal is to define a subset of the marketing audience that an advertiser thinks is particularly susceptible to their message.
And knowing the Facebook sales playbook, I cannot imagine the company would have concocted such a pitch about teenage emotions without the final hook: “and this is how you execute this on the Facebook ads platform”. Why else would they be making the pitch?
The question is not whether this can be done. It is whether Facebook should apply a moral filter to these decisions. Let’s assume Facebook does target ads at depressed teens. My reaction? So what. Sometimes data behaves unethically.
I’ll illustrate with an anecdote from my Facebook days. Someone on the data science team had cooked up a new tool that recommended Facebook Pages users should like. And what did this tool start spitting out? Every ethnic stereotype you can imagine. We killed the tool when it recommended then president Obama if a user had “liked” rapper Jay Z. While that was a statistical fact – people who liked Jay Z were more likely to like Obama – it was one of the statistical truths Facebook couldn’t be seen espousing.
I disagreed. Jay Z is a millionaire music tycoon, so what if we associate him with the president? In our current world, there’s a long list of Truths That Cannot Be Stated Publicly, even though there’s plenty of data suggesting their correctness, and this was one of them.
African Americans living in postal codes with depressed incomes likely do respond disproportionately to ads for usurious “payday” loans.
Hispanics between the ages of 18 and 25 probably do engage with ads singing the charms and advantages of military service.
Why should those examples of targeting be viewed as any less ethical than, say, ads selling $100 Lululemon yoga pants targeting thirtysomething women in affluent postal codes like San Francisco’s Marina district?
The hard reality is that Facebook will never try to limit such use of their data unless the public uproar reaches such a crescendo as to be un-mutable. Which is what happened with Trump and the “fake news” accusation: even the implacable Zuck had to give in and introduce some anti-fake news technology. But they’ll slip that trap as soon as they can. And why shouldn’t they? At least in the case of ads, the data and the clickthrough rates are on their side.