The profession and practice of marketing as we know it today didn’t exist until the middle of the 20th century. By the end of the 20th century, many of the world’s largest companies existed solely to market products and services made by others.
Social media takes marketing one step further — it seems as if it has invented the idea of marketing for the sake of marketing. People and companies performing social media marketing are less likely to try to tie their efforts to results. They “do social media” for the sake of “doing social media”.
Facebook, especially, has permeated every facet of business and personal life. It’s no longer enough to have a party or go to the beach; the event must be documented and shared online. Your vacation or fantastic meal and even your troubles, are all a part of how you want display yourself to the outside world. It’s all marketing, but without any solid plan or measurable goal. You may not even have anything to sell, you just want to strengthen your “brand”.
In making our lives a marketing campaign, or even just in watching the marketing campaigns of our friends, we’re reducing ourselves and our experiences to a series of pictures and associations. We become less human to our ‘audience’ — the full complexity of a person cannot be communicated through Facebook. In doing this, we’re also handing over A LOT of data about ourselves. We’re giving up our privacy voluntarily, and to companies that profit from us.
Are these tradeoffs worth it in order to “keep in touch” with a vast number of people for no real reason? Is feeding the social media monster really doing anything for us? Can we even fully comprehend or express what exactly we’re trading and in effect, losing?
We at WatzThis? love technology. We don’t want to come across like cranky luddites. But, we feel strongly that we all need to think about our collective and individual futures and whether we’re ok with giving up our personal information to powerful companies so they can more effectively sell us things.
We’re concerned about the future of our planet, our shared values as a country, the building and shaping of our children, and the future of people helping each other so that we are all strong and supported and able to achieve a quality life. Let’s not knowingly allow ourselves to be reduced to data points in a marketing plan. Let’s collectively work together to celebrate the unique diversity and mystery we each hold, that could never be explained or captured via text.