I know this is an obvious observation and I know it’s not a new development, but ads and marketing is no longer about telling people about the selling features of a product, it has morphed into a branch of study into the human condition and how people could be tricked into a certain kind of mind-frame (ie. wanting to buy a product, wanting to “engage” in a social media platform).
Advertisement starting changing into something dirty when, instead of pointing to the new engine technology it plastered a sexy girl next to a brand new car to convince you getting the car would help you get the girl. Then, when the internet rolled around, we all got introduced to flashing banners and pop-up videos. Now, with globe-spanning social networks, it has become about algorithmic timelines and features that tap into the addictive nature of the human psyche.
The quirks of the human condition – how our attention can be caught and held, how our emotions can be manipulated – are now considered a type of currency and many are unwittingly being asked to give it away, all in the name of providing you with a “better experience”.
I look at how I now have trouble noticing rectangular boxes positioned on the sides of websites, how my attention-span has gone down the drain, and I wonder how much more of my brain has been rewired, unnoticed, due to this onslaught from advertising conglomerates.
We talk about needing to use our phones less, but is it actually our phones – and some of the legitimately helpful tools – we’re avoiding, or all the apps, social media, and games that have been designed to ensnare our minds and our time?
Should we be putting down our phones, or should we be asking companies to back the hell off, and create legitimately useful apps and services without resorting to cheap tricks to retain their customers?
I can’t say I’m trying to make much point with this article, this was just something niggling at the back of mind and I had the need to vent.