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.
I have friends who uses Facebook Messenger… exclusively.
Sure, I can SMS them if I was having a one-on-one conversation, but if I wanted to initiate a group chat, I’d have to load up the dreaded F app (well, their messenger app, but still dreaded).
Of course, I refuse to do that, I so load up Facebook on Safari, force it to load in desktop mode (because FB won’t let you open FB messenger via a browser on mobile 😠), and open up messenger that way.
It’s not hard to understand that my interactions with these people have dropped to nearly zero.
I want to encourage these friends to move their conversations off the FB platform, but then I realise that there really aren’t many alternatives.
iMessage would be my preference, but I have Android friends…
There’s WhatsApp, but that’s owned by Facebook, so what’s the point? (Unfortunately this is the second preferred platform amongst my friends)
Line seems the best bet (only because I haven’t read any damaging reports), but even that’s a silo.
I didn’t realise it, but by owning my own blog and getting into the Indieweb, I now want to own all my content, including my messages and I’m sad that I can’t.
(I know there’s email, but can you imagine trying to convince a friend – who exclusively uses FB – to use email to organise a group dinner?)
These are the kind of responses I get when I try to convince friends to create their own websites (and my internal reactions to them):
Me: You should post on your own website instead of using Twitter and Facebook.
Friend: I don’t know how, Twitter/FB is much easier.
(Me: But it’s easy, I can even create the website for you… wait a minute… most of you have been the owners of a Diaryland/Geocities/LiveJournal/Tumblr site in the past, you know how to goddamn use a CMS. (╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻))
Me: But you can have your own domain name.
Friend: I don’t want to pay for it/anything.
Me: But FB/Twitter is evil/terrible/not a good citizen of the internet/etc etc.
Friend: I don’t care. / I know they’re terrible, but everyone’s on it, what can you do? 🤷♂️
(Me: I don’t know which answer is worse.)
Me: But you get to own your own content. Don’t you care that everything you post is living on somebody else’s server?
Me: Don’t you want to keep a record of everything you post?
(Me: I mean I guess I should have known when I received a wedding invite via FB instead of traditional mail…)
Listening to episode 138 of Analog(ue) made me sad.
Myke said he is continuing to use Twitter because “that’s where his audience is”, “that’s how he gets the word out about his latest project”; essentially it’s how he makes his money.
This way of thinking that makes me sad.
I’m not saying that Myke is wrong in thinking that he would like to continue promoting his content to his audience, but what about the members of his audience who wants to leave Twitter?
Myke said that without Twitter, he wouldn’t be able to find out if his favourite YouTube star or internet celebrity is releasing a new project.
What if said favourite celebrity also had their own website? Then fans would have something to follow other than Twitter.
Personally, as a fan, I would love it if the internet notables I like post project updates and the likes on their own blogs. That way I can follow them without using Twitter.
Perhaps instead of completely killing off their Twitter account, internet notables like Myke should try keeping a blog that they update as much as Twitter (cross-posting is perfectly fine). They might find that if given an alternative, fans would follow them to other channels.