SevenCubed - 5:56 pm on Sep 18, 2012 (gmt 0)
Martin Ice Web has brought something into the debate here that hasn't been given enough consideration when we discuss social media -- AGE.
Indicators in various other threads related to facebook in particular indicate that the bulk of their users are young people. And, young people tend to be more easily influenced than the old school crowd. Needless to say that young people eventually become old school too. How will they look back on us old school people when they realize we sold their rights to privacy for a shilling?
Social media has been around for a long time. Just to repeat it, I consider forums as the oldest form of social media on the internet. Currently my fav social media spot is ted(.)com. I do take lots of comfort in those types of social media because they have depth that helps me expand my perspective on just about any topic that interests me. There are many social media outlets on the internet, YouTube is another relatively good one but at a steep price. But, the term has been whittled down to be synonymous with facebook or twitter and maybe a few newly emerging ones. But if you take a good hard look at those platforms what do they have in common? They have very low account creation barriers which in turn grants you the ability to post just about anything you want. So, they have simply become platforms with very easy access for marketers. The real social media sites across the internet have tighter access control and material is posted in a moderation environment. So on a site such as ted(.)com for example (a true authority of ideas) a marketer cannot have free-range of expression unless they truly have a product or service that has benefit for the "greater good"...and there are instances of that. Most notably are authors that publish extraordinary books that are without any doubt whatsoever of benefit to humankind as a whole. Whereas authors that are trying to capitalize on one of the latest fads will never be given a microphone.
I am not anti-social media, anti-ecommerce (you have my vote if you want to move all commerce to the internet that can be moved there and close B&M outlets to reclaim greenspace), or even anti-marketing (I build websites for businesses to market themselves) but lets face it there are the necessary necessities in life and unnecessary necessities. True social media guides us to knowledge and for everything else there are places like facebook, twitter, etc...playgrounds for marketers. The worst culprit of all is facebook, twitter is a little more palatable. Facebook is the equivalent of the Roman Coliseum. The main event attraction are the individual users, their friends, their families (all are condemned commodities) to be fed to the lions (brands). The spectator stands are filled with the marketers who have been invited by Emperor Nero (Mark Zuckerberg). And the largest majority of those to be fed to the lions are young people being exploited by marketers who do not have a level of maturity to govern themselves and leave a few stones unturned.
Young people, the majority of users of facebook, are not sources of authority (the average teen will tell you differently, we were all teens at one time). Young people study the world around themselves to try to figure out what is important and what is not -- they are looking for sources of authority to guide them. If they cannot figure it out for themselves they will more likely turn to peers for guidance but those peers are equally as well under the influence of consumerism. But if we the "old school" can only continue to make them believe that everything important in the world only exists on "social media" without properly defining social media then we are all guilty of exploiting them.