The Downside of Social Media Marketing – Anthony Tornambe

Why should we be cautious of Social Media?

Social Media dominates many people’s lives. From sun up to sun down many people are addicted to checking their status, posting, tweeting, pining, and such. What started as a general way of communication has developed into something more, a lifestyle. And while there is nothing wrong with Social Media as a tool and a form of entertainment, there is a downside which should be considered. Here are a few of the downsides of Social Media.

Social Media Marketing

A disassociation with reality

Social media presents us with an idealistic world. Even when there are negatives within that world, they are not pressing or permanent. One has only to block a thread, unfriend an offensive person, or click on the thumbs down button to avoid further interruption. While this filters out the offensive content, it also gives a skewed perception of the world. We come to believe that the world owes us happiness and that those who offend us in the world are doing so out of spite or in a deliberate attempt to offend us. We start to see the world from the same perspective that we see our social media, and that is the downside.

A break from social skills and communication

It is ironic to think of how much we have broken away from the standard conversation using technology which is intended for communication. Think about it. If there is a message that needs to be sent to multiple people, we do not call them or go visit, we post a status report. Should you wish to have instantaneous chatter with someone, there is IM. Letters and snail mail are a thing of the past, only used by billing companies and junk mail for the most part. It is rare to find a hand written stamped envelope with a letter these days. The downside of a lack of personal conversation is that we do not have strong memories built with those people and the power of the conversation is diminished. In a report from USA today it was stated that TalkTrack Research, Ed Keller, and Brad Fay stated that “our conversations in person are more powerful than those online” noting that we have more of a desire to talking with people we do not know about frivolous things than to real people we do know building memories and our interpersonal skills.

What is truth?

Perhaps the biggest downside of social media is the presumption that everything which is posted is truth. This is especially true when we look at posts, tweets, and pins from the media. Donald Trump consistently posts tweets with his opinions, the media regurgitates a form of the tweet, highlighting the post to serve their purposes, and then this is shared and reshaped. News media can share a fraction of a story on social media and quickly activists and various other groups can crop and edit the video, spin their interpretation of facts, and start a movement. Take for example the tweet of Justice Sacco. While the tweet was certainly not something which should have been posted, the story was blown out of its context and made to be a lot graver than what it was.

It is not that we do not know what is true and what is not, but rather that we have become lazy in seeking out references to prove that the information that we have read is factual. So long as it sounds good we tend to believe it.

The addicting power of Social media

Why, if there are so many downsides to social media do we continue to use it? Studies have shown that social media, specifically social media marketing is geared to cause addiction. The person using social media is given various rewards which trigger certain censors in the brain. These triggers release endorphins into the brain and make us feel good about ourselves and our decisions. The thing is that we become dependent upon that feeling. It is the same dependency which is needed for drug addicts, porn addiction, drinking, etc. So long as the feeling is euphoric to an extent, we want more of it. Since social media continuously evolves to play upon our sense of accomplishment and reward (whether this is through growing our friends, having the most likes, gaining a badge, having followers, or repost/pins), it is unlikely that there will be a deterring of using the major social media networks.

What we must understand about social media use is that it is a tool, primarily for communication and entertainment. We cannot elevate social media to a lifestyle status, placing our minds and our lives into an online platform. For when we lose the ability to think and to socialize we lose what makes us human, reason, common sense, and free-will.

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The Growth of Social Media

Why has social media become so popular?

In today’s world, it is hard to imagine a world without social media. And while the platforms of the major providers are less than 2 decades old, we have come to a rather skewed perception that social media always was and always will be. But what has caused the growth of social media? Is there something which drives it forward, and if so is this an indicator to future growth or collapse? Whee it is evident that social media is growing, many do not take the time to ponder why. Therefore, we have done so.

The Communication Factor

Anthony Tornambe – Social media, at its core is about communication with various parties. True, this means that we have the label of friends and family members in the groups that we talk to, but it is not the who but the ability to contact that person that is appealing. According to CIO statistics nearly 31.25 million messages are sent every minute. Let that sink in a bit. That is 45 billion messages sent a day, or 6 for every person on the planet. And while the numbers for snail mail are at 141 billion per year, according to statistic brain’s 2014 report, there is a steady decline (nearly 10 billion a year so one could figure the numbers to be around 100 billion for 2017).

Social Media

Since communication is nearly instantaneous with social media, there is a drawing to the use of it. The use of messaging and social media for communication allows for the distance barrier to be breeched and for loved ones around the world to connect, without the need to wait for a stamped letter.

The information and entertainment element

Humans love to be entertained. Whether we are watching the latest video of a kitten playing the piano, or reading the most recent twitter post from President Donald Trump, we love our social media as it plays to our need for entertainment and something to do. Social media has grown substantially in the past decade as technology has become more about entertainment and delivering cutting edge features. Think about the Virtual and Augmented reality apps and attachments for smartphones and other devices. Look at the social media which is integrated into the gaming community. Clearly, the tie between entertainment and the social media growth is seen.

In an article by the Washington post, it was shown that more younger audiences are using social media as their avenue to receive news. This is a double edged sword for the growth of social media. On the one hand, you have politicians (from both sides of the aisle) using the media to deliver propaganda and skewed politics to their potential voters. Secondly, you have reports for those who have no reporting experience delivering messages to the masses. However, on the other hand you have the availability to alert millions of disaster, to have major networks connect with viewers who would otherwise not engage in the news, and make more socially consciences persons.

The narcissistic fuel for addiction

At the core of social media, is narcissism. Call it what you will, but the premise of a social network is to have you build a profile like Anthony Tornambe, for you to build up your friends, and for you to get comments, shares, likes, and such. It is all about you. Granted information is shared about others, but only with your comments and likes and dislikes to the post or comment. The popular social media platforms know this. It is a marketing technique that has been used since the internet was invented. Give the customer something which strokes their necessity to be loved and liked, and it will prosper. The reward system of various achievements, tasks, and building up of friends, not only fuels the narcissism in us, but also is (knowingly) used by Social Media developers to hijack the brain and cause addiction.

Are you not convinced? Let us look at some of the key break throughs in social media:

  • The Selfie Stick
  • Your life in photos
  • The reverse camera on smartphones
  • Achievement badges

Forbes as well as Phycology today state that social media narcissism makes connections with people difficult. Real connections, not social connections. Additionally due to the narcissistic features of Social Media, a person grows addicted to the platform. So long as you are the center of attention, then you are willing to use it. National Geographic in their September 2017 issue The Science of Addiction stated that “in a sense, addiction is a pathological form of learning”. In other words, social media will continue to grow so long as the person becomes unaware that they are addicted. Is social media bad? Not necessarily, there are good uses for which it can be used. Will it continue to grow? Undoubtedly it will as technology, narcissism, and the devices to cater to our need for these two elements are not apt to disappear any time soon.

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