We’re all employees of social media

Matthew Jacobs
Jul 3 · 3 min read
Source: Recovery Direct

We all lurk on social media. Whether it’s to connect with others, to validate ourselves, to promote ourselves. That’s how we benefit from social media. Temporarily. How does social media benefit from us?

Nothing in this world is free. Even though social media is free, likes are free, instant messaging is free.

So how does social media provide these services for free?

Facebook has something that companies really want — access to billions of people around the globe who might buy their products or services.

Facebook [2017] earned $39.9 billion from advertising revenue. All in all, the company earns about 85% of its money from advertising.

Brian O’Connell, The Street.

Yeah, duh. Knew that.

Think about it this way —we drive the value of social media. All the time we waste on social media is the reason they’re multi-billion companies.

Wouldn’t you rather create long-term value for yourself?

Or would you rather create value for social media? Who are in the business of wasting your time and influencing you to buy products you don’t need.

Think of your own job — your labour and/or expertise creates value. Value which enables your organisation to supply products/services to customers.

Now think of Facebook. Let’s simplify their customers as being “advertisers”. The service Facebook offers to advertisers is access to billions of people. Who enables this access?

We do.

We are the service Facebook offers to their customers.

Yes, they have a HQ in Silicon Valley which supports and maintains Facebook. Facebook has employees.

It is us users who create the value of social media.

Facebook’s employees merely support and maintain this value.

The mother of memes. Source: Getty Images

“What we allow is for advertisers to tell us who they want to reach, and then we do the placement… we can show the ads to the right people without that data ever changing hands and going to the advertiser.”

— an excerpt Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony to U.S Congress [2018], from Business Insider AU.

He didn’t directly admit that Facebook sells user data. However, they do rely on user data to make billions. Who generates this user data?

We do.

Every time we go on social media. Doing nothing or doing everything. Ghosting or roasting. We’re generating data for Facebook. We’re creating value for Facebook. And most of us don’t see a penny of it.

Source: Headspace

Food for thought

I don’t hate social media. I’m simply offering a broader perspective of how we’re the value drivers of social media.

Time is money people. The more time you spend on social media = the more valuable social media is to their customers.

Why not make yourself more valuable to customers or employers? Or make yourself more valuable to you?

Whether you want to:

  • Spend more time with friends to improve your relationships with them and your interpersonal skills
  • Take up a second job to save for a holiday
  • Learn a new language and start a new life somewhere else
  • Enrol in a University, TAFE or apprenticeship course
  • Anything besides mindlessly scrolling

Sure, likes are fun. But unless you’ve got a business that uses social media as a tool for marketing, the value or validation wears off.

You can’t put 2000 followers on your resume. Maybe you can in 2050 but certainly not now.

“I need to get off this” is a thought that’s crossed our minds at least once. Here’s your reason. Serve yourself and not a multi-billion company.

Matthew Jacobs

Written by

An extremely amateur blogger — all feedback/criticism is welcomed! Perth, Australia. Instagram — mattjacbs

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