So, what of this is helpful for the users? I get, on the one hand, that marketing follows the attention, but historically this seems to ‘ruin’, or at least bait and switch the product for the users. It isn’t that marketing is a bad thing, on the contrary, I think it’s good an necessary; but much of what we see today seems vastly over done.
Television is hard to stomach because it’s constant advertising (with children’s programming, in some instances, the ads take more time than the show!) and it’s on the increase. It’s one of the drivers first for the DVR (not just the convenience of ‘watch when you want’), and now for ‘cord-cutting’. Most people wouldn’t say they expect no ads, no marketing; but many would say they’re seeking a decreasing exposure.
Social Media used to be called Social Networks. They used to be more social, designed around social, and people flocked to them for the social. You are correct in pointing out, however, that now they are Social Media Networks. This is where the bait and switch comes in. The users themselves are largely still drawn to the networks because they think they’re social more than they think they’re media. And the ones who are catching on are moving to other apps, platforms, and networks, as you pointed out, like the “anti-social” social messengers. When the marketing gets overcooked on these services is when you’ll see the ‘next big/killer app’ as people migrate to yet another platform. Granted, picking up the next platform seldom means people delete or even fully quit using the previous platform; but their usage changes and that’s how you get “the kids aren’t on Facebook anymore”… they are, but they don’t use it the way they used to. (And why would they? It’s just a marketing tool…)
So, my question is this: What would it look like for marketers to engage the audience on these networks without treating it like media? What does it look like to address the spaces as the actual users see them, as social?