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Do you enjoy the adverts?

Most Social Media feeds have become a feed littered with adverts and I’m not even talking about the paid adverts that appear there, although there are of course millions.

As Social Media Marketing World winds up it’s series of keynotes, its highfiving, the back slapping, littered with sound bites and good vibes towards everything Social, the objective of it all was really to learn about how to get more money out of consumers.

I feel like being sick in my porridge. Denial is the key word here, every Social Media Marketer is in denial of the damage Social Media is doing to humankind, the exploitation of our democracy and our choice to choose our own consumerism.

Not only will they be coming back to their communities with new ideas on how to con their connections, they will be delivering their workshops to teach others how to do the same and charge handsomely for the privilege.

I used to be a huge proponent of Social Media when it all appeared dubbed as Web 2.0. I spent many hours learning this skill and teaching others too. I’m totally guilty and was taken in by it all. However little did they know how they were going to use it to grow their gold reserves. It took a while for them to realise where they were heading towards themselves and then they discovered that our desire to be able to communicate with friends and loved ones via a digital medium meant that we were very very happy to share our most intimate details, thoughts and desires, including our anger and frustrations.

Global mental health is a rising epidemic and we already know that Social Media has a massive part to play in this rise. I first wrote about this in 2013 in the non-significant journal of psychology, an article titled ‘Do Social Networks Sell Drugs?’.

We also know that Social Media has been used to manipulate voters to elect Donald Trump as president, possibly the biggest abuser of democracy the free world has ever seen. It has also been used to deliver ‘Brexit’, the Social Media mastermind that came up with the slogan ‘Take back control’, Dominic Cummings, portrayed by the brilliant Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘Brexit: The Uncivil War’.

Molly Russell’s father Ian says he believes Instagram is partly responsible for his daughter’s death. Molly Russell committed suicide whilst being active on Instagram and she is just one of the reported cases we know of.

Whilst I appreciate that Social Media has also been responsible for much good in the world. The Ice Bucket challenge, that went viral on Social Media to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). It raised a lot of money for the charity, which supports the sufferers of this disease. There are I am sure thousands of examples where Social Media has been beneficial for many.

However, there is a huge underlying motive for the owners of these platforms and that is to make money for it’s shareholders.

Printing money from your content, your discussions, your fears, your mental health. If you knew the extent of the exploitation that’s taking place you would leave these platforms overnight. But you don’t, even though you realise at some level that this is happening, we are in fear of missing out (FOMO) and the platform owners know this all too well. They’ve built their technology to ensure that this is the case constantly.

As a result most business owners now believe that Social Media is the ONLY way now to promote their products and services and they are spending billions in doing so.

But not everyone has millions to spend on advertising and they are using the newsfeed to post their adverts for free and that’s why the newsfeed has become the advertfeed.

In years to come the newsfeed will disappear completely, it doesn’t have the value it once had. Community discussions will grow and replace it, I call it the ‘Group Chat’. These aren’t that new, they have been emerging on messaging apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Snapchat and Instagram.

But we don’t need to be beholden to these platforms, you can look to create your own community chat forums, just like the ones we used to have in the good old days. We may have to pay a small amount for them, but I promise it will be worth it in the long run.

Happy advertising!

Michael de Groot

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Michael de Groot

Michael de Groot

What could happen if you were able to share a better story? | www.stayingaliveuk.com