Friday, November 9, 2007

Social networking or forced marketing?

I’ve never used Facebook, and I’ve only looked at MySpace with a passing glance, but I’ve never cared for either of them. If someone gives me a link to their page on MySpace I’m not very anxious to visit since I know it will be cluttered, probably have a music file that loads automatically, and not let me see much without registering. As if I needed any other reason to not like these “social networking” sites, this story gives me another one. Facebook is going to another level and “monetizing” the connections between friends on its site. On one level this is nothing more than targeted advertising, but on another level it’s much more. If I buy something online I don’t necessarily want to be used to endorse that product or service to my friends. It’s amazing how much we are bombarded in this country with marketing. We see it and live it so many hours a day. We can’t leave our houses without being exposed to some type of add, be it a billboard, an ad on the side of a bus, and ad on a bus, flatbed trucks driving down streets with ads on them, signs on buildings, radio, TV, airplanes with banners. With the internet those ads came inside. We get popups in our web browsers, e-mail ads (no I don’t want to increase the size of my breasts, thank you), and ads on so many web pages. For the marketing firms this is the next logical step, but I don’t like the idea. Sometimes socializing with friends should be nothing more than that. Not everything in our lives should be an opportunity for some company to push their products on us.

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