Ever since 2011 social media has been a constant battlefield where no matter where you go to, what timeline are, what video you play or which page you like, account follow, you will sooner than later stumble upon a targeted political ad or will stumble upon news are design for click & bait.
Fast-Forward to 2015, and the fact that Donal Trump became the president, was no surprise. “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” How So? Well when you continue to talk, whether it is something that causes controversy, reaction, positive or negative, it causes engagement and that is what the social media companies want. Engagement.
We are products that validate the existence of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Google. Whenever we like, share, comment, or report the ad, unfollow, we are providing valuable data to the algorithm, which is compiled and they fixed it in a way that then it can be tweaked for success for campaign managers so they can invest and target more efficiently the audiences. Every 24hrs they can get better reports and now how they are doing, with which type of demographics, sex, religion, age, ethnic and affiliation groups.
I am a mid 30s, hispanic, Christian faith, heterosexual, married and when it come to my gender I choose male. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, I use Gmail, have an iPhone and this blog. Love Metallica, podcasting, and Batman is the best superhero ever.
That last paragraph is enough data to create a profile and target me to sell me things that could really and potentially interest me to click on them to read the news. Once I click on one of those it means that the algorithm of the social media will try to keep showing it to me as much as it can so I can see it. Hence why the Timeline in Facebook is no longer the way it was and you keep seeing the same things over and over again.
Machine Learning = Humanity Predictive
Knowing that there are machines, software really, learning about our habits and gathering all that data is kind of creepy. Imaging a Dr. House + Your Mother combined into one being. Is like being Vision from the Avengers but knowing everything about everyone.
The problem with all of this is that instead of making decisions because of values, because of reason, it will be harder because inception and little by little the influence of every post, ad, news, posts, MEME, video, etc.
HULU now started providing ads about the elections while I was trying to watch some shows. Pandora and Spotify as well. It used to be regular TV and Radio. But now…it’s on the internet in social media. Because everyone is on social media and glued to their phone. The UX/UI studies, colors, frequency, timing, influences people, wether they know it or not.
The Machine learns what keywords get a reaction and a rise out of you, your age group, your county, state, gender, and based on the pages you like, the public figures you follow and engage with and if those are in favor or not with the candidate the campaign manager wishes to target to so they can become supported, click on the aritcle, share it, comment on it, help it become a trend and spread like wildfire.
Even using the people who are against the candidate is a good tactic. Controversy creates headlines and news. This is something that a lot of people forget. Rock ‘n’ Roll was “the devil’s music” during the 50s and 60s. Then it became hippie music. The satanic. Then looser’s music. Then it was Rap and Hip-Hop’s turn to be tagged with some label that didn’t really represent what that movement was about. Biggie and 2-Pac anyone?
Targeting people who are against you using your most controversial article, news or any type of content keeps you as a trending topic. If you are everywhere and everyone talks about you, what do you think will happen?
Voldermont was no longer given power because no one talked about him nor mentioned his name. No engagement with the subject or persona.
But in this day and age, where the Baby Boomers have joined social media, and some do not understand click and bait, nor understand that not all the newspapers are ethical as they used to, shout out to Breaker Magazine for being the difference in this point, it’s so easy for those with pockets to spend millions on social media, influence as many people as they can on a daily basis and stay as present as they can. Then set themselves up for success to win.
Should social media be allowed to have such power to influence audiences? Should target ads be so powerful that they follow you everywhere you go and promote everything you search for over and over again?
Social Media & Google: Leaders of Information
I decided to visit the Google Trends site and quickly research what was trending. These are the trending topics right now in Google.
But what surprised me was the fact that google already had a featured article about the midterm elections with all the data ready to go.
Here are the tops searches since halloween until today:
What does this tells us? People are looking for answers on the internet rather on people. They would much rather get convince on their own from reading on social media, and news outlet than going to the rallies and events and seeing what actually happens. Seeing what really is going on and how history is going down.
They would rather look at history in the making through the filters of social media, than look at the real face. Think about it.
Is social media owning you?
Tell me in the comments below.