We are constantly being followed. And the sad matter is it’s not an overstatement.
One of the latest things marketing buzz has grown around is any brand’s possibility to research for campaigns and products by taking the pulse of online conversations. It’s like having access to an international focus group that isn’t affected by such things as your expectations. To marketers this information is priceless. This is why they should be the first to encourage people to tweet and blog about every single insignificant detail of their daily lives. Because it allows them to form a clearer picture of who we are, what we want and how much we would be willing to pay to get it.
The matter has been stressed that one of the downsides of social media is that you’re actually talking to the entire world – but since you’re doing it from your desk chair or your sofa you have the illusion that you’re safe. Well, of course you’re not and consumer trackers are going to search the internet for every tiny scoop of information that they can find about your daily habits and problems and how they can monetize them.
There are 2 sides to this – a kind one and a sad one.
For the better – at least now there’s a way to talk back to brands, to let them know what pisses us off so that they can change it. This wasn’t much of an option in the past. You bought whatever was available – remote-sized cell phones, eco-murderous vehicles, Microsoft and so on. Now you get a say in what happens next – and you get it because you feel like putting it out there, not because the brand is conducting a market study. If what you get at is strong enough and other join in, brands will have to lend an ear regardless if they want to or not.
For the worse – we are constantly being tracked and have no say in it yet. These things are hard to regulate, even by authorities and probably won’t be for a while. Brands have first hand access to knowledge about how to better “brainwash” us. So in a sense our growing satisfaction with brands for their listening to our requests does nothing but empower an even more profound consumerism than the one we’re currently muddling through.
A few readings on the matter: