to program or be programmed – social

I have social media sites so that I can get in contact with friends when I want to. I don’t have Facebook so I can meet “hot Christian singles” near me or let everyone know that I like Maybelline mascara. I don’t go on Buzznet to learn more about the Toyota Prius or about ‘the power of cleaning with Clorox’. I don’t go on social media sites to consume information about products, I go on to consume information about people I interact with. There are times when I go on these sites and feel bombarded with everything I am not looking for out of a social media site, like they are trying to serve some other purpose.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I prefer Tumblr. It doesn’t throw ads at me; consistently asking me if I’d like to join this dating site since my Facebook relationship status says I’m single. Tumblr allows me to dive into my interests, communicate with friends and build connections with others who have the same interests as me.

what to get rid of those creepy Facebook ads? click here

In Program or be Programmed, Douglas Rushkoff explains, “Instead of looking to monetize or otherwise intercede between existing social connections, those promoting networks should be looking to foster connections between people who are as yet unknown to each other yet potentially in need of each other. And then let them go about their business – or their socializing” (p. 101).

I agree peer-to-peer networking is a better medium. Obviously I am going to value what my friend (or someone who has similar interests as me) has to say about a certain book or television show over what advertisers suggest. I have built connections with those I follow on Tumblr because of the obvious similarity between us and I’d much rather have them message me about an EP from their favorite artist who sounds similar to my favorite artist than have Spotify say “since you like music, you’ll love this band” and play some of the techno/electronic beat off the bands latest record (No Spotify, I’m positive I will not love this band). There is more value in the opinion of someone I have a connection with over someone/something that thinks they know me or what I like.

“The content is not the message, the contact is,” says Rushkoff (p.99). So, instead of receiving a distribution of spam, I think it’s more appropriate for businesses to stick to the social identity they have already made for themselves through their personal websites, and allow people to converse about what they have to offer on their own terms; don’t throw it in their face, they will talk about it/look into it/buy it if they want and they have a better chance of doing so if peers inform them about it.

Everyone talks about what they like, what they don’t like, what they absolutely cannot live without…etc. If I had a penny for every time someone said, “So and so said this is awesome, we should get it,” I’d have loads of pennies! I buy things, watch things, and listen to certain things because they were suggested to me by friends and family (who I consider to have good taste). I don’t buy, watch or listen to things because the sponsored tab on my page shows that 5 of my friends like it on Facebook.

Point: “We must remember that the bias of digital media is toward contact with other people, not with their content, or worse, their cash” (Rushkoff p. 96).


About MegMia
journalism major who brings a little optimism to a world full of pessimism.

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