I’m not one of those people who hates social media. A couple of years ago when my wife was very ill and handling the treatment for her disease very badly, my entire day was nothing but work at an unfriendly day job and taking care of her at night. If it wasn’t for social media, loneliness and despair would have claimed me as one of its many victims.
But now, I’m definitely a lot more wary than when I first created my Facebook account.
I do still think if we can get our act together, figure out how to use social media in order to properly integrate it into our daily lives, it has the potential to radically alter the entire structure of our entire society for the better. The problem is we live in a capitalist society. So the first thought for anything new and brilliant and wonderful is: how can we convince people they can’t live without this and make an insane amount of money? Worse still, here in the States, our voting choices are between the two branches of the larger corporate party, so no matter how you vote, Goldman Sachs still wins. And when Goldman Sachs wins, people lose.
Companies using social engineering to manipulate you is nothing new, both as a consumer and an employee. The 1960s birthed an entire social science industry that used motivation studies, counseling, personality tests, employee/customer surveys, and a bunch of other sneaky schemes to secure the interests of corporations–all to your detriment. This is what gave rise to all the management experts, consulting firms, corporate coaches, leadership training, company seminars, and the huge market for business books we have today.
The internet has provided these corporations with new tools for social engineering. And I don’t know if any corporation understands social engineering and the power of the social-validation feedback loop as well as Facebook does.
Just listen to Sean Parker explain. Parker is the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist who co-founded Napster and served as the first president of Facebook:
- “The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'”
- “And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in awhile, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”
Watch the full video of Parker: HERE.