Friday, September 30, 2011

Google, Kindle, Android, IOS, Facebook...

Just realized that these days, those of us who are connected seem to be getting this slew of offerings that keep flying of the shelves. A couple of days ago, it was Amazon with its Kindles. And in a couple of days, Apple will be releasing some more new stuff. Facebook has just gone through one round of new upgrades. One more is supposed to come in the coming days. Before that, we had all other stuff from HTC, Samsung.... Every few days, I seem to be reading about some new release. And how come? All because I am quite 'well-connected'.

I'm on FB like many. I have articles delivered to my iPad at rates which I have no time to keep up with. I am bombarded with reviews, teasers, speculations... They just keep coming. I never imagined that there can be so much to read. Minus work, housework, 'chasing' after the kids, I actually have not much time. But still I am in the know because all the info I need to know is delivered to wherever I am, to be read at my convenience.

Anyway, to keep consumerism going, this new social networking is a perhaps the best way to get to your potential customers. However, many of these networking sites have abilities to keep track of our lives, our likes and dislikes. Privacy policies are in place but that's just one software away from prying into our lives. And I've come to realize also that many of us don't mind many of the privacy issues. We announce to the world where we are, what we are going to do, who we're with, what we had for dinner, what we've just bought.... even love is professed in this public domain. Very often I know where my friends are. I know who check in with who into a particular place. Some may argue that the info is only for our friends' consumption. But I also notice that many don't bother recalibrating their settings. And there are those of us who accept just anyone to be our friends.

And if you think the telcos would be a safe bet to send messages, think again. The SMSes we send out get stored over a period of time. Some telcos keep messages for a long time. So, FB provides your life's timeline. Telcos stored your supposedly personal messages. Amazon via their latest offering will be able to keep detailed records of your reading and surfing habits too.... it's not available in Malaysia yet but someday, it will.

Back to FB. It's actually quite easy to draw a pattern of behavior from FB. If a person unfriends you, you know the other party probably has an issue with you. This is one of the more obvious examples. Patterns can be drawn from our posts, the way we respond, etc, etc that allows more info than which meets the eye to get through. Sometimes, it is even possible to read into a person's mind via his responses. Imagine what companies can do with the information that they have on users. Tailored advertisement, reading content... all that would be possible. In short, it is possible to even programme us via what we read. Articles are easy to write...

Back in 98 (if memory serves me right), the BN went on a marketing glitz which made majority of the country feel or really good. Suffice to say, BN won big time that year. We were all bought by the feel good factor. Inequality was there, cronyism was thriving, yet majority of us felt good enough to give BN a resounding victory.... it was all in the marketing... Imagine how we can be influenced now that our individual tastes can be scrutinized. And they have the means to deliver the persuasion tailored for you only... Scary! Plus peer pressure can be a useful tool too. You will be informed what your friends are listening to, what they are watching, which phone they are buying. Keeping up with the Joneses' at its best. We've this trait built in; and the media needs only to awaken it. The credit cards do the rest even when you don't have the actual cash... Sometimes, I wonder whether this is all a conspiracy to enslave us all...

Look at the hype surrounding the impending Apple release of products. They are so many articles about what experts are saying about the new products. It builds the hype. It makes people wait in anticipation. It gently prods people make up their minds to get one.... there is nothing like building that desire slowly. Suspense keeps us seated, makes us take note... causing us to crave for it.

There are many pros too but like everything else; you always get both sides. Man is a social creature. We want to know what's happening to the people around us, not that it matters to us... we want to have the things that our friends have, not because we need them, we want to keep up with our neighbors... All those companies? They just know which buttons to press so that they make more money. And they're very successful at it. Apple is the most valuable company. Amazon, Google... they're all industry leaders making tons of profits. And they all have one thing in common, they're all involved directly or indirectly in social media.

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