Experts say that social media has poisoned my generation.
Yet, when I was in college, Twitter and I had a very healthy relationship. Twitter stayed up with me all those late nights that I spent working on projects.
It entertained me during calculus class, so I didn’t fall asleep. And when I was meeting new people? I was sure to let Twitter know, so that they could identify the culprit if I ever went missing.
Twitter was so much a part of my college life that when I graduated in 2012, it lost its charm, and inevitably, we lost touch.
Companies & their Ads Hijack Social Media
Recently, I learned that a strong presence on social media really makes the difference in freelancing. Subsequently, I’ve made the effort to strike up a relationship with Twitter, yet again.
To my surprise, the relationship has not been as healthy as it was in the past. I quickly found myself spammed with advertisements on everything from video games to cab services.
It’s been horrible. I have to be jumping through ads like an obstacle course just to connect with friends and followers. In fact, just last night a Lyft ad hijacked my Ubersocial and completely blocked off my timeline.
I had to restart my phone just to stop the 15 second ad from replaying over and over again. Unfortunately, this is a problem wherever you go in America.
No Escape – or is There?
I say “in America”, because it’s not the same everywhere else. For instance, in Jamaica we can watch video after video on YouTube without ever seeing a commercial. How many Americans can say that? Even on Instagram, we now have sponsored posts from major companies and tiny start-ups.
There is just no escaping advertisements, and they are increasingly invading our most personal spaces. In fact, today I found a receipt I got from Kroger that featured ads on the back of it in my purse.
Unplugging Doesn’t Work
Some people will tell you to bond with nature. Go outside. Take a walk. Go hiking. That might lessen the likelihood of running into ads, but it certainly doesn’t stop it.
I have seen ads nailed to trees on hiking trails. I’m out admiring nature, and some company is trying to sell me shoes and car insurance.
America has basically given Fortune 500 companies the right to stalk me wherever I go. If we can ban bibles in schools, and smoking on planes, then there is no justification for advertisements in a place where people go to disconnect.
The View from Behind the Scenes
Recently, I obtained a client whose primary orders have been articles on marketing and public relations. Working on those projects has taught me even more about how big companies weasel their way into our homes and private spaces.
It’s always deliberate. They want to connect. And like good stalkers, they can’t just wait to run into us at work or school. No, they have to follow us home, and peek through our windows.
They hack into our devices so they can comb through our internet history. They want to see who we’ve been talking to and what about.
We’re all being stalked in America.
Americans have Superpowers
Funny enough, many Americans don’t seem to realise this. You’ve become so desensitised to the invasion, that you barely notice the uninvited guests in your homes and purses. Well, as a Jamaican, I notice.
We don’t have nearly as many confrontations with advertisements in our personal spaces the way Americans do. And when it happens, you can bet it’s mostly coming from American multi-national corporations.
Impressively, Americans have become so well at coping in this situation that they have developed an amazing superpower. The average American is quite adept at ignoring videos, pop ups and banners that companies use to catch their attention.
The Hidden Damage
Even so, while they don’t consciously acknowledge the ads, the damage is still done subconsciously. They’re the reason you have all those outfits in your closet that you’ve never worn.
That’s why you bought a brand new phone when the old one was working just fine. Ads created that growing pile of “stuff” you bought and used for a few months and then never had need for again.
How many of us actually use our Kindles and tablets every day, or utilise half the features we pay hundreds of dollars to have included on our cell phones?
I wish I could tell you that this was one of those posts where I share a life lesson at the end that solves the problem, but it really isn’t.
Still, I hope that by shedding light on the issue, we might begin to pay closer attention to how these ads we think we’ve ignored affect our cultures and bank accounts.
At best, I can advise you to spend less time on social media and more time actually socialising. Take vacations to small towns and tiny islands. Go off the grid sometimes – even if it means just a few hours of hiking a trail.
Better yet, let’s start a movement to ban companies from stalking us in our private spaces.
But, until then, here are pictures of me stalking Mother Nature at Jones Bridge Park. I must say, she is one lovely lady. ♥
Have a good week, and feel free to rant away in the comments!