New Media

addiction spoof on Facebook logo

“Facebook might have won already, which would mean the end of democracy in this century,” [Jaron] Lanier said. “It’s possible that we can’t quite get out of this system of paranoia and tribalism for profit—it’s just too powerful and it’ll tear everything apart, leaving us with a world of oligarchs and autocrats who aren’t able to deal with real problems like pandemics and climate change and whatnot and that we fall apart, you know, we lose it. That is a real possibility for this century.”

A major hypothesis.

Nota bene: New media are new, but also not new. Both the incessant expansion of data-harvesting and the shift away from print-dominated media are major marketing (read: corporate capitalist) imperatives.

The Future is Now

eyeball For decades, corporate marketers have been working toward real-time linking of purchase and media-use data in the planning of their behavior-engineering campaigns.

The future is now arriving, friends:

Twitter ad targeting just got more broad … and specific. Today the company announced that it’s giving advertisers the ability to take aim at more than 1,000 audiences defined by big data partners Acxiom and Datalogix.

Called “partner audiences,” the new ad feature means advertisers can now serve Promoted Tweets to Twitter users who have signaled purchase intent in specific categories off Twitter. Acxiom and Datalogix are dominant players in the big data industry, tracking and analyzing consumer behavior across brick and mortar and online businesses. [Source]

In honest usage, “signaled,” of course, means an intended communication. What it means in marketing-speak, however, has nothing to do with any respect for the intentions of the target populations, whose “signals” in this case are merely their ordinary procurements of life’s necessities, a.k.a. naive purchases of goods and services.

The fact that overclass agents arrogate unto their masters the right to treat such acts as “signals” from their victims speaks volumes about how illegitimate the planet-wrecking reign of corporate investors really is, even as it remains so deniable and seemingly benign.

Pushing Pablum With Mental Pablum

McDonalds-Sign Coke isn’t alone, of course. One wonders which will give you diabetes faster — regularly eating the food at McDonald’s, or “following” its Twitter feed.

Marketing news site contently glowingly reports the following:

Aside from when Mickey D’s is promoting its newest products or the comeback of a favorite menu item (McRibs or Shamrock Shakes, anyone?), the Twitter resembles that of any other user. The company posts updates such as, “’If we didn’t have birthdays, you wouldn’t be you. If you’d never been born, well then what would you do?’ Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!” and “Happy Thursday everyone! Hope your day is off to a great start!”

It even re-tweets updates unrelated to the company like “Those small words someone can say that makes your day ten times better. #LittleThings” and “I try to be the 1 person to stand up and do something for someone when everyone else sits and watches. #littlethings.”

It’s fitting that McDonald’s Twitter updates are positive and uplifting, considering that its trademark colors are bright, it serves Happy Meals, and its slogan is “I’m lovin’ it.” The company is all about happiness, and this effectively translates over to its presence on Twitter.

Along with never posting negative content, the McDonald’s Twitter feed is clearly run by everyday people. Its ten Twitter representatives sign their tweets with their initials, posting statuses like “It’s Friday! How is everyone this morning? ^MO” and “Good morning and happy Tuesday! Very grateful for the McCafé Mocha that’s about to help me get my day started! ^MO.”

The advertising is in there, but it’s not so direct — people update their Facebooks or Twitter accounts all the time mentioning restaurants or products. Rick Wion, McDonald’s social media director, told PR Daily, “People want to connect with actual people on Twitter.” Instead of sounding like an automated machine, the company’s account is personal and heartfelt.

Over 300,000 people “follow” this line of brand-building condescension and lies, by the way. “The company is all about happiness!” I’m sure that news will go over really well at the next shareholders meeting.

What a culture we get.

Twitter Litter

Corporate capitalist transportation system painted itself into a corner and threatening to blow up and/or burn out the world? Market totalitarianism’s answer? Bail it out to do more of the same!

Corporate capitalist for-profit health care radically mis-allocating resources and generating near-universal anguish? Market totalitarianism’s answer? Make it illegal not to purchase private health insurance!

Corporate capitalist media system promoting mass addiction to egregiously vapid time-wasting while simultaneously making it impossible to comprehend the most basic information needed for democratic citizenship? Market totalitarianism’s answer? Make sure commercialism reaches down to the tiniest tentacle of the media matrix.