News that Facebook has been manipulating your emotions with the information it delivers should be met with a big yawn. Everyone is messing with you. Since the dawn of time our fellow beings have been toying with each other as if we were all little hand puppets set on earth to entertain them. And with the rise of psychology and marketing science it should come as no surprise that we are all acting as obediently as if Shari Lewis herself was making our mouths move and our small bright button eyes roll.
Facebook’s machinations were, at their best simplistic and the results self evident well before they even took place. Basically they served users either positive or negative tending information and followed the users reactions. As anticipated, those flooded with bad news thought the world was gonna end and those who got good news went out and bought Caddilacs. This is a lesson we should know intimately, surround yourself with the negative grow to be an old curmudgeon, think positive and be a bright yellow flower in a field. So, ho hum, Facebook wasn’t smart enough to know this without running research.
It is even more important to realize that this information has been well used by savvy marketers for eons, that none of us immune to it’s influence and that, if you have a lick of sense, you can act intelligently despite it’s pervasiveness. As an example, would you rather part with $40 for a sweet sounding set of headphones or $$350? If you spend the $40 you will have a realistic, well balanced auditory experience that can either be subtle enough to please a lover of ‘The Rite of Spring‘ or as deafening as any thrash metal band can deliver in a small casino. The prime benefit of the $$350 set? Your friends will ooh and ahh and hate you for not paying your share of the pizza bill. But smart marketers know the value of peer envy and white wires.
Marketing has little interest in facts and figures, efficiency and economy. Marketing wants sizzle, sex, smiles and sales. Duh. Watch the commercials. Do the actors look better before or after they take the chemical formulation, buy the insurance, wash their hair with Pantene, (it’s still sodium laureth sulfate that does the job), or splurge on clothes at the Gap? They are still smiling as the disclaimers and litany of warnings about the risk of strokes, head failure, limb separation, bad attitude, leaky orifices and loose eye sockets flash by. Flood us with positive messages and smiles and we’ll leave our childruns with a barren, poisoned landscape so the frackers and coal barons can help us power our Escalades a block or two for a half gallon of milk and a bag of Funyuns.
Take the Facebook story with a big Homeric ” Whhada ya gonna do?”.