If you thought the rise of veganism was bad, you’re about to be bombarded by a new wave of social consciousness that demands you delete your social media, especially Facebook, and stop shopping on Amazon in a bid to be more mindful to local businesses. Perhaps the hipsters searching for their gluten free loafs was just the beginning and we are indeed entering a new period of enlightenment, sparked by the recent revelations from Cambridge Analytica and Facebook. The carelessness of Zuckerberg with our personal data has led to trending hashtags and moral dilemmas everywhere as we debate leaving Facebook and joining platforms that are built on the notions of privacy.
Perhaps leaving social media and avoiding Amazon’s easy consumerism is the new way to stick it to the man as creating start-ups doesn’t seem to be doing the trick anymore, but how realistic is it and what does it mean for the world of advertising? Whether we like it or not, our social media presence allows us to be part of communities in a world where physical communities are dying out and as humans, we have a natural desire to belong to things. As much as you might sometimes want to leave the grind and retire to a cabin in the woods, it doesn’t really work like that and our desire for human companionship would start to kick in at some point. Not to mention the huge sharing of information that happens across social media and our ability to be part of conversations that are not always accessible to us in our physical lives. The question is less should you leave it, but rather is our world set up to give us what we need without it?
The advertising world certainly isn’t and if more people leave, will we revert back to billboards and posters advertising our wares? The reality is that social media or not, online has a place in most people’s lives and Facebook’s recent blunder means that a group of techies are probably sitting in a room somewhere, building the next social platform, all with the USP of absolute and total privacy, with the promise never to share data. As long as those platforms exist, companies will find a way to be part of them and therefore to advertise their products. The job of advertising is to be where the eyeballs are, and whether it’s online or in that cabin in the woods, they’ll find a way to be there too. The arguments therefore aren’t so much whether this will affect the ad world, but rather how will it change us because let’s be honest, advertising and marketing isn’t going bust any time soon.
And should a new wave of socially conscious consumers really herald in a new dawn where Amazon is shunned and Facebook deleted, surely then it will bring about a new of advertising and talking to consumers. It might make us all a little bit more innovative and a lot less dry. It might make things more exciting for us all, and maybe, just maybe, it might be the shake up some companies need.