By Ivan Hernandez
Instagram & twitter: @iahl0914
Social classes are entrenched in our society. Nobody likes to talk about it or discuss it, but it’s a prominent characteristic in our society. Economic division creates our cultural division, and the more distanced we are from each other the easier it is for elites to perpetuate the status quo, so is social media being used as another tool to divide and rule? Are the wealthy and powerful using social media as one of their power base controls for the perpetuation of social class? Is the associated status and exceptionalism related to social class the same as the one created by social media?
In this class, we have all learned how social media listening tools work, and for me this experience was like seeing how the NSA tools work for monitoring terrorism: in a word, scary. These tools control every single public mention on social media, and they have the control to monitor every single post made with your ID user if they wish to. Imagine if they had access to every single private media stream: emails, text messages, private social media messages, etc. Same principle though? Right? Reports on this are numerous. But, enough with the conspiracy theories, and back to the point.
What we do know is that the more economic power you have, the better the tools you can acquire to control your social media monitoring, and even worse, to control your competitor’s conversations, through sometimes vile and aggressive marketing campaigns. The more powerful the tool, the stronger your power to control the conversation, and to maintain control of the market.
Social media tools help companies identify when their products are not being talked about, resulting in new marketing campaigns aimed at keeping new products at peak exposure and keeping them always present in every social media outlet. Don’t you hate scrolling down your friends´ Instagram pictures and always having a Pepsi Co, Nike, Taco Bell or Apple add? Don’t you ever stop to think why it’s not a BuildOn, or Habitat for Humanity, or Doctors without Borders new weekly marketing campaign?
But think about it, do you think a small social enterprise that starts selling great tasting healthy soda drinks (let’s say that’s possible) can compete with these monster corporations and their brand exposure. Don´t those corporations have a paved road to success? A road paved by social media and these social media listening tools.
Are social media “likes” and “shares” not separating us more and more from the people that we used to know and care about. Look at it with the Trump campaign: how many of us didn’t eliminate, “unfriend” or “unfollow” somebody we knew because they posted on the other side of our political views? How many of us do so without even a conversation behind the “unfollow”. Believe it or not, behind that political view there is another human being, struggling to make a decent living through their own path, that probably has or will have a family, and will love them or try to love them the same way we do ours. But we can now divide ourselves even more easily through social media, retreating into our own media bubbles.