Individuals and organizations are using the web as a means to “exploit” people’s interest and intents.
The term “exploitation” may carry two distinct meanings:
- The act of using something for any purpose. In this case, exploit is a synonym for use.
- The act of using something in an unjust or cruel manner.
An Exploitative Economy?
The economics of the web are driven by intent and interest. People join groups, read blogs and engage in conversations that have an affinity to their intents and interest. Marketers track said intents and interest and try and trick people to engage on their sites, fan pages and everywhere else. They do so to capture “user data” to target user demographics with offerings. The end result is to create a sale, a click through or to gather more data. This is a kind of exploitative economy or more accurately called “vulture capitalism,” and we are seeing it now in full view with the “social marketing” tactics of the vultures looking for “game”.
The social web is a “consumer society” in which people communicate, collaborate, share with the aim of learning. Every part of these activities becomes a commodity, something to be bought and sold, whether it is an idea, a job opening, a new product or someone’s simple persona, everyone is selling and buying something.The economy of the internet cost time and effort which is money represented by productivity. Monetary currency is exchanged from buying and selling products and services while social currency is exchanged through the buying and selling of ideas (knowledge) to help one another gain more time and thus increase productivity.
Traditional organizations view the internet as way to sell more ” things”. While using “all things social” equates to nothing more than the means to reach a larger audience with institutional propaganda (marketing). After all isn’t that capitalism?
In essence,the word capitalism is “generalized commodity production,” the transforming of “social and relational matters” into a “thing,” something to be owned or traded for money. On the other hand “social capitalism” is more about the trading of knowledge possessed by the human network for more knowledge that people can use to be more productive.
Vulture Capitalist Disguised as Social
Vulture capitalists consider the commercialization of the human network the “free-market-system” and force it on the human network. When this “system” fails, the vulture capitalists send in their carefully-selected market economists and social gurus to see why the human network isn’t responding accordingly. Subsequently these smart folks come up with new schemes and tricks to try and engage the human network and capture the network within their “databases” (prisons of things). You can see this everyday. Organizations trying to use “all things social” to capture the human network. Here is an example of a link propagated by an organization, 5 Tricks for Designing a High Performing & Engaging Website, which appeared in my Google Alert folder and “tricked me” into examining what this was all about.
If you clicked on the link you would find a self fulfilling data capture site which demands your data before you can view the proposed article. Like a vulture this process steals your time and data as a means to capture you like an wounded carcass so they can devour your information or sell it to someone else. Sounds a lot like many of the so called “social networks”!
Beware of the vultures. They don’t trade in “social capitalism” rather they will trade you to other vultures for a dollar. They use 5 common tricks including:
- Pretending to be “social”
- Use of any and all capture tricks
- Have a strategy of containment
- Entice you with titles, deals and popularity to pull you in
- There is never a real person behind the trick rather an institution with a mask