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With or Without Advertising

In the previous two installments, we investigated worlds with and without advertising. Now let’s begin trying to discover which world we prefer to (or choose to) engage in.

Essentially, this boils down to choosing whether we want to receive one message at a time, or whether we would prefer to receive two messages at the same time. Much like two people talking at the same time, the result is normally completely confusing or it ends up being a matter of the louder voice drowning out the quieter voice.

Usually, the people running the advertising fun-house (in the vast majority of cases online, this is Google) are very strongly financially motivated to make the advertisers’ voice come through loud and clear — and indeed, a big part of their technique involves spying on their so-called “users” around the clock, so that they already have a pretty good idea of which users are craving for what. As a simple example (for which I have absolutely no data to support my hypothesis), if they know that a user has been traveling for several hours in a car then they might offer the user something that also enables a “bathroom break”. Whether that solution is good for the economy or whether it involves any moral or ethical issues is not important — what’s important is that Google got the user to react to an ad. [1]

Of course the user is not allowed to notice this. If the user noticed this, Google would be a financial failure. FYI: It isn’t. And it really doesn’t matter which of the leading propaganda companies we’re talking about, because they all use the same modus operandi: gently nudge the user towards the hook (which might not even be the propaganda company’s own hook — they are very willing to point you in any direction whatsoever, as long as their “guidance” [2] leads to profit maximization for the propaganda company).

As I tried to point out last week, the cases in which there is no advertising are now few and far between. This is not surprising, because it seems much easier to motivate people to click on some bogus sensational bullshit headline in order to sucker them into signing up for some free deal or similar once-in-a-lifteime opportunity (or at the very least the manipulation engine can collect data on the types of bullshit headlines they click on, what ads make them look twice, what other deals might work better the next time around, maybe in a second or two).

Without such distractions and trickery (and first and foremost meticulous tracking), it beomes much more important to message clearly, and also to be very selective from the beginning. Any negotiation involving a varible X requires agreement regarding X. In the advertising case, the user types X into a search box, and doesn’t really care whether that leads to Y, because Y doesn’t seem too bad, either.

In the non-advertising case, X and Y represent distinct communities. Those who care about X engage in an X community (or in many X communities), and those who care about Y engage in a Y community (or in several Y communities). Since most people have numerous interests, they also engage in numerous different communities. As I noted last time, these communities are also connected via semantic networks — basically, links between communities, community members, and so on. Every member is free to engage or disengage from every community, and the community’s organizaional overhead is maintained via the community’s membership fees. All free content is supported by the community’s “outreach” interests.

[1] Of course, this view comes from taking the manipulation engine’s perspective. Users — if they are literate (and rational) may have different priorities (see also Socio BIZ Rule #1 [ ] )
[2] For more about such rather questionable “guidance”, see in particular “Herding Millennials” [ ]

By New Media Works

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