Society is a master that tame its followers and banishes the outcasts. Our contemporary social networks with their influence and spread are now graduated to a virtual-society (I will address them interchangeably in the following posts). The grandmasters of these networks vigorously lure users who do not pay them instead costs dearly to support. Join the journey with the first post in the series.
Why would these social networks lure users who pay nothing and use their network, resources, and technology for free? The answer we will discover is simple, most of the users cannot really afford to pay and doesn’t need the services they really offer. The shiny, responsive web-pages that we live on are actually a farm and not the shop.
Social networks are probably the most impactful governance, maintenance, and execution of people we have ever seen in human history. Even the past masters of polity will be amazed by its scale and reach. There are occasional operational hiccups but they are often declared as collaterals and provide sales mileage as case studies. Before you judge, do keep in mind, most of these virtual-societies are toddlers conceived in last half-decade. Even, the well established among them are still in their teenage years. They have thrived by expanding and innovating invariably while weeding out or absorbing their competition.
Over the following week, I will explore the internal operations of these virtual-societies, their motivations, their customers and tools of the trade. I consider it to be a perfect juncture in my career to retrospect on social networks as — a) I’ve worked in development and designing of these farms; b) I’ve worked as the tactical unit for user on-boarding and retention at farm headquarters; c) I’ve designed and implemented psychological nudges for mining information and steering attention at multiple farms; d) I’ve worked at showrooms where real customers shops for their demographic user; e) I can maintain a broad ‘witness perspective’ after distancing myself as an active participant in last years.
The working of virtual-society will gradually become transparent and answers will become obvious as we discover them. We will start by mapping the food-chain and then move to observe the inter-operation between these societies, their inner structure, the vast arsenal of psychological tools, their business model and the macro look from the cabins of ‘the lord of the societies’.
Before we walk inside and reach the point of no return thereby voiding plausible deniability of our actions:
- Social networks are a business; not a social service.
- The sales pitches you have heard as a farmworker are mostly propaganda.
- The creators are now excessively aware of the consequences of their actions.
- The world has more stoic than you realize.
- Every master thinks they are doing a favour to slaves.
After this series, you may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know. So, choose if you really want to stay and see how deep the rabbit hole goes?