I’m actually really surprised at the outrage surrounding the “emotion experiment” that Facebook did. I can go into detail about it all, but Wired did a great job over here. Or try this, this or this for even more fun. In a nut shell, they wanted to see if your mood could become sad by reading other sad posts. Um, yeah, that would probably do it. Fundamentally, however, people are crying out about manipulation.
Why I find it so strange is that the entire online marketing world is one big manipulation. We are being tested and experimented with all over the place. I recently posted about retargeting. That practice seemed to appear out of nowhere and seems just as invasive and manipulative to me as someone serving up feeds to try to change my mood.
Spend a day shadowing an email marketing department. They are collecting data about you: what you click on, what you fill out in forms, what pages interest you, and then serving up specific email content that is more applicable to you. Is that a manipulation or are they tapping in to technology to do a better job serving up content? They’re using data YOU gave them or actions YOU took without you really saying, “sure, use this to make my experience better.”
All you have to do is watch the ads that are being served up on your Facebook feed to realize that manipulation is all around us. I’m guessing the only way to incubate ourselves from this reality, dare I say manipulation, is to go back to flip phones that just make calls and disconnect completely from the internet. I don’t think that is going to happen.
What say you?Photo credit: 90692443@N05