Monday, April 25, 2011

Facebook, Twitter, Second Life, and the Dark Side of the Force

The world of social media and what Paul Levinson has deemed 'New New Media', is a vast expanse in cyberspace. Even if we cannot see it, it does not mean that it is not there. In this way people are interacting and emerging themselves in different cultures, mediums, and with different people from across the globe. Technologies such as Facebook allow users to stay connected and in touch with many different people. Twitter allows people to follow their favorite celebrities and friends and learn how they run their lives. Second Life is a virtual world where anyone can be, well, anyone they want to be.

All of these things come together to be a different 'world'. In many ways, a person can live their life in the world of cyberspace more so then in their 'actual' world. This and many other problems arise from what Levinson calls the 'Dark Side of New New Media'. Some topics he brings up which I think are particularly viable are cyber-bullying, gossiping, slander/libel, cyberstalking, spam, and general instances of deception.

Being a business marketing undergraduate, I have some experience with the world of marketplace deception. The first definition of marketing offered by the American Marketing Association (AMA), created in 1931 stated that marketing was the performance of business activities that direct the flow of goods and services from producer to consumer or user. Over the years this definition has been morphed into encompassing more than just the flow of goods and services. In 1985 the AMA adopted a new definition of marketing that identified it as the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.

Under this definition, marketing is seen as a potion of a business strategy and is a leading factor in determining when, where, what, and how a product will be created, distributed, and sold. The marketer has the means, resources, expertise, and responsibility to learn all that there is about their products because in marketplace deception, it can be argued that all deception is intentional. The marketer has an obligation to their consumers not to mislead in any way towards the consumption of a product. In this way I believe that the users of the internet must have some type of protection when it comes to these 'Dark Sides' of the New New Media world. The question becomes how would this be possible and how much regulation is too much regulation? It is and will be the main topic of contention when thinking about the future of New New Media.

1 comment:

  1. Deception, and astroturfing, is indeed a major issue, and goes against the ethic of transparency and honesty that is embraced by most individuals who work in new media and social media.