Mara Einstein, “a (wise) old time marketer,” has written a well-researched book on the manipulation of online sharing in social media that was truly never meant to create human bonds but provide data about potential consumers. Deeply concerning, did you know, you may or may not get a job or a mortgage because of the creditworthiness of your friends on online social sites?
Einstein does not bash this industry as much as pluck out the differences between Native Advertising (is it real news?) and Content Marketing (want some excitement?). She appreciates the commercials of the Super Bowl Games and the intelligence of making the consumer the hero and not the product. No fan of “in your face” advertising, she gives numerous examples of media events that turned out to be well staged marketing schemes – Ellen at the Oscars, an organization's implanted ad that looked like a top event (it never happened at all) and almost brought down a respected magazine, and the “irrelevant” Twitter post of a TV star who “happened” to be wearing high-end headphones that ultimately received over 500,000,000 individual impressions - for headphones! She quotes many of the obfuscating CEO’s who are “just trying to do right by society.”
Enjoyable, hopeful, and detailed, this book frames our need to share, by word of mouth, online, and through paid endorsements because we want to create and keep social bonds, be helpful, and manage how others see us. It is a peek into our souls and needs, and how commerce is using that information.