Topic #8

The use of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter have been on the rise for a few years. Many people have flocked to these types of websites to take advantage of how they work, allowing millions of users to connect and socialize with each other without leaving the comfort of their own home. These websites have become so popular in fact that they may have contributed to a decline in other “traditional” web traffic like shopping sites and email outlets like yahoo. As a result other companies are finding it harder to reach out to consumers to promote brand recognition and capture their interest in the products they have to offer. This has lead companies to change their idea of advertising.

One reason why Facebook and Twitter have become so popular is the fact that they are free to use. They also pride themselves on privacy, they allow users to make their homepage as private or open as they wish. Clicking on someone’s name and all you see is a blank page, no picture and just a name seems like that person’s identity is pretty closed off to people they don’t with to interact with. In the world of advertising that is not exactly the case, the advertisements people see on their Facebook homepages are there for a reason. Companies are able to access user information through Facebook in order to place ads that are relevant to that particular user. For example, I have written on my personal Facebook page that I enjoy snowboarding. For the past month I have had the same advertisement on my page promoting a pair of snowboarding goggles. I admit that I have clicked on the ad because I like them and was looking for a website that sells them but the ad leads to some weird website that wants me to sign up for something. Pointless advertising.

I feel like in a way companies are taking advantage of users through media websites like Facebook because when we sign up for the service we are told that everything is free, which it is but also there has been hype over privacy on the internet. I don’t particularly remember being told that whatever information I write or post on my wall will be sent to ad agencies that sell services that apply to me. I’ve learned my lesson on Facebook ads, they always go to websites that want your personal information and money.