This morning, Nick Carr writes about how the brand-invasion on MySpace is the flipside of the techno-utopian idea that the Internet put individuals on even footing with big corporations in the media landscape. Now it’s becoming clear that that’s a two way street. When it’s social media, big corporations and their family brands are on nearly even footing with individuals for “social” participation.
This isn’t really anything new. Corporations have this little thing called sales reps that they use to entangle themselves into the social context of their customers (pay attention to how drug reps operate next time you are in a doctors waiting room). What’s new is that social media lowers the cost of this sort of shmoozing to the point where it’s getting practical to use the approach to sell consumer soft goods.
Coincidentally, this morning Robert Young on GigaOM writes about the opportunities for social media oriented approaches to advertising. Clearly that frontier is already under heavy exploration.
I hate to think where this is going. Imagine awful cyborg sales reps leaving you comments on your myspace or facebook profiles that are personalized with details that have been mined from other content on your profile in order to push emotional buttons as they push some boy band or overpriced automobile.