Vanity Marketing a.k.a #10YearsChallenge

Social Media – Getting to KNOW you since…well more than a decade ago.

The latest #FOMO craze on social media has got everyone sharing their photos  and marveling at each other’s youthful progression after 10 years.

Yet, beneath the feel good factor lies a sneaky agenda that creates the perfect circumstance for convenient data mining. – Crafty, isn’t it?

The smart scheme now has access to analyze enough facial compositions across a variety of ethnic, gender and age groups. The smartest bit though, lies more in the clever manipulation of the masses, letting everyone assume that it was really “freewill”, that we all  shared  data for absolutely nostalgic reasons as opposed to what was merely an evil-genius corporate ambition.

Isn’t it rather ironic that whenever there is an attempt to control our digital “voice”, all hell breaks loose. Mask the same attempt behind a “fun” and “harmless” activity with the promise of  ‘likes’ and comments that could potentially  feed into our egos ……. aaaaand we cave!

I meaaaan, if you look like this, why wouldn’t you wanna share it with the world???

It does seem inconsequential to share a throwback in the form of images, doesn’t it? What could be so wrong about travelling back in time to see and appreciate how we’ve all blossomed and grown in all the possible ways? In a way, the 10 year challenge is all about self-empowerment. Great justification right?!…

The sad truth, however, is that we have generously contributed to an ongoing gathering of personal data,  not just for facial recognition, but also for marketers to make a conclusion on our behavioral patterns subconsciously influencing our commercial decisions and actions. Think of how many surveys you might have participated in over the past year that could lend clues about your personal inclinations. Even the selections you have made in your Flipboard categories, and Netflix watch list, can be turned into “insights” that serve capitalist interests.

The Guardian wrote of the #10YearChallenge as a ‘surveillance nightmare’,

We have become increasingly aware of just how much power tech companies wield. Discomfort has risen over the extent to which our every move, our every facial feature, is being tracked, analysed and monetised. This has spurred calls to hold tech companies to account. That’s important, but we must also hold ourselves to account. The fact that so many people piled into the #10YearChallenge without thinking about the privacy issues is slightly depressing. We are sleepwalking into a surveillance nightmare, handing enormous companies intimate information for likes and shares. So, avoid the #10YearChallenge”

Okay, that sounds a tad harsh…

The fact remains that we all  exist online, even if we don’t own a social media account.

There are images and trails of information about each and every one of us readily available on the World Wide Web. A friend, sister, brother, acquaintance, or stranger in the mall could have snapped a photograph and you were only in the background but with a single click of the “share” button ,  someone could have recognised you, and open up clues to reveal your name, what you do for a living, where you live and so much more.

It would be a big mistake to dismiss the amount of power and control that we actually possess over our personal data, how we distribute and allow others to perceive it.

We can choose to be careful and diligent with the information we share. We can, respect each other’s privacy and be mindful of the content we circulate in cyberspace.

Stuff that has put back the sparks in my faith for humanity is in the innovative ways some humans have chosen to do good with the #10YearsChallenge. Here are some of my favorites.

Climate Change

Not a an accurate decade difference, but seems like a larger deal to shout about.

Mesut Özil, football player for Arsenal put  focus on climate change under the trending hashtag, and effectively drew attention to an issue that has stark consequences for the planet.

“The only #10YearChallenge we should care about ??? #M1Ö”

Plastic pollution

WWF-Philippines attempted to educate netizens on the extent of plastic pollution over a 10 year gap. They not only stressed the problem but also shared how we could all be part of the solutions.

#2008vs2018 and it’s almost unchanged! ? #HowHardDidAgingHitYou#10YearChallenge

It can take hundreds of years for a single piece of plastic to decompose. Plastic pollution is a problem we all need to address and you can be part of the solution. Join the #AyokoNgPlastik movement, today:fb.com/groups/AyokoNgPlastik

Image may contain: drink

BBC News explains these, and others in further, here.

Jay Nair

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Social Media – Getting to KNOW you since…well more than a decade ago. The latest #FOMO craze on social media has got everyone sharing their photos  and marveling at each other’s youthful progression after 10 years. Yet, beneath the feel good factor lies a sneaky agenda that creates the perfect […]