The Beast in the Machine

With the revelations that Cambridge Analytica have been harvesting our souls in the name of Brexit, Trump and all things social media the inevitable backlash waddles in the back door with cries of, ‘I never thought Facebook would do that to me!’. Across the land middle-class sensibilities and addresses have been given over to marketing, you have been duped, manipulated and fondled in ways you can never forget. The beast in the machine has revealed itself to you all and you have all swooned, only to awake to the maelstrom that is indignation.

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Let us pause for a moment, and consider who is to blame. The fact is, you are as culpable as those that harvested your dreams and desires. Each time you clicked an app to tell the world what children’s character you where or what star you look like the most, you all clicked that box that said, ‘I will offer up my friends emails and contact details to you so I can feel important on social media’, or words to that effect. To suddenly claim a sense of morality within the world of social media is akin to the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood apologising to Grandma after he ate her. Let us get something straight, it may be called social media but it has no heart, no soul, no understanding of you except from what you have told it and you have told it a lot. You have gone on a drunken rampage spilling your secrets, your loves, even your political leanings and fears. To think that companies have only just got wise to this shows a complete lack of understanding of marketing born out of the Cold War. Companies have been harvesting your desires and needs from the day you where born, it has been going on for centuries, millennia, as those who seek to be powerful, to be rich, to pay their bills and stop mob rule have gone, speech in hand, clipboard in hand, phone in hand, keyboard in hand to find out what will make you happy, and what you are scared of. It’s not always Mark Zuckerberg who is the face of it, it’s not always Vladimir Putin who is the face of it, many times the faces are people just like you, doing a job and understanding that all marketing, all advertising has one common denominator, fear. Fear is a powerful weapon, the underbelly of bread and circuses, and you and your ancestors have been manipulated through it for as long as there has been humans on this planet. For example, ‘Will someone think of the children!’, ‘What kind of future will we have if….?’ and my real favourite, ‘Do you want to be left in the stone age?’ (or similar marketing ploys). All advertising, all marketing, is sex and death, the two constant fears in our society (No? Remember being a teenager and worrying about losing it or worrying how you will lose it. Bet you never thought of death back then), something will always make you sexier, something will always prepare others for our deaths (even Michael Parkinson). Whilst we exist in a self-centred, navel gazing society (and yes, I am fully aware that blogging is the epitomy of this) then everyone, whoever they are, will learn your desires and fears, will pander to them, sell them and manipulate them in ways that are subtle, scary and deceitful. We are that kind of species. It doesn’t mean it is right. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t change but let’s face facts, you have blindly walked into it and agreed to give up information to do it, and now you are angry? There is the stable, there is the door, bolt it, the horse is gone. If you think honesty exists on the internet, or even in the real world, see what we have done to the planet, see what we do to each other everyday to manipulate and scare, how others do this to distract and how little, how very little you seek the truth because the truth is never a desire. So boycott social media, it will give your friends something to talk about behind your back.

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