Facebook’s Timeline Is Causing
Social Media ADD

Facebook’s Timeline Is Causing Social Media ADD
By Mark Weinstein

The Facebook Timeline epitomizes one of the fundamental issues plaguing social media today: too much advertising. On any given page, one third of the information you see is unsolicited marketing. Something feels wrong seeing news about the birth of a friend’s baby next to an ad for Red Robin. Babies and burgers make strange bed partners. With respect for the real challenges of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD), this distracting mingling of disparate messages is the latest logjam in the online world of marketing usurping respect of customers.

Social media marketers, coming from a long line of marketers, look at media through green-filtered glasses, the color of money. But social media advertising complicates matters more than its predecessors, by driving a wedge between you and your content. You want to watch a video? First you have to check out a promo telling you why State Farm is there. Want to read an article? Go ahead, after you click off the Nordstrom pop-up that just blanketed your content. Want to see what your friends are up to? No problem, if you can find them between the Expedia posts that pop up on your news feeds.

We are being inundated with irrelevant information we can’t control, that takes time away from what we want to be doing. In Facebook’s recent earnings call, COO Sheryl Sandberg admitted that the company’s overall growth is based on increasing the number of News Feed ads per user. That’s a great solution for them, not the user.

Facebook, Google+, and a host of other social media networks try to circumnavigate around this issue by catering ads to your personal interests. That of course requires mining your information, basically making it their business to know yours, the thought here being that to know you is to sell you.

I believe there’s a place for social media marketing, but that place should be controlled by the user. I call it self-targeted advertising. One example is at our new social media site called Sgrouples.com. Our patent-pending advertising philosophy protects your anonymity and skips the spying on you.  It is designed to be secondary to your social communications, and not in the way and in your face. It is all about your interest in the here and now. Because Sgrouples doesn’t track what its members do, you’re not forever labeled as that person who looked for a Furby in 2010 or a divorce lawyer in 2013. Your online personality profile remains free and clear of labels. It’s a win-win model for advertisers and consumers, which I believe is a respectful and highly effective marketing approach.

Mark Weinstein is Founder and CEO of Sgrouples.