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I'm a commodity - get me out of here!

posted 31 May 2011, 06:59 by Jane Vigus
Despite the fact that I've spent a large part of my working life in advertising and marketing - I've never really seen myself as a commodity with its own unique brand. My business yes - my copywriting services are a commodity that can be bought and sold, advertised and publicised. But that surely doesn't apply to me as an individual - as just a member of joe public?

Recently I have been forced to think again and the conclusion I've come to is that if you (as an individual) have a facebook page, a twitter account, a blog or any kind of online presence at all, then you are a commodity in the business of brand promotion. 

The problem is that there's no one out there who wants to buy the commodity of you (unless you're looking for a job or are in that kind of business!) - so you're not selling yourself through social media to make money. You're probably doing to to attract new friends, retain brand loyalty from existing chums or raise awareness of issues that are important to your brand identity. Which is all well and good but in your quest to promote your own 'brand' through social media  you can be certain that you are attracting all kinds of attention from the many companies that are using social media to try and get their hands on your money. And by promoting your commodity (yourself)  online you've  given them just the information they need to stalk you, find out what makes you tick and sell you their commodities to improve your commodity!

The internet has turned us all into self-promoting fools, commodities at the prey of the marketeers, to be targeted, cajoled to click through on the right links and pay the right price to reach their promised land of a new and improved brand. - one with whiter teeth, a slimmer figure, a cooler camera, lower bills, more minutes, funkier decor, chicer clothes, a bigger house, a faster car, greener energy.

Social networking has become the hunting ground of commercial brands big and small. Businesses are queuing up to be your online friend hoping that one day - soon - you will cement that friendship with a purchase and sail off into an enduring sunset with them.

It could be said that the social networks came first and exploitation of those networks by businesses is simply jumping on the bandwagon. But it's a lucrative bandwagon and no business worth their salt would be without a social network prescence. So I'm off to set up a Facebook page and twitter account for my copywriting business. Rest assured I won't be stalking you, I'm after the businesses who are stalking you so I can help them do it more effectively!
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