Perceptions and Pitfall of Social Media Manipulation

For the past 13 weeks, we have been trying to manipulate you.

Now before you get worried or annoyed let me put this into perspective. We aren’t pushing fake news or getting you to believe something that you otherwise might not. Nor are we trying to sell you anything or push any type of social agenda.


What we HAVE been doing is trying to get you to visit and read different types of articles on social media designed to both grab your attention and keep you reading.


So, who are we? And what have we been posting? We are a group of MBA students who are focused on learning about marking on social media platforms. And as far as our posts we have been writing all kinds of content centered around the impacts of social media on marketing and business, in general, trying to gain people attention. Articles like social media reviews and original video content exploring social media were all some of the ways we reached out.


Along the way, we have learned some significant lessons.


First the pitfalls.

One of our most potent lessons was that quality content that grabs people’s attention and keeps it IS HARD TO WRITE!!!


There are millions of topics out there but making an article approachable, interesting and relevant to folks beyond yourself isn’t as easy as it sounds. Chances are others have already put pen to paper covering your topic and the social media world encourages people to surf between items quickly, always looking for that next great topic.


That brings up another pitfall we encountered. People searching social media tend to be fickle! What might interest them one minute is old news two minutes later. Trying to write your content so that it is current while making sure it has longevity is a significant challenge.


How about Perceptions? What did we learn during these experiments?

One key perception we had was that when marketing ideas to the social media world the more you diversify the better.


We stuck to platforms that we were comfortable for the most part. We had group members with followings on Facebook and Instagram that naturally gravitated to those media outlets to drive collaboration. We also had folks that had used LinkedIn and built up networks of contacts over the years.

Had we to do it again we would dig into some of the other vibrant social communities out there. Sites like Reddit, for example, have all kind of more focused forums especially suited to discussions with folks with similar interests.


We also learned a lot by breaking down how different articles worked in terms of statistics like Bounce Rate and Average Time on Page. This shot shows some examples with varying degrees of success in different categories.


So just because you wrote an article with a crazy title that got lots of folks to click on your original post doesn’t mean people are going to slog through your poorly written content. Hopefully, if you’ve reached this point in my article you’ve enjoyed the read!


Overall we have learned that social media is a vibrant and powerful source of sharing information with other people but getting them to read your ideas isn’t as easy as it might seem. While it might seem tempting to just start throwing up posts as a new company we also found that some careful strategizing and planning your approach will go a long way to helping your brand gather support.


And finally:












Social Media: Are We Living in the Twilight Zone?

Many of us remember the Twilight Zone as offering a glimpse into a society much like our own, but wherein something eerie casts a shadow over the seemingly pleasant facade of society.



Naturally, fans of the series were ecstatic when British television series announced it would be releasing a similar anthology series entitled Black Mirror 



The third season plunged right in with their debut episode “Nose Dive.” “Nose Dive,” tells the story of a young woman named Lacie living in a society very much like our own where individuals rate every interaction they have with one another on a five-star system simply by pointing it at them. One’s cumulative score is used to determine where you may live, what jobs you may have, and what transportation you have access to.



After viewing this episode I was struck by the realization that to a lesser extent we are already living in a society fueled by ratings and limited interactions. Have we fully entered the Twilight Zone? No, but we may be farther down the path than we realize.



In the wake of the United States Presidental election, there was a clamoring on Facebook of people unfriending those with dissenting political views. When those with contradictory views are removed you are left with a small contained bubble of individuals who all share the same beliefs and values. Individuals also self-select their communities based on the content they prefer to see and the content they don’t.


When there is no differentiation of opinions, and no questioning of the information being presented the result is an overwhelmingly strong subconscious desire to conform. What is created is a bubble of confirmation bias which is then fueled by the social media platform. Similarly to the tradition of the media deciding which information to convey and at what time, Facebook also decides which content each individual sees and when. Facebook perpetuates the confirmation bias through the use of targeted marketing based on the networks of like-minded individuals in a person’s profile.



Social media has captured immeasurable audience interest from users to non-users alike since the earliest sites were launched. In recent years a new Twilight Zone-esque trend has been rising, the trend of the pretty girl who makes money by posting pictures on Instagram.



Once upon a time, the majority of product and brand ambassadors were varying levels of celebrity. Post-Twilight Zone, all one needs in order to become an ambassador is a sizeable number of Instagram followers and the ability to take flattering and or sexy photos with said products.



The general logic behind these campaigns is simple to follow. How do you get your product a wider or more targetted audience? Give your product to a few people with sizeable Instagram followers and ask them to review your product. In an age where the new cool thing is to be authentic, brands recognize that an “average” girl may be able to better influence her peers than say, Selena Gomez.


On the surface, this logic is straightforward and seems like a reasonable avenue to increased sales, but what are the underlying implications?  In the new age of Instagram ambassadors, brands are relying on the fact that consumers are drawn to the authenticity of the ambassador, their popularity, and the idea that with enough work someday they could be in their shoes.



The paradox here is that brands are hinging their marketing plans on the authenticity of a platform which by societal design only showcases the rosy aspects of an “authentic” life. With everyone online and the ability to view anyone’s profile, there is a heightened desire to only put forth what and how you want the world to see you. With this level of ingenuity, how can any interactions on such a platform be judged as authentic?



In the digital age of social media, we have created a society where individuals are only part of like-minded groups, information is tailored to the individual based on what they want to see, and our “authentic” lives are nothing more than shadows behind popularity filters and the idea of a “perfect” life. When taken in this context, one must ask, are we living in the Twilight Zone already?


The Smokey Eye and the Scientist: How Snapchat Torpedoed Themselves This International Women’s Day

When most people picture Snapchat they picture teenage girls with too much time, taking too many selfies with a deer face filter, i.e. your basic white bitch.

Snapchat filters have become something of a legend as each new holiday and pop culture event approaches, Snapchat is continually challenged to create more creative filters.

This International Women’s Day Snapchat rolled out three new filters, I’ll just leave these here and you tell me what the problem is.

Wow, homegirl in the Marie Curie has a pretty fly smokey eye. Girl got skills! Let’s look at another one.

Oh wow, they all have great smokey eyes!

Snapchat caused a debate on Twitter as to why exactly the Marie Curie filter had a smoky eye and false lashes.

So readers what do you think? Are we #HereForMadamCuriesSmokyEye or are we #WhatTheHellSnapchat

Why Businesses Can’t Survive Without Social Media — a Review in Memes

In his article ‘Why Businesses Can’t Survive Without Social Media’ Ryan Holmes makes three major assertions about the necessity of social media in relation to generating revenue and relationships.

  1. All business should be on some form of social media platform The author is correct when he asserts that all businesses should go on some form of social media platform. It was already a trend in 2015 and it is a trend that is still spreading around the world and the possibilities are endless. Social media is an open and flexible world with constant innovations.

2.  Interactions First Channels Second

Interactions first, channels second (IFCS) is a value that often gets overlooked. Set first your strategy, target your client, know your publications and what kind of reactions you want to provoke. After this, you should select a platform which fits within your strategy.

3. Companies are often wrongly hesitant to join social media

Companies are not often willing to join these social media platforms. Excuses range from it takes too much time, we’d have to be on every platform, there’s no benefit and many more. Moreover, in the past managers or CEOs didn’t see the causal effect of social media and were looking for the wrong numbers. They were expecting to see an increase in turnover or sales. As we have learned, there were analyzing the wrong figures. Social media affects other aspects of the customer’s experience and opinion before the purchasing decision. Lastly, the author points out the fact that going on social media is not easy, it is changing all the time and you have to be aware of all the adaptations.

For the full article follow:

The Top 5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Applying to Business School

1. What is my cost going to be? 

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Tuition- like buying a new car or house – is going to be expensive. Expensive, because you are not only paying financially, but with your time. Each individual’s situation will be unique in circumstance, and you should consider more than financial costs before you intend to apply.

At the same time, it is important to mention that you should not allow your own financial situation to determine the opportunities available for you. A lot of business schools offer scholarships for attendance based on academic performance, which can bring the costs down to zero. Some schools even offer accellerated dual degree programs, where you can multiple degrees with less time spent in school, paying less tuition over time.

2. What am I passionate about? 

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The best way to determine if the decision of applying for business school is right for you, is to first write down your goals. Follow these three easy steps:

Step 1: On a blank piece of paper, write down 10 things you want to do or be doing in the next two years.

Step 2: Then write down 5 things you want to do or be doing in the next 5 years.

Step 3: Look at your goals carefully and discern if a business degree will better help you achieve all of the things you wrote down in the short term and long term.

If applying for business school aligns with your goals then great! You should begin to look at schools to apply for.

3. Am I competitive? 

Business school is notorious for being competitive, I mean it is just business as usual- right? However, competition is not simply going head to head with everyone in your class. Competition requires careful preparation and teamwork. In Business School, do not expect a free ride, you will have to create and collaborate with all sorts of people.

Spoiler Alert: you will not like everyone you have to work with in business school, but that doesn’t mean you are excused from delivering a finished product. Part of the learning experience from going to business school, is facing new challenges, and more importantly overcoming those challenges in whatever form they take.


4. Where do I want to live? 

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Where you choose to get an MBA greatly influences where you may live. The reason for this is because business school are networked. There are numerous opportunities for both the extrovert and the introvert alike, and in taking classes full of experiential learning, you may meet potential employers or discover new passions.

I always say that there are two ways to learn by doing:

  1. You do something, and you like it. Do it more.
  2. You do something, and you hate it. Do it less.


5. How will I pay for School? 

Now we come the BIG question. I said it at the start of this listicle, and I will say it again: Tuition is expensive. If you think business school is the right path for you, then plan, budget, and do whatever it takes to get what you want. Fill out the FAFSA, apply to scholarships, talk with the schools you are considering, and find out about every possible opportunity to fund your education. In business school, you essentially learn how to identify and solve problems, so think of this step as a warmup to carving a path for your success.


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