I am a social media user. I would say that once upon a time I was a very active one, but during the last couple of years I definitely started to use it less and less. These days I mainly use it because social media is the place where I follow what is happening in my friends lives and because we share posts from this blog and on our company pages.
So, why am I, and a lot of other people, using Facebook and the other social media that are the distributors and controllers of the information in this world less?
More and more I realize how much sensitive information they gather and how little they care about data privacy, how generally unethical most of the social media is.
We have all got so used to it being the way to do or find things, that now if we want to find a product, see the news, to get involved in discussions it is enough just to have one single FB account. Marketing, e-commerce, chats, friends lives are all there in the same platform. On one hand it is comfortable, but on the other hand you need (and often you are forced) to have an account to find the information you are looking for, or to sign up for or use some unrelated service.
Before, way back in the mists of time, we had physical shops, physical advertising, radio, TV, leaflets. Well maybe the last ones usually ended up in the rubbish, but that’s not the point. Later we started to look online for information, websites, directories, search engines and then finally social media appeared, and then they began to take over.
We have this belief that doing something online is cleaner and zero-waste maybe, but that isn’t necessarily true. The internet is a great energy consumer and still a very big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. But let’s imagine, just for now, that the websites are hosted green, so it is not a problem. And again I still have another issue.
So many ‘sustainable’ businesses, bigger or smaller (usually smaller) use social media as their main advertising platform, and maybe you can’t blame them for this, after all it is the main place where the people – potential customers, are ‘hanging out’. But if we consider the idea of being sustainable and ethical as well then we get to see the problems with this.
I don’t want to use any social media accounts or, in fact, to create any accounts at all when buying online. I don’t want to receive any extra emails to my inbox, I don’t want to be on lists and recorded and tracked for targeted marketing or whatever other purposes. Some of the companies, claim to be truly ethical and sustainable but still this happens, why don’t most of them consider some simple things like:
- Having their own website and hosting it green.
- Making clear and visible policies and not collecting any data except what is really necessary, and after the order is processed deleting it.
- Not sharing client email addresses with any third-parties.
- Not sending extra unnecessary emails – all data transfer is using energy.
- Don’t make the customer create an account, let them order and pay and leave.
- Have clear and transparent sustainability information.
And the last big one:
- Don’t rely on, force people to login with, or give out information only on social media networks! It is not ethical (unless they use ethical ones, but they are few, not easy or friendly, and have a tiny audience), it is unprofessional, and if you are going to talk about sustainability, the environment, and ethics, it just doesn’t make sense.
So, did I fall out of ‘like’ with social media?
Maybe, but that doesn’t matter because I am forced to be a part of it, in order to do many other things that I do want to do and services that I need to use.