If you’re one of the people who tuned in to last night’s Black Mirror – White Christmas special on Channel 4 then chances are you woke up this morning feeling rather dismayed about the way the world might be heading. As per usual in the Charlie Brooker-written show, the focus was on technological improvements that wind up having a negative impact on the way society functions, whilst making it easier to do the ‘important things’, like take photographs with your digital eyes and immediately share online via a tiny web-connected device linked to your cranium.
Divided into three intertwined stories, perhaps the most alarming and depressing involved cookies placed just under the skin of wealthy people, which were left there for a week or two, during which time data relating to personality, emotions, likes, dislikes, dreams and fears was copied onto the device. Once removed, this would became a carbon copy of the person, albeit without the luxury of a body. The idea being for the miniature coded version of the human to make the real person’s life easier- for example ensuring toast is prepared at a set time in the morning, and arranging diary appointments in a logical order.
An underlying message here being that time starved folk will take ever-more extreme steps to make their lives much easier, a fact that has already been proved by the rise of online shopping. We’d prefer to give the high street a wide berth in favour of digital retailers we can browse mid-commute, even if that means half-empty town centres, and ignoring the boycott currently targeting the biggest of the lot- Amazon, the platform used by 61% of shoppers to browse for festive gifts- due to its treatment of staff in distribution centres, who are forced to work at an alarming rate in order to save us time.
Of course we have all known about Amazon’s dominance in the online retail marketplace for years, but what’s perhaps more surprising is that Facebook now claims a staggering 23% of shoppers’ eyes in the run up to Christmas, if 2014 is much to go by. The social network has been used extensively for research into ideal gifts, and a key reason for this appears to be the recommendations- search results based on what has been shared by your connections on the platform. After all, what’s better than buying something someone you know and trust has pointed out? Furthermore, these results also show customer feedback from those you don’t know, adding to our ability to ascertain whether something suits the purpose and offers value for money.
It’s further evidence to support the notion that allocating some of the overall budget to social media marketing is becoming ever-more important, not least during the key buying periods, for which Christmas is the biggest of the lot. So, did you use Facebook to market products or services in December? And, if so, what were your experiences? As per usual, the handy comments form below is the perfect place to leave any responses, sharing insights with peers in the industry and allowing us all to learn a little something in the process.