Today’s Topic: How Spam Effects Our Lives
Deriving its meaning from a Monty Python skit in 1970, spam has evolved to mean: irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the Internet, typically to a large number of users, for the purposes of advertising, phishing, spreading malware, etc. Yet, more and more we’re seeing an even further evolution of spam that people never would have thought would happen: spam posing as content.
What does that even mean? Spam posing as content? If spam is an unsolicited message sent out to people to advertise or phish on the internet, how could it possibly pose as actual content?
The answer is quite simple: we’re spamming each other, and most of us don’t even realize it’s happening, nor what’s really going on. Due to the fact that spam hasn’t really branched in its definition to include such things and is only every really considered to be about getting emails for enlargement pills, single women looking for love, or rich princes who need to send you money, it’s taken quite some time for people to get wise to the new spam game.
If you’re on Facebook, you might see a friend or two posting about a product or service they use and love that might actually be something that they themselves are selling. Some proudly talk about their ‘business’, and promote their products or services to friends and family in search of support. While most people feel supportive of friends and want to know about such things, technically by posting about a product or service on Facebook with the intent to get people to purchase said product or service, they’re actually spamming your Facebook feed.
Ads are already being displayed on Facebook – most people don’t want their any of their friend’s entire profile to become on big spam center where they create posts just to get you to buy something. If you need a few examples of how bad things have gotten, do a search for “MLM spam on Facebook” and see what interesting results pop up for you to read. There’s even a Reddit group dedicated to posting about in r/antiMLM.
Social media has opened a huge market for buyers and sellers, though it isn’t always in a good way. People can now disguise their marketing and spamming as personal posts. Even blogs can be written for the sole purpose of selling something to readers that they didn’t want, and might not even know about in the first place. Marketing should be upfront, honest, and displayed on a company page or website; not hidden in your personal blog or Facebook page.
Until the problem is addressed, many people will have to deal with seeing spam disguised as content on their social media platforms. Hopefully we can all get wise to the game and put an end to it before it gets out of control.