Episode 2 – The Social Media Dilemma – Not Another Digital Marketing Podcast

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Rafie Edruce:

Ladies and gentlemen, boys, and girls. Welcome to the second episode of Not Another Digital Marketing Podcast brought to you by First Page Digital – Singapore and Hong Kong.

Rafie Edruce:

For this week’s podcast, the topic is social media right now. Aaron we put some time aside to catch this Netflix documentary that has been, let us say it went viral a few weeks ago, but then again with the news cycle right now with the US election, it kind of got buried, but, you know, I think it’s still something that’s worth talking about The Social Dilemma.

Aaron Radcliffe:

You know, the virality of it, it was, everyone was talking about it for a few days and, you know, with the way that things are in the world, now, the news cycle is so fast that things just kind of come and go, you know, like that, but I’m still hearing people talking about this. And although that, you know, when it was really a driving force in conversation, it’s definitely quieted down a little bit. People are still talking about it. It’s definitely seemed to have a resounding effect on people’s awareness of social media and the dilemma that currently occurs because of it. So I don’t think we’re too late on the train. Yeah. I, I would, I don’t think

Rafie Edruce:

The social media will ever die at this point. So I think it’s relevant for us to talk about it no matter when we decided to really conversation having said that though, I mean you know, having watched it, I mean, we’ll go a little bit more in-depth you know, as we go along in this, in this episode, but like, you know, did you feel that there was like a bit of an agenda to it or, you know, was, was it play, was it playing it straight or was there a bit of an agenda to it? What do you think if, you know, if I have,

Aaron Radcliffe:

I have to say it definitely seemed watching the documentary, that there was an agenda that they’re pushing and this is typical for most documentaries, you know, they’re trying to prove a point. But especially, you know, more so with this documentary than I feel like with others because of the sort of dramatic flair that they added on top with the fictional sort of actors and the side stories and how doomsday in dystopian, everything sort of ended up being in these like fictional like storylines. So definitely seemed agenda-driven. Not that I argue with the agenda. I actually think they points out that people need to be talking about and that people need to be aware of. But I did feel like it was a little one side of the coin and they tried to talk about the other a little bit, but definitely a bit of an agenda. What do you think?

Rafie Edruce:

No, I mean, it set out to paint social media in a very terrifying light, and I think it’s succeeded in doing that to a large degree, we’ll go into the details later on you know, but I do feel that they could have talked about the positive influence that social media has had on our lives a little bit more. It just felt like it just felt incredibly lopsided. And this is a one of those, you know, there are fine on both people’s sides of the argument. Right. but it’s something along the lines of, you know, there, there, there could have been more to sort of talk about, you know, it’s not all doom and gloom at least give us a little bit of a real

Aaron Radcliffe:

Light, a bit more, right. Just give us some light at the end of the tunnel. And they touched upon it a few times. You know, there was a few comments made by some different people that are interviewing where they did try to say, Hey, this is all not bad, but a lot of it is. So there were some efforts, but it was definitely pushing a, a doom and gloom type agenda, which obviously there are undeniable aspects of that, you know, with social media in our current times. But I would’ve liked to have seen a little bit of, you know, a little bit more both sides.

Rafie Edruce:

All right. Yeah. I, I completely agree with you there let’s dig into it. Shall we say

Aaron Radcliffe:

So let’s dig in. I’m hungry.

Rafie Edruce:

So we opened with a guy named Triston, right? Who in the documentary labels him as Silicon Valley’s conscience? Right. And he attained this nickname because he crafted a presentation about ethical design while he was at Google. Right. And shared it with everybody. And apparently, the whole thing went viral, you know, and cause he was referencing ethical design with reference to his addiction to email. Right. And he loves emails so much. He’s always checking his emails, sending emails and I’m guilty as charged with that one. Yeah. I think we all are. And then, you know, of all the wonderful products that Google was putting out, he noticed that nobody was talking about how addictive email was right. And so he decided like, you know what, I need to address this. And he sends out a presentation talking about ethical design and, and the responsibility that people have that Google has to create products that aren’t this crazy addictive.

Rafie Edruce:

And it reminded me of Jerry McGuire in the movie, Jerry McGuire, who, you know, for those of you that aren’t familiar with Jerry Maguire, he’s a sports agent. And at some point he has an attack of conscience. He realizes that he treats his clients just like money. You know, he treats him like, they’re just banks, you know, that they’re giving him money and he doesn’t see them as human beings. And he writes a memo asking everybody to treat athletes like humans instead. And he, and the result is the same for the both of them. People pay attention to them for a short while. And then eventually they both get ostracized by their respective industries and, you know, come out of the entire experience as changed men, wanting to make their chosen industry much better. Right. So I thought that was an interesting parallel, you know?

Aaron Radcliffe:

Well, yeah, you mentioned that analogy. We were chatting about this last night and you mentioned the analogy to me and I really liked it now full disclaimer. I’ve actually never seen Jerry McGuire, but I’m very well, I’m very, I’m very well aware of Jerry McGuire, the storyline, Tom cruise, show me the money, you know? But yeah, I thought it was a really interesting analogy and they’re similar because in the same way that the product, whether it’s social media on one hand or fictional Jerry Maguire and him being a sports agent, you know, the product is all driven by money by capital. You know, hence since the line, the show me the money line and, you know, at the end of the day, the problem that we’re having with social media is that these companies are driven by profits. And sometimes what is good for human beings, isn’t always good for the bottom line of Facebook and their shareholders and trying to raise their company value on a quarter by quarter basis. So we have that contrast right there, but that’s a common thing with companies across the world, you know, like, you know, capitalism for its pros and its cons is driven by money and that, you know, creates competition, which creates better products. But the argument is that we’ve never seen a product that can affect civilization and culture on this scale. And that’s the difference in this is that this is so beyond anything else that we’ve experienced as a collective sort of culture and collective sort of just experience. And it’s a little scary,

Rafie Edruce:

It’s more than scary because it’s absolutely, gut-wrenchingly terrifying. You know, I don’t like horror movies, but I fell. I was watching one. Yes,

Aaron Radcliffe:

Well, I was stressed. I was stressed as hell after that I needed like a glass of wine and I just needed like to relax because that was a stressful experience.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. There’s one thing like, you know, cause when, when they were breaking it down, right. And you know, we know social media is addictive. Right. We know this because millions, billions of people are on it every single day. But when they broke it down as to why it’s so addictive is when it got really, really scary.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Yeah. Cause I’m very interesting too, because it was very insightful. I think that did a good job of sort of giving you an a good explanation of how these algorithms and the machine learning work, but yeah, go on. Yeah.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. Cause you know, I’ll just illustrate it with like a couple of examples that I remember from, from the documentary. You know, they talked about how every single aspect of social media is just one of many millions of tiny experiments that they’re, they’re doing on you every single day, every single second that you’re on social. Right. you know, two people who have the same, you know, political views, the same circle of friends, you know, even the same interests, right. We’ll have wildly Facebook feeds, right. Just to see who reacts better, who stays on the content more compared to, you know, like what we call AB testing, right. Just to see which form of content delivery gets that person to stay in social,

Aaron Radcliffe:

Of course. And as to where we do like a B test, you know, they’re doing a, B, C, D E F G is as far as the eye can see. And you know, they’re, they’re amplifying it in a way that has never been done before. And that’s, that’s the genius in this product. I mean, at the end of the day, the product is pretty incredible for what it does, what it can do. Those micro experiments that they’re doing on a, on a user by user, by user level to make their algorithms smarter is, is a Testament to the genius of the engineers who have created these programs. The problem is that obviously it’s, it’s, it’s being leveraged in the wrong way sometimes. Yeah.

Rafie Edruce:

And the thing is that as a result of those experiments, they, you know, they find out what you connect with and how you connect with others. Right. And this preys on our biological imperative, right. In our DNA to connect with other people, to, you know, to sort of form these bonds, right. And it’s this constant like drip feed of connection with others and whatnot that forms the basis for all of the social media addiction that we all experience and is. And it’s just playing with our, with our biology and, and it’s, and it’s, it’s scary.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Yeah, man, it, it, it definitely is. But I do want to take this, this, this opportunity. Cause I, I want to, I did want to say something in this episode and I’m going to take this opportunity and we’re going to call it and quick rant. Okay. And I just want to say that while it’s absolutely terrifying and there are 100% crucial problems with social media that we need to address. I don’t know. I think that it’s also important to see the other side of the coin with not just social media, but with technology in general, as to where, you know, while there is this undeniable doom and gloom, not arguing that there’s a lot of positives with this that, you know, you and I were talking about. And, you know, I think we also need to focus on some of these, you know, social media also gives people the ability to start a business for free, you know, like things like this such, such, such a concept was it was in, in, in describe, you know, you couldn’t even imagine that years past, you know, so, so the, the, you know, social media and the internet, and I’m just, and I know you were saying, you love the internet.

Aaron Radcliffe:

I love the internet. And I want a beautiful, weird open internet for the whole world to connect. And there is that element of it that social media has made so amazing that like a stay at home mom can start a business and use Facebook for free to market her business and to create a business and, and, and to, and to make sales and to generate sales like that is astonishing, you know? And so I just want to make sure that we do clarify that while there is this doom and gloom ness to the entirety, it’s like, there’s also great things as well. That’s all I just want to make. I just want to throw a little optimism to the podcast. Sure. That everyone heard my quick rant and rant is over.

Rafie Edruce:

No, that’s fine. I, I, I understand where you’re coming from. Yeah,

Aaron Radcliffe:

Yeah. We were talking about this last night and you, you completely agreed. Yeah. I’ll be a dude

Rafie Edruce:

Sarah about this, and you can be the, the, the angel of optimism in all of this, you know,

Aaron Radcliffe:

I should change my job title here from, from content due to, to angel of optimism. You got away with words, Rafi, I’m telling you, you’re, you’re a poet man.

Rafie Edruce:

You know, that’s, that’s what I try to be. Try,

Aaron Radcliffe:

Try Michigan.

Rafie Edruce:

Usually I usually can get my point across quite well, I think. Yeah. Maybe that’s why I suppose that’s why they hired me. So that’s, that’s all good.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Makes sense. Yeah. yeah, so there’s,

Rafie Edruce:

There’s just one note that I feel that we need to talk about because it’s something that was mentioned in the documentary and you know, playing on to that whole idea of like forming connections and whatnot. Right. And like you said, like people can start businesses up from basically zero, you know, and then put in a little bit of effort and all that. And he could reach thousands of people, you know, as long as they have a good product and a good message, that sort of stuff. Right. But then you know, in, in traditional like marketing terms, you know, you, if we go to say we go back far enough before, say the internet, we talk about, you know, you put a billboards, you put ads in newspapers and whatnot. You know, and, and the, the people that would then speak to you would be people that were interested in your product or your service.

Rafie Edruce:

Right. And more often than not, you know, it’s a, it’s a transactional conversation, right? Oh yeah. We’re having some technical issues here, Erin, my man, are you there? Hey, I’m here, man. Can you hand your back? Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Sorry. As I was saying, we were talking about yeah, traditional marketing, right? Like you know, traditional advertising where you put up billboards, you put ads in newspapers, put ads on radio or on TV, and then people that would actually make the effort to reach out and look for you would be very interested in either trying out your product or actually engage in your services. Right. It’d be a hot lead. Yeah. A hot lead. Right. So more often than not the conversation that would happen would have a, you know, a high degree of interest in whatever it is that you’re selling already.

Rafie Edruce:

Right. The thing is that nowadays with social media, you know, you could put a product out there that, you know, that’s that piece of a very niche market, right. And might not necessarily have the widest appeal or, you know, that sort of thing. And there’s nothing stopping, you know, some snotty nosed Cheeto, dust, dust, fingered, a tyrant on the internet going, Oh, you know, this product is so late and blah, blah, blah. And then they create a meme out of it. And then, you know, next thing you know, your business is being ridiculed and your product is, you know, is being is being maimed for all the wrong reasons. Right. And that reminded me of something that was said in the documentary where they said, we might have evolved to have higher brain functions, but have we evolved to absorb the fallout from knowing what 10,000 people think of us all at the same time?

Aaron Radcliffe:

Quote. Yeah, definitely. One of the quotes from the documentary that stood out to me, because it does make you think, because we’re evolving at such an exponential rates with our technological capabilities that, you know, it took us like a thousand years to conquer fire, you know? And then in like 60 years, we invented the airplane and then went to the moon, like the difference of the technological advancement. You can’t even compare the two. And it’s really interesting because we are, we are biologically Cree, you know, we, we have, let me start that over evolution has sort of created us, you know, to this, the biological creatures that we currently are. And yeah. Are we prepared for that? Are we biologically evolved to handle what 10,000, 20,000, even a hundred people think of us? Are we, you know, are we evolved at all to even understand how to handle the way that these things impact us emotionally? It’s a great quote. And it’s really thought provoking.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. And it’s like, you know, I mean, okay I’ll play the angel of optimism for this, for this particular segment. Oh, we’re switching roles, role places for just for a while, you know? Cause you know, the thing is that like, you know, yeah, 10,000 people might say something terrible about your product or whatever and whatnot. Right. Or say something terrible about you as the business owner, because you know, people are people and yeah, they’ll, they’ll, they’ll say things like this, but on the flip side, what happens if 10,000 people don’t like you, but a hundred thousand or a million do a million people say nice things about you, you know, and whatnot. And you know, it’s. Yeah. And, and you would think then, you know, is the trade-off worth it right. In the sense that yeah, I have 10,000 people seeing crap about me, but then I have a million Morrissey now, now you’re doing great. You’re doing fine. You know what I mean? It’s like, you know, like there’s good and bad to it as always right.

Aaron Radcliffe:

There absolutely is. That was a good little, you make a good angel of optimism

Rafie Edruce:

Like that. Yeah. I do. I do. I know you can’t see my halo, but yeah. It’s there it’s, it’s hidden under the horns. Yeah. It’s the hair that’s like hiding everything today, so yeah. But like, yeah. So going on from that, right. Another thing that they touched on in the documentary was AI. Okay. And you know, we, in marketing, we use, we use AI a lot. We use machine learning, we use algorithms a lot. Right. I mean, that, that helps us you know, that helps us figure out you know, like audiences that helps us, you know, target you know, target our campaigns a little bit better. You know, we want to reach people that would, would have a positive experience with whatever it is that we’re marketing. Right. of course, yeah. And there was a, there was a, there was another line that was really great in, in the documentary that talked about how everyone talks about the doom that will happen if AI, you know, when, if AI takes over the world, but then they fail to realize that AI already runs the world. Right. And this hit home to me because it was like, okay, hang on a minute. You know what, I’m what I’m setting up my campaigns. And I’m doing my market research. I’m, you know, going into a portal, typing in my parameters, my search parameters and the algorithm and the AI feeds me this information. And I act on it. AI already runs our lives. Doesn’t it

Aaron Radcliffe:

In so many ways. And that’s, what’s so interesting about the documentary is that sort of highlights that and it makes it, you might, you know, because we grew up watching movies like the matrix and Terminator and thinking like, Oh, that’s, that’s what that’s, what’s going to happen when the machines really take over. But it’s actually, it’s proven to be a little bit more subtle. Now the machines haven’t quite taken over, I’m not trying to, you know, blow this be too dramatic. But in the essence of our dependence on them you know, whether it’s, whether it’s an artificial intelligence or some sort of algorithm for a social media platform or some sort of algorithm for like city planning, I mean, algorithms are everywhere. They are, we are interacting with them on a day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute basis.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And this documentary just sort of made you realize how we are actually engaging with these. Like let’s just use Facebook or social media as an example. And as we engage with them more and more, the algorithms increasingly grow smarter and smarter and more and more capable of knowing exactly what they want, the best type of content to put in front of you that can then lead to you being on the platform for more time, which then equals more ad revenue for the company. It’s the circle of life and the AI gets smarter and smarter. So, it is interesting because yeah, it is kind of already here in a lot of ways in terms of our dependence on these algorithms and this artificial intelligence.

Rafie Edruce:

It’s sick. It’s funny that you mentioned the matrix. Okay. Because they referenced the matrix quite a lot in the documentary. They mentioned it, I think at least three or four times right now, this whole thing about AI, you know, controlling our lives, you know, and already running the world reminds me of an interaction between Neo and counselor Hammond in the second movie, right. In the matrix reloaded where they’re down in the basement of the last human city of Xyrem Zion. Right. And they’re looking at all these machines that are, you know, purifying the water, purifying the air, you know, recycling their waste product, all that stuff. And they have this very interesting conversation about, you know you know, who controls, who do the machines control us or do we control the machines? And Neo says, you know, no, we control the machines. We could shut them down at any time the machines, you know, they, they, they, they live and die.

Rafie Edruce:

According to what we want to watch, to which point then councillor Hammond says, yes, we could shut down the machines at any time. But if we do that, the city dies. Everybody in the city dies. If we make that decision to shut down the machines and Neo is left very uncomfortable by that conversation. And as was I at the time when he goes, am I right now? Yeah, because this came out in 2002, this movie, you know, and it’s quite prescient when you think about it, like the themes that it was discussing back then you know, and then we see how it applies now. And we think, okay, if, if we were to remove all the algorithms, they say, we got rid of social media tomorrow. Right. We got rid of all of the algorithms you got rid of all of the AI that helps us, you know, with our, with our campaigns and whatnot. Right. What did you think would happen?

Aaron Radcliffe:

Oh, wow. That is a really extreme hypothetical question. I think that, I mean, we’re definitely at a point in society where I think that we could live without AI, you know, if it were to disappear overnight, hypothetically, I think that we would be able to, it would be okay. But I think that as our dependency increases over time and not just from a social media platform, just in terms of like everyday lives and, and, and things like, like I said, things like city planning are increasingly reliant on artificial intelligence. There’s so many different industries. Everything’s, you know, you hear about, you know, San Francisco and like, you know, the Valley, and everyone’s always talking about, you know, proprietary algorithms, you know, everybody wants some proprietary algorithm for their software, which increases its intelligence over time. So I guess to answer your question, I think that we’d be, we’d find a way to move on like now, but like five, 10, 15 years in the future our dependence is just increasing on these algorithms by the day. Yeah.

Rafie Edruce:

I’m trying to figure out you know, like what would be good if we kept it and we somehow managed to get rid of all the bad boots. Right. But then, you know, that brings me on to something else that I recall where one of the former Google employees that was interviewed by the documentary said that we, you know, we live in this very, very crazy time where it’s a simultaneous utopia and dystopia at the same time, we’ve talked about all the bad stuff. You know, the, the addiction, the, you know, the, the AI, you know, how our lives are slowly being run more and more by algorithms, you know, how we seem to be losing control of that. But at the same time, you know, if I needed to go from point a to point B from one end of Singapore together would just go out on the curb. I pull out my phone, I call the car, it’s there in five minutes. And that is it a freaking miracle. Yeah. And you couldn’t have done that, like, you know, 10, 15 years ago, right. That was not possible. Right?

Aaron Radcliffe:

No. And even like more specifically towards our industry, you know, like the ability for us to do advertising on Facebook and create lookalike audiences. So we’re ensuring that the people that we’re marketing for and our clients are getting their products directly in front of people that are extremely interested in their product. I mean, that is so powerful, you know, and it’s also interesting on the consumer side, because less and less than my being dealt ads, that I’m not interested in and more and more on being dealt ads and products that I am interested in, which as a consumer, I kind of like, you know, like I don’t, I don’t, you know, there’s commercials that I just didn’t care about. It seemed like it was a waste of money on me, but I’m getting a lot of, you know, these days we’re getting more and more used to direct sort of ads being placed in front of us.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And then I just rather see ads, the products that I’m interested in versus ads, the products that I’m not interested, that’s just my opinion. I’m not sure, but so it’s one of the other positive ends. So on the marketing side, it has given us incredible tools to be able to target people. And, and that’s, that’s the key word right there is targeting whether it’s Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Tik TOK ads, Google ads, the ability to sort of target an audience has been, has been great for our industry and great for the return on investment from our clients.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. And, you know, I think for people as well in that sort of, you know, scenario where they’re being served, you know, content and products and services that they’re actually interested in, you know, for me, it’s like it sort of, I think this happened, you know, when Facebook first changed their, their first major algorithm change, sometime in 2016, 2017 you know, leading into 2018 when they talked about what w you know, the, the way that they were changing, how to serve ads, for example, right. And they would prioritize, you know, people’s conversations and whatnot, you know, that meant that the ad space, you know, that was being served to people was definitely less, but that at the same time, you know, that ad space was then reserved for stuff that was going to be far more relevant to you as a, as a user, in that case rather than being served, something that was completely utterly irrelevant.

Rafie Edruce:

Right. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And, and, you know, and as a result of that you know, the, the connections and that people form with the brands that they like, you know, are, you know, they form more organically in that sense. Like, you know, you get served with content from the brand that you like and you interact with them and it humanizes them in a way. And that, and that, you know, that of course, obviously for our industry, that’s great, you know, cause that, that means that they’re far more likely to become not just followers of our brand, but actual customers. Absolutely. Yeah. And, and, and to me, that’s, that’s a great thing because, you know, one of the most tiring things about early age, well, I wouldn’t say early more like, you know, the.com boom in the two thousands, mid two thousands as well, right up until, you know, Facebook and all of these networks came out in, in the late two thousands was, it was so exhausting surfing the internet and not from the, not just from a perspective of you know, the actual physical time.

Rafie Edruce:

It took to go from one website to another because Hey, dial up you know, or like early broadband, but more than the fact that your web experience was greatly diminished by the amount of pop-up ads, you had to deal with the amount of like, you know, ads that would appear on the pages that you were surfing through, you know, and how these things, you know, just generally made your surfing experience even more exhausting than it already was because of the slowness of the speed. Right. And then you have social media with its clean lines, you know, and it’s you know, AB testing in terms of what shade of blue you might like you know, all these things. And you’re served with content that you actually like, and you’re served with, you know, products you might actually be interested in versus the skeptic and approach that happened before.

Rafie Edruce:

So I think that’s, that’s definitely a good thing, not just for the industry, but for consumers as a whole. And that’s what social media has given us. Absolutely. Yeah. But speaking of which, right, and we’re talking about profit here, and we’re going to, I’m going to pivot this, we’re going to segue, it’s going to be a lovely segue. We talked about a little bit early on about how these, you know, obviously all of these social media networks are for-profit right. You know, and, and it, and it’s in their interest to make sure that people stay on the platform and, you know, do their, their shares, their comments, their retweets, whatever. Right. So an interesting statistic that came out from you know, the documentary social dilemma was that bad news travels six times faster than the truth on Twitter. Right. And you know, and they, the documentary makes the claim, or at least someone in documentary makes the claim that the system is biased towards lies because the truth is far more boring and does not make as much money.

Rafie Edruce:

Right. And you know, I find that, you know, and this then leads on to why conspiracy theories and, and, you know, and, and people who, you know, like things like Q Anon have such sway over people’s because people think that everything that’s being served to them is a lie. That’s their automatic default position. And so they go looking for the truth, even if the truth itself isn’t necessarily well factual in any way, shape or form. Right. like how do you feel about that? Like, is, is this why conspiracy theories in this day and age are like, doing so much more, so much better than they were before

Aaron Radcliffe:

It has to be right? Because they even mentioned this in the documentary where they were talking about, you know, if you click on a flat earth video on YouTube, the likelihood of you getting served a pizza gate video is, is amplified by it by a thousand. You know, so with getting content recommendations that are specified towards your taste, there’s the great thing, you know, because if I’m on, if I’m on YouTube and I, you know, I follow different political shows or, you know, whatever it might be, and I’m getting served content that’s similar and I can find new content. That’s interesting. And I, the algorithm is great for that. But unfortunately, when it is with other types of content that might not be factually true, or that is conspiracy theorist, ESC, or anything in between now, it just puts them down the rabbit hole. And in the documentary, they mentioned this, it starts with the flat earth, and then it goes into a pizza gate.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And then all of a sudden, you know, you think that the world’s run by aliens or something, you know, I mean, whatever it might be like, but it’s definitely not helping the cause at all. And this is the problem that we face now is we’re in the age of disinformation where there’s so much content. And I just listened to this podcast the other day about synthetic media, like deep facing that’s about to happen. Like we’re about five, 10 years away from that. That’s going to be even freaking crazier. But anyway, we’re in this content saturation and we don’t know what’s real and what’s not real. And then it gets even crazier too because you’re just being fed by these platforms. The things that you’re interested in, the things that you want to hear, and this are what think is creating even a wider political polarization as to where if you are on team blue or you’re on team red from like us perspective.

Aaron Radcliffe:

You’re, let’s say you’re on team blue and you’re just reading, you know, Democrat type content. And they’re just going to keep feeding that to you and feeding that to you. If you can, that’s you, the same thing on the other side of the Republican content, and it’s just kind of verifying your own beliefs within you and in your, just living with normal confirmation bias. Thank you. There is, there is me, there are my angel awards right there. And it’s just this confirmation bias constantly, but, but on a scale that has been never really seen before, because you think that the content that is coming to you on your feeds is just what’s happening in the world. But actually what it is, is a very sophisticated algorithmic process that is feeding you something that they know you’re just, you gotta click on and you gotta read and then rabbit hole, just start tumbling down it. Yeah.

Rafie Edruce:

The, the, the N the Google, the former Google engineer that actually created the recommendation algorithm appeared on the documentary and he disavowed it and not to say he disavowed it. He just said, yeah, I know this is it’s, you know, like, yeah, I did that. And I’m not proud of it, essentially. Paraphrasing what he said. Yeah. When you know, I, yes, I, I essentially, he’s saying I created the rabbit hole, you know?

Aaron Radcliffe:

Yeah. It seemed to be a recurring theme with a lot of these engineers. A lot of them seem to have doubt and regret about the monster that they’ve created because they feel like they’re responsible and now it’s, it’s out of the box and there’s, there’s that genie’s out of the bottle and there’s no way to put it back in.

Rafie Edruce:

Exactly. I mean, tech doesn’t set out to be evil. I don’t think it does. Right. you know, it, it doesn’t, but then it’s the law of unintended consequences, right. It’s like, yeah. You know you could you know, this is a scary scenario. But like, you know, you could get somebody to deliver food right. To your doorstep. Right. but then how many companies now have information about where exactly you live. Right. Absolutely. And if for some, you know, for some reason, if someone is in that company is unethical, you know, and is a, is, is a criminal or a criminal waiting to happen gets hold of your address, looks at your purchase history and concludes that you are a person worth robbing. Right. And then goes ahead and robs your house. Do you know what I mean? It is like, you know, that is the unintended consequence. Yes. I get food delivered right. To my doorstep. But at the same time, if someone decides to misuse that information in that company, they’re going to find my house really easily and they’re going to be able to break in and then, and they’ll know when I’m not at home because they’ll see, Oh, I only order food for dinner, so I’m not home.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Oh, of course. Yeah. we’re, we’re giving up a lot of our privacy and our personal data for these, these, these entertainment platforms. And Hey, I’m just as guilty of it as anybody else.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. And, and, and the thing is that, like, you know, the social design, I think w you know, when they conclude it, they say, you know, a few of the talking heads said that, you know, we can’t frame this as a problem that can be solved by the technology that created the problem, or the technologists that created that problem. Right. And they call for more regulation you know and more stringent laws over digital privacy. Right. And they draw a parallel between you know, the kind of regulations put in place on advertising Saturday morning TV versus what we have now. Right. where Saturday morning cartoons, you couldn’t advertise like alcohol, you couldn’t advertise cigarettes, you know, back before even cigarettes were, you know banned from, for advertising. Like Saturday morning only certain kinds of ads were allowed and they were regulated.

Rafie Edruce:

And the messaging was always like, you know going over multiple times to make sure that it didn’t flop the regulations. Right. But today, you know, we have a scenario where, you know, if dad, you know, wants to look for, you know, the the best value whiskey for his upcoming birthday does a search right on Google. And then after that, you know you know, 12-year-old son opens up a website because of how the algorithm works. When you opened it up a website, he’s going to then see ads for alcohol appearing on the skyscrapers on each side, you know,

Aaron Radcliffe:

Like you said, unintended negative consequences. Yeah.

Rafie Edruce:

And like, people don’t set out for this to happen. Like nobody wants to, you know, create this scenario, but then again, the law of unintended consequences and they, you know, we don’t have any laws about this. I think about, you know, really making sure that the ads that we intend for adults actually stay only serve to adults. Right. so yeah, I think I do agree with them that we do need more regulation. Like plenty of the lawmakers in countries all over the world are of a certain age group, certain demographic who might not be necessarily in touch with these things. So they are incapable of creating legislation, you know, and the right regulatory framework in order for us to, you know, stop this from happening. But I feel, you know, I’m agreeing in agreement with them that we need to have like younger people involved in, in, in, in policy-making in the legislature, you know, in order to actually move you know, these laws forward. Because if we,

Aaron Radcliffe:

Do you remember, did you see the famous clip of the Facebook hearings with Congress and the States where Mark Zuckerberg had to explain to a Congressman what a cookie was? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So case in point.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. And, and, and, you know, people who think that the internet is Facebook, you know, that’s there, when you say internet that it’s Facebook, right. Or when you say, you know, when you say email, you actually, you mean just Gmail, Google meal. Right. you know, and when you think, you know, all these things like these, you know, when you think smartphone, you just think iPhone, you don’t think of anything else, you know, it’s like, Oh, do you have a smartphone? Well, I have an iPhone, you know, it’s like, hang on. You know, like, so we’re, we’re at this point where people, you know, these people are making policies and laws, right. That is honestly out of touch with reality. And because of that, you know, there’s no, you know, a framework for, for us to discern what the truth is, you know, from, you know, from sources like social media. And if we can’t agree on what’s true, we’re toast,

Aaron Radcliffe:

That’s the hardest part. Yeah. And that was actually a line from the documentary. Wasn’t it? Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That’s a nice little nice little end note right there,

Rafie Edruce:

Angel of words, and he’s back. But yeah, but I guess, you know, I mean, I, we, we’ve talked about a lot of doing glue. Right. But you know what, let’s just spend a little bit of time to just say, what is awesome about social media? Well, let’s just, let’s just lay it all out there. I know we had like little sprinkles of it throughout our chat about the documentary, but let’s, let’s, let’s put it out there and like, be very clear so that people don’t think that this is all doom and gloom.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Sure, man. I mean, you know, like I said, in my little rants earlier, it was, you know, that there’s so many great things about the internet and so many great things about social media and here at first page where we’re working with clients and we’re growing brands and we’re creating an unbelievable, like conversions and sales because of our ability to use these sophisticated targeting platforms to find the right audiences. And that’s the great thing is like, you gotta, you gotta find your tribe when you’re, when you’re creating a product and these tools allow us to find your tribe. And if your product’s awesome, like it’s, you know, it’s gonna, it should work out. And that’s a, you know, that’s what we’re doing here at first page. And it’s just really exciting to see that. And, you know, that’s one great thing about social media and then the ability to create a business with zero funding, the ability to, you know, start a business from the ground up and just allow, you know, you know, it, it, it’s free.

Aaron Radcliffe:

It’s absolutely free to use these platforms. So, you know, it’s absolutely amazing. And then just, you know, the the convenience and the entertainment process, I love Reddit, you know, I read, it probably sucks in a few, too many hours of my life per week, but it just entertains the living hell out of me. So there is that aspect as well, where these out, you know, Tik TOK is blown up. And I think it’s because their algorithm is freaking amazing. Like if you use Tik TOK and it, it all the days, and it understands what sort of content you want, man, it’s just, there’s great content on there. So as a content creator, you know, as we’re both content creators, we love content. And, you know, these, these platforms have allowed content to get like give it’s time in the light that I think that it deserves. And now content is air content, like runs the world in so many ways, you know, and I love that. I love, I love a world of content. Content is so much fun and it’s so much fun to be part of and to create and especially for marketing campaigns. So those are, those are some of the benefits I would highlight of social media. How about you?

Rafie Edruce:

I think for me, it’s you know, cause I’m a very, okay. I mean, like I have social anxiety, right. Chronic shyness. Okay. Which, which usually manifests itself in, you know group settings and all that. So the, what social media has done for me is that it’s allowed me to communicate more people in more places all over the world, you know, with a level of, of, you know, with a level of comfort in terms of like, you know, it doesn’t necessarily trigger my social anxiety or my shyness. Right. That’s my personal take on it. Cause like, you know, I could have conversations with people, you know, stateside people in the UK, people, in people in like South Africa, India, you know, I have friends in all of these places, all of whom I met through social media, either through a shared interest you know, in like say pop culture, Star Wars, Star Trek, that kind of stuff, or, you know, people I’ve met on Reddit, you know, you know, that, that sort of stuff.

Rafie Edruce:

And it’s just amazing, you know, to be able to be in that sort of situation. Cause like I would think that someone like me, you know, previously would have had massive issues you know, trying to get to know so many people from so many different diverse backgrounds, if I had to deal with the, you know, the social anxiety in a person. Right. Whereas here it is like mitigated, it is sort of, you know, it is, it is, there is less pressure you know, in the communication you know, and that, that for me is, and I am not the only one, I think that is happening on a global scale there, plenty of people who would traditionally be labelled as introverts, right. And might have led super sheltered lives or, you know, not shelter lives, that’s the wrong word, probably, you know, lives of isolation, right. Where they wouldn’t have necessarily you know, come across you know, these diverse groups of people that might’ve shared interests with them. Right. and, and now they find, as you said, if they found their tribe, they found their community and it’s all online. And so on social media, I think that is an absolutely beautiful thing to experience.

Aaron Radcliffe:

And it’s a beautiful thing to be a part of. The internet is connecting the world and I love that, you know, that part’s amazing. So we just got to come to a point where we can keep you know, keep the progress going and keep the internet beautiful and try and figure out ways to kind of fix the problems that are happening. The unintended negative consequences. Yes.

Rafie Edruce:

Said no, like I think we did touch upon this last night we were having a chat. Right. And we were talking about you know, obviously, a lot of this stuff is social media can be perceived as being insidious and whatnot. Right. And you know, downright terrifying, but what can we do to be ethical as marketers, you know, in the, in the age of social media. Right. And I think you said, you said something that resonated with me it’s you know, we must commit to truth and integrity. Right. Did I get that right?

Aaron Radcliffe:

Yeah. I mean, yeah, we, more or less like, you know, if we’re combating disinformation, you know, if that’s the, if that’s the con the enemy right now in the, in the world and just in our culture, then we, as marketers have to take a pledge to always pursue truth with our content to ensure that, you know, we’re not using political occurrences too much to our advantage. And if we are, you know, using that to sort of leverage our audience, that we know that the information that we’re publishing is coming from good sources and that it’s honest information mean. I think that as marketers, we have this responsibility for sure. And then with integrity, that’s just sort of marketing one Oh one, you know, like brands that are spammy and they just have that lack of integrity. I don’t think to stand the test of time. So really truth and integrity existed before these social media platforms. Did I just think that they’re amplifying their importance now more than ever, and we as marketers and anybody who owns a business and is promoting a business, I think could benefit them to just always remember that?

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. I mean, I’m sure you’ve encountered them as well. Those sorts of ads on the Facebook right. Where it’s just, you know, stuff that you, you know, that you would be interested in, but he comes from a super dodgy looking brand you know, like messaged t-shirts, for example, you know, the cute ones that have like little funny messages on them and whatnot. Right. Yeah. And like, you know, you come across these brands who are clearly, you know, not on the level, you know, these companies that are not on the level of, you know, that have some form of like false advertising, they say like, Oh, Hey, you know, this t-shirt is only gonna cost you like $5 you click through. And apparently the $5 is for like the baby size, you know you know, like a fur baby, that’s like a year old. And if you want, yeah. We’re having some issues with it

Aaron Radcliffe:

And then shipping and handling and extra 26 and then yeah. That $5 t-shirt, ain’t really $5.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. And then, and then you find out that the, you know, the baby size is $5. Shipping is like $25. You want the adult t-shirt, it’s $25 on top of the $25. And you’re like, man, come on. You know, just, you know, it’s like, you have, you know, like whoever comes up with these campaigns, like they are your, to know that you have access to an unprecedented number of people that has never happened before in the history of marketing. Right. And you have a responsibility to, to be ethical in terms of the product and the messaging that you’re pushing out there. Right. Cause you’re reaching more people than ever. That means your responsibility to create you know, truthful messages with integrity is bigger than ever as well. And, you know, that’s something that, you know, I think we, as a, as an industry, you know, you know, I mean, you and I are in agreement about this.

Rafie Edruce:

Right. But maybe you know, not everybody might not see that way. They’re just concerned with getting the message out and like getting as many conversions or sales as possible, forgetting about the possible human impact of those marketing decisions. Right. you know, so I think that’s something, you know, just to, you know, elucidate further about your, about this you know, the importance of integrity when it comes to social media marketing. So yeah. A hundred per cent, God, wow. We’ve actually gone way over than the time that I thought we would have spent on this, but my cat, we can just chat

Aaron Radcliffe:

Two of us, you know? And, and neither of us mentioned, by the way, we are wearing the same colour shirts. So we’re just on similar vibes today, you know, we’re, we’re on blue vibes, so you can’t blame us.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah, exactly. But you know, maybe we should make it a thing. Like every episode we should just make sure we colour coordinate, you know, I vote,

Aaron Radcliffe:

I vote yes. For this let us, let us give it a shot. Let’s coordinate our wardrobes easier said than done, but let’s give it a shot. All right.

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah, let’s do that. Okay. Next week, you know what I was thinking of the exact same thing I have, I have a salmon pink shirt.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Do you? I don’t, I, I, man, I just, I, now I put myself in a situation, I guess that I’m going to H and M this weekend. Okay.

Rafie Edruce:

I’m going to go look for a hot pink one. I think I do. Cause I, like, I know it doesn’t, you know, it’s not obvious, but you know, for, as for a socially anxious person, who’s also chronically shy. I also have a massive weakness for loud colours.

Aaron Radcliffe:

That’s quite the conundrum Rafi. I am just, I’m just scraping the surface to figure. Yeah.

Rafie Edruce:

Because like, okay, my, when I play football or I play indoor soccer, right. My boots are never like plain black or plain white. They’re like hot pink. They’re like lime, lime green. They’re like fluorescent yellow, you know, and maybe all three at the same time. Yeah. That’s just how I roll. I mean, and, and, you know, for someone to get, who’s like chronically shy and like, you know, and, and, and socially anxious and whatnot. I used to cosplay and I loved the attention. So I’m a weird guy.

Aaron Radcliffe:

Yeah. Yeah. Dude, you’re, you’re, you’re a mystery.

Rafie Edruce:

I am, I am. And we can actually, you know we can uncover more of that mystery in a future episode. I promise. Right. I’ll make it an AME. I’ll make it an AME would just ask me anything you want. And if for those of you that are listening, if you would like to know more about my ridiculousness, please feel free to drop into the comments. You know, with your questions,

Aaron Radcliffe:

I’ll be, I’ll be having a few comments in my own. Okay.

Rafie Edruce:

For sure. Right. So, let us tie this up you know, and, and conclude, I thought it would be fun for us to talk about our personal social media, survival tips. You know, I think, you know, things that we do to sort of, yes. You know, we, we, we live by the algorithm as marketers. We live by the algorithm, we swear by it. You know, but what can, what do you do to sort of like mitigate the algorithm, the AI a little bit in your life?

Aaron Radcliffe:

I feel a little uncomfortable giving people like specific advice for how to best live their lives. But one thing that I can say that has worked for me is turning off all notifications for social media platforms. I think that I have social Facebook messenger notifications on, which is nice just in case somebody needs to get in contact with me directly and quickly. Aside from that, I actually don’t even, I don’t even have Facebook on my phone anymore. I deleted the Facebook app, but I still have a Facebook account that I’ll check on desktop every now and then. And I like Instagram and Reddit a lot. And I’ve turned off all notifications for both of those apps. And it has, it’s just been great. You don’t need it. You will check the platform regardless. Or at least I check the platform, regardless. Things will still be there. They’ll still be awesome content. You know, if you’ve got a message, you’ll get to it eventually. For me, turning off was an enormous decision that I made in my life. That’s really impacted my mental health positively.

Rafie Edruce:

You know, cause I, I worked in social media, you know, as a social media manager for six, seven years and I had to have them on because of work. Right. but then you realize that you know, at some point, it’s just, it’s not about the work anymore. Like the lines between personal life and work-life just got blurred so much that I was having like zero separation between the two. So I’m slowly, slowly getting to that point where I’m turning off like notifications one by one. I’m not going cold Turkey. I’m just slowly, you know, like removing, you know, for, for various apps here or there it’s progress right there though, man. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I, I will admit I’m socially addicted. I, you know, the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is I check Facebook. Like that’s the first thing that I do every single morning.

Aaron Radcliffe:

First thing I’m up. And one thing I do is I put my phone on aeroplane mode when I go to sleep though. And then I wake up in the middle of the night. I’m not tempted to just, just take a quick little peek.

Rafie Edruce:

Oh, that’s a good tip. You don’t want me to be, I’ll try that. Yeah. That’ll be the next stage. There’ll be the, there you go. Yeah. And the other thing that I do is that if I’m going to search for content, if I’m looking for content, I actively search for it rather than letting the algorithm feed me stuff, like say on YouTube or on Facebook videos. Like if I know what I want to go and watch, or if I have a topic in mind, then I immediately go look for it. And I don’t look at the recommendations because you know it’s one of the few things that I’ve discovered that you can do to sort of make your feed actually more diverse because you’re not just going to be served targeted content all the time. Right. yeah. It’s great because you know how power back, right?

Rafie Edruce:

Yeah. So, you know, for example, if you’re in YouTube, like, you know in my case it’s like maybe eight times out of 10, you know, four times out of five, when I’m on YouTube, I won’t click on the recommended video. I’ll just go look exactly what I want to look for. Or if I have content creators that I follow, I know exactly when they’ve updated something, then I’ll go and look for their videos. Right. you know, that one time out of five, I will then click on a recommended video that might not be out of my usual circle of content creators that I follow for the simple reason that, you know, because the YouTube has a more general look at my, my, my, my browsing habits. I get served a far more diverse feed. Cause I, I have like a tech YouTuber and then I’ll have formula one, I’ll have soccer, I’ll have, you know, K-pop, I’ll have, you know, I’ll have BTS you know, all of these things, you know, and then I’ll have world war two history I’ll have like engineering documentary. So my feed is super diverse, right. It’s not just like one thing or the other. So for anyone that wants to make sure that their feed is actually diverse, don’t actually click the fee too often. If that makes sense. Yeah. So that’s my tip for taking back control from the algorithm. Cool. Okay. Perfect.

Rafie Edruce:

We’ll see you next time. Thank you very much. Thanks a lot. Peace out.