b'SMART OPERATIONSWhen it Comes to Social Media, its OK to Be AntisocialYes, Facebook and the other social media outlets may be capable of sendingyou customers, but at what price and in what environment? If a drug dealerPeterapproached you and said, Yes, my main business is selling heroin, but I canPelland also send you customers, would you do business with that person? I doubtthat many of us would enter into that sort of deal with the devil.Let me be the first to admit that I am guilty. what was wrong with that? Actually, there was that would be built upon ever-increasing ex- idly accelerating downward spiral.It was not that long ago that I was presenting plenty wrong with it, prior to a Federal Trade ploitations of personal privacy. Let us be clear that Facebook advertising isseminars and writing how social media adver- Commission(FTC) ruling in 1969 that prohib- On a personal level, I stopped using Face- not a bargain. In the early days, businessestisingFacebookin particularwas the great- ited childrens show hosts from directly pro- book in its entirety in early September 2020. I would pay to advertise on the platform in orderest new development since the Internet itself. moting commercial products.actually experienced what I would describe as to get users to like their page and then seeAs recently as four years ago, I was offering sug- In the beginning, Facebook (originally called a 7- to 10-day period of withdrawal, missing the their posts. Soon afterward, advertisers neededgestions on how to beat Facebook at its own Facemash) seemed to represent little more than ability to stay in daily touch with countless to pay Facebook so that even people who hadgame, using guerilla marketing techniques on an awkward attempt by nerdy Harvard under- friends both old and new, but my sense of already liked their page could actually seethe platform. Sure, we all recognized that the grads with a lack of actual social skills to meet newly discovered freedom afterward was ab- their posts. Think about it. This means that youintrusions into our personal privacy were a bit young women at neighboring colleges. When solutely refreshing. Over the course of the 10 are paying Facebook so you can reach your ex-creepy, but the ability to reach targeted mar- you think about it, even that original concept years or so when I remained active on the plat- isting customers. Why would anybody pay toketing prospects seemed to be worth the com- (an extension of the sexist freshman photo form, I would often joke about how Facebook do that when there are countless alternatepromise. After all, when I was a child watching books that had been sold on college campuses would coincidentally show me advertising means of reaching your existing customer basetelevisioninthe1950s,CaptainKangaroo for decades) violated the personal privacy of the that was related to one of my recent posts or at a far lesser cost? In the campground indus-would seamlessly segue from visiting with young women whose photos were being used. comments. When I, along with millions of other try, some of the same people who willinglyBunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose to selling Kel- From that start, it did not take long for Facebook people, started using ad blockers, Facebook pour money into Facebook advertising ques-loggs Rice Krispies and Schwinn Bicycles, and to reinvent itself into a money-making machine started showing paid posts in lieu of paid ad- tion the rationale for offering Good Samandvertising. These paid posts represent advertis- similar discounts that they feel cut into thining content that is being disguised as editorial profit margins. I would rather offer a customercomment, even when that advertising is origi- incentive than to take that same money andnating with foreign governments or other un- pour it into Facebooks coffers.scrupulous characters. The only way this can Yes, Facebook and the other social mediahappen is by Facebooks algorithms monitoring outlets may be capable of sending you cus-every word that you type, just as craftily as the tomers, but at what price and in what environ-National Security Agency(NSA) monitors the ment? If a drug dealer approached you andtelephone conversations of known terrorists. said, Yes, my main business is selling heroin,What made me see the light was when I re- but I can also send you customers, would youalized that Facebooks business model was de- do business with that person? I doubt thatsigned to amass huge profits by intentionally many of us would enter into that sort of dealsowing discord among its subscribers. Regard- with the devil.less of where a person falls within an increas- The Federal Trade Commission (yes, theingly polarized political spectrum, Facebook same people who ruled that Captain Kangaroowill show that person paid content that pours should not be hawking breakfast cereal) is cur-fuel on the fire, while demonizing those with rently proposing the breakup of Facebook, aopposing viewpoints. By being fed a one-sided process that is long overdue. Facebook hasdiet that is often based upon disinformation, steadily grownwith the acquisition of Insta-subscribers opinions and beliefs are reinforced gram, WhatsAppand related platformsandin a manner that continually enhances the po- a breakup of its monopoly would be the firstlarization. It should not require an insurrection- such action since the breakup of AT&T fourist attack upon the U.S. Capitol for reasonable decades ago.people to understand that this represents a rap- Many of my peers in the advertising industrywill disagree with me, and I welcome that de-bate. I remember the days when tobacco prod-ucts were extensively advertised on television, apractice that contributed to countless deaths.Today, I believe that many other types of adver-tising should be banned because they eithermislead consumers or actually prey upon vul-nerable segments of our population, typicallythe elderly. These include the advertising of pre-scription pharmaceuticals, advertising by class-actionattorneys(thinkmesothelioma),advertising directed at children (think aboutSaturday mornings), and advertising directed atsenior citizens (think about Medicare supple-ments and the aforementioned pharmaceuti-cals). In the meantime, it is your decision as asmall business owner to decide whether or notto continue financing a business model that youmay agree is inherently wrong.PeterPellandistheCEOof Pelland Advertising, a company thathe founded in 1980 that has beenserving the family camping industryfor nearly 40 years. His company spe-cializes in building fully responsivewebsites, along with producing a fullrangeoffour-colorprocessprint advertising, for clients from coast tocoast.LearnmoreaboutPelland Advertising at https://pelland.com/or see their ad in this issue. WCM8 -March 2021 Woodalls Campground Management'