Just for the Financially Irresponsible: Social Shopping

December 7, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

Amazon likes to make it as easy as possible for consumers to fork over their hard-earned cash on a whim. More steps between seeing a product and checking out means more time to reconsider a spontaneous purchase, after all. That is why the company has been working to integrate purchases into social media platforms. Payment-platform news site PYMNTS reports on the latest linkage in, “Amazon Extends Social Shopping Efforts with Snapchat Deal.” Amazon’s partnership with Meta had already granted it quick access to eyeballs and wallets at Facebook and Instagram. Now users of all three platforms will be able to link those social media accounts to their Amazon accounts. We are told:

“It’s a partnership that lets both companies play to their strengths: Amazon gets to help merchants find customers who might not have actively sought out their products. And Meta’s discovery-based model lets users receive targeted ads without searching for them. Amazon also has a deal with Pinterest, signed in April, designed to create more shoppable content by enhancing the platform’s offering of relevant products and brands. These partnerships are happening at a moment when social media has become a crucial tool for consumers to find new products.”

That is one way to put it. Here is another: The deals let Amazon take advantage of users’ cognitive haze: scrolling social media has been linked to information overload, shallow thinking, reduced attention span, and fragmented thoughts. A recipe for perfect victims. I mean, customers. We wonder what Meta is getting in exchange for handing them over?

Cynthia Murrell, December 7, 2023

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