Corporations and Social Media

Chloe Vander Bee, Junior Writer

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Competition has always existed, and humans are always evolving to meet the demands of their environment. Whether it among the most affluent progenies on the planet, or among the plants and animals that they live alongside, it is a constant struggle. But somehow, this primal instinct has taken to the very top of society, where the top 1% struggle to remain a world power. These sly men and women exploit the public for their own personal gain. From here, it has migrated to the most quickly growing industry of all time — social media. 

Corporations in recent years have taken to social media to influence the masses to feed the scourge of capitalism, more specifically the flow of income to these companies that could care less about their consumer’s wellbeing. This is how the rich get richer; by manipulating anyone they can — including the consumer, so that they, the elite, can continue to play God. Society is their catalyst. 

According to the 24 Hour secretary, “Mainstream media coverage significantly affects [social media] visibility.”

 This implies that the more an organization draws attention to their social media and interacts with consumers, the more they will be seen not as an organization that hoards funds and resources from the public, but instead as one of their victims.

 This is called parasocial interaction, a theory created by Donald Horton. Parasocial interaction is the psychological connection that an audience makes with performers in the media, such as celebrities, talk show hosts, and fictional characters. Marketing specialists go to school to learn to manipulate different kinds of consumers, both the rich and the poor. 

A particularly modern instance of this type of marketing is found in the fast food franchise. One of these franchises, Wendy’s, is adopting a personality to engage with its consumers. Most notably, Wendy’s uses Twitter not only to gain traction amongst the users of Twitter, but also to compete with other fast food chains (such as Chick-fil-A and Whataburger) that have adopted the same marketing strategy to pull unsuspecting customers in — and it’s working.

In 2009, when Wendy’s journey on Twitter first began, the corporation’s annual net profit set at a modest $5.1 million in income. Last year, according to Statista, Wendy’s annual income had risen to an astonishing $460.1 million, an 8922% increase — this percentage is likely linked to the company’s growing presence on the web.

Another instance of big business taking to social media to attract customers is one of Wendy’s number one competitors, Arby’s. In a Tweet from January 11, 2018, Arby’s appealed to a highly specific portion of the internet — fandometrics. A fandom is described as the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture, and fandometrics is the study of this. The tweet featured a drawing made of a character from a Japanese anime, My Hero Academia. The response was monumental and contributed to a wide positive response from people who were in a state of blissful ignorance that their friendly neighborhood fast food chain was just manipulating them.

But fast food chains aren’t the only corporations adopting a personality to draw in fans. This is occurring in every realm- by virtually every company- seeking to feed their net worth and appease the system. By increasing their presence online, companies are directly contributing to an increase in sales by generating positive thoughts when customers are exposed to their logo, company name or other recognizable propaganda. 

The most important thing to remember is that these conglomerates are not friends. They are manipulative, cunning, and slippery. They will stop at nothing to get what they want. Next time you are ready to reply to a status made by the marketing specialist of a multi-billion dollar company, implore yourself to think twice.