Has the Internet changed the way consumers think and behave? What are the benefits?
BUSN410 Week 7 Discussion
Has the Internet changed the way consumers think and behave? What are the benefits? What are the pitfalls? Support your position with credible references.
The internet has definitely provided exponential value to our world and society. The internet has given people from all walks of life the ability to connect, discover, communicate, and innovate among other things. In marketing and business, it has led to the development of superior business analytics and the ability to reach audiences from anywhere in the world. Industries such as e-commerce have even surpassed $4.2 trillion thanks to the popularization of online shopping further bolstering economies from all corners of the globe (Coppolla, 2022). These benefits nearly place the internet in the same importance as necessities such as food, shelter, and water.
It's important to look at the social ramifications, however. The internet has changed social behavior in many ways primarily through the use of social media platforms. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are incredibly powerful tools that amass the user bases of millions of people within them. Social media like any other media does not, however, operate for free. These giants grow their power by gaining partnerships. These partnerships often come in the form of corporate dollars which dramatically influences the content users may be exposed to. This partnership can also come in the form of political donations which sees certain bias in the information that is more routinely pushed into users' feeds. This information can significantly alter the mass audiences exposed, especially in the areas of politics, social issues, and product advertising. Other areas such as fraud, bullying, harassment, and misinformation will continue to grow as we push into an increased reliance on the internet. Many adversary nations have even locked on to this concept and there is now a serious contention that the next (and even current conflicts) will be fought in the cyber atmosphere (Bushwick, 2022).
For critical thinkers and decision-makers, I contend that:
We must remain skeptical about all sources of information unless verified.
Be cognizant of the mental impact social media may have on us (self-esteem, impulse control, emotional responses, etc.)
Be ethical in our business practices so that we don't over-extend our own desire to succeed into one that misleads or harms others.
Recognize that social media, mass media, etc. may present a large degree of bias.
Remain open-minded about all information and avoid our own self-centered bias.
Resist social pressures and stick to critical thinking in the face of misinformation, blind influence, etc.
Fully know how to operate in the media sphere so we are not manipulated by a new form. Ex; A 75-year-old may know how to use an iPhone, but is he/she aware of the information collected from his Facebook page by a 3rd party as they share it publicly?
The internet is a fantastic tool but can also be weaponized as we have seen and will continue to see it weaponized. Therefore, it is important to remain aware of its flaws while also enjoying its advantages.
So with that said, do you think that our own human psychology is being exploited by others to manipulate everything from our shopping habits to our stance on something like gun laws? Or do you think that most people are aware of these effects and are therefore not subjected to any influence? Let me know
Adamczyk G. (2021). Compulsive and compensative buying among online shoppers: An empirical study. PloS one, 16(6), e0252563. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252563
Bushwick, S. (2022, March 8). Russia’s Information War Is Being Waged on Social Media Platforms. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/russia-is-having-less-success-at-spreading-social-media-disinformation/
Brin, Dinah Wisenberg, and Dinah Wisenberg Brin. “Study: Internet Changing Young People’s Thinking, Behavior.” SHRM, 2 Apr. 2012, www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/youngminds.aspx.
Coppola, Daniela. “Topic: E-Commerce Worldwide.” Statista, 23 Feb. 2022, www.statista.com/topics/871/online-shopping/#topicHeader__wrapper.
The internet has absolutely changed the way tat consumers think and behave. It's crazy to think of how things have drastically changed in the last few decades. For thousands of years, humans had a very similar experience. Life was fairly predictable. Folks were relegated to traveling by foot or by animal. Information was incredibly slow to spread. It was literally a completely different experience than it is now for the majority of the world. The internet has connected the world in ways that are obvious but also In ways that are not so obvious. We can instantly see how others felt about a product or service. We can see how popular an idea or product is. We can see if people 'like' it or leave positive reviews. There is a connectedness and shared intelligence going on that is hard to really fathom unless we actively take the time to understand what is going on, and it's even harder to quantify.
The benefits of such a situation are vast. The internet saves time and promotes efficiency when it comes to consumers interactions with products and service (Loiselle, 2022). It allows buyers to search for exactly what they (think) they want. It allows sellers to directly target certain buyers with ads. A major drawback is that it eliminates the need for critical thinking. We have become a people who trust recommendations from retailers that we've never been to and reviews of products from people we've never met (Garner, 2020). We no longer have to actually solve problems, we simply look to see how someone else has solved their problem. It's a weird thing where we didn't actually figure anything out, we simply observed and copied what someone else did. With the connectedness of the internet, this has impacted all areas of our daily lives, including our shopping habits and patterns.
Garner, J. (2020, April 15). Has the technology that was supposed to connect us made us more disconnected than ever before? Janine Garner. https://janinegarner.com.au/connected-or-disconnected
Loiselle, M. (2022, April 26). 3 Important Statistics That Show How Reviews Influence Consumers. Dixa. https://www.dixa.com/blog/3-important-statistics-that-show-how-reviews-influence-consumers/