Wait a minute. How is it possible that Apple can choose its customers? That can’t be right, right? We choose Apple, don’t we? Yes. And no. Apple’s products, as is the case with almost anyone in business that makes and sells gadgets (or, really, anything), they choose specific target markets. Apple chooses smarter customers.
Apple’s customers, in general, have higher socio-economic standing, are higher educated, have more disposable income, and are sufficiently well informed as to appreciate Apple’s higher level of quality, better product and service integration, and understand the distinction between cost and price. Everyone else? Not so much.
Does that mean that Google chooses to target customers and users who are not as smart as Apple’s customers? Yes. Samsung? Uh huh. What about social media giants like Facebook? Yep. Them, too. They’re all after customers and users who are less discriminating, and more likely to be easily manipulated by cheap prices or the dopamine effect. Plausible, no?
Sean Parker on Facebook’s strategy regarding users:
The thought process was all about, ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’ And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever, and that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you more likes and comments. It’s a social validation feedback loop… You’re exploiting a vulnerabilty in human psychology.
Whoa. Wait a minute. That means human psychology is being used to get Facebook and Google users to, well, use Facebook and Google more simply to satisfy the gene that makes us feel good with a little dopamine hit.
Unfortunately, that attack on human chemistry also means such technology and social giants are threatening diversity of thought. So says Mark Epstein in The Wall Street Journal.
‘A monopoly on the means of communication,” Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson wrote in “Leviathan,” their 1975 novel, “may define a ruling elite more precisely than the celebrated Marxian formula of ‘monopoly in the means of production.’ ” Bear that in mind when you hear this next statistic: In 2017 Google and Facebook have accounted for 84% of all digital advertising outside China, including 96% of its growth
Translation: What you think you think is being heavily influenced by what you see and read, and Google and Facebook are among the worst perpetrators; though you can toss in alt-right publications, Fox News, and others who seek to persuade by creating a chasm away from mainstream thinking.
Yes, Google and Facebook have the kind of power that does not promote diversity of thought. An example:
When virtually all online advertising goes through two companies, however, they have the power to harm websites arbitrarily. One political blog that posted an article trying to distinguish the “alt-right” from white nationalism received a warning email from Google’s AdSense team. An editor took the article down, explaining to readers that the blog “needs revenue from the Google ad platform in order to survive.” You needn’t agree with the editorial decision to publish the article to be troubled by Google’s vetoing it.
Does not Apple do exactly the same thing?
Yes. Deliberately, too.
Look at how Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Watch work well together. We get some dopamine hits multiple times every day, and when ‘it just works‘ we have our choices to go with Apple vindicated even more. Yes, we have choices, but the choices, or, the reasons we do what we do are not as independent as we may think they are.
Remember, advertising exists to persuade us to use a particular product or service, but such persuasion is not limited to online ads or TV commercials. Look at the boxes and wrapping Apple uses for every new product and compare it to competitors. Apple is influencing our genes in many subtle ways– not much different than Google or Facebook, et al.
But does Apple really choose smarter customers than their rivals?