Everyone Like ‘Likes’!
The core idea of social networking services is to connect people in the digital world. In 2003 Second Life, the online virtual world that enable people to communicate each other through ‘avatars’, was launched. It was a digital universe in which a person can live an alter life. Many found this virtual world a safe heaven and spent much of their real time there. But we couldn’t call it a social networking site as no one there had real identities.
Orkut , the first widely popular social networking site, was launched without much hype by Google in 24 Jan, 2004. The website is named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. Though Orkut became an instant hit in Brazil and India, the site didn’t exploit the marketing possibilities that it had. YouTube and the face book were the two sites that explored this golden opportunity to the fullest. Though You tube is not a social networking site to count, it rewrote the entire experience in digital life enabling everyone to become a creator.
Neither had Mark Zuckerberg who created the Face book as a platform that lets with the Harvard Pupils to link with each other, realized the marketing potentiality of it intially. Only later he found the golden egg. But But before Facbook took web marketing by storm, Google Adsense program empowered the publishers in the Google Networks to reach the target group audience with tailor made advertisements. This made the optimum reach of the marketed products and services possible, as they were delivered not in general but it zeroed in targeted audience.
Though web marketing via Twitter, the micro blogging site is a reality, Face book provides elaborate features and possibilities for the advertisers to link with and reach more customers. Like pages of a company or a product has changed the trends in web marketing. Even people in the lime light Actors and other Cinema Personalities, Political Figures, Entrepreneurs who have found this new found vista an easy and effective mean to get in touch with their fans and followers.
A recent trend in marketing is ‘Facebook Marketing’. But how far this Facebook Marketing is reliable? Can you blindly trust them? Even individual users in FB are fond of ‘likes’ and comments. Youths spend much of the time online exclusively in FB, with a lust for Likes. More often people in common show great interest in gathering likes and lengthening their friend and followers list. So the media frenzy public figures and companies in dire need to market their products find en route to Facebook.
Followers are more important to persons than products in the digital world. Likes garnered catapult their popularity. Already IT hubs like Bangaluru (then Bangalore) have witnessed mushrooming marketing companies that are willing to take up projects, the primary focus of which is to increase the likes and followers for specific FB pages. They are for hire and come with packages promising few thousands likes in a stipulated time period for your pages. There packages cost varies with the number of likes you want for and the duration of the services thus availed of them. Though such companies divulge that their service is not fake and the likes and followers are real. The mode of operations, they claim is they have multiple Facebook IDs with thousands of friends each. So they say the targets are achieved by linking with such individual IDs and they help each other in the business.
Though their claim seems practical, cyber analysts do confirm in more cases Likes are generated via ‘BOT’, either by an individual or by a company comprising of few programmers. A BOT is an abbreviated form of robot and a computer programs that run automated tasks over the internet. Though these fake likes and accounts live a short life as facebook itself identifies such fakes that are generated by malware or hacked accounts as they are in violation with the company’s terms and conditions. However scanning the vast chunk of data that keeps on piling up every second, it is hardly possible to clear out everything.
Few weeks back a website ‘Socialbakers’ claimed to have found 53% of the Twitter followers of the most popular American Singer Justin Bieber as fake accounts. Following the accusation, the 19 year old icon retired on Twitter since last Christmas.
Among the politicians a new need is catching up worldwide to make their digital presence more pronounced. Almost every political figure has an official page in facebook and a Twitter account and try their best to each out for more people. There is also a race among them in terms of number of likes and followers. There could possibly more political undercurrent running behind their online popularity since they need to boast up their persona online the most.