Free Social Media Negative Effects: Critique Of Interview Of Manager Of Heineken On CNN Essay Example
Heineken announced that it was going to enter an agreement with Facebook to use the website to engage actively with its over 4 million fans on Facebook. In line with this, the famous CNN program, Quest Means Business interviewed the Commercial Manager of Heineken and asked questions about their use of social media to promote their products. The purpose of this paper is to critique this interview in relation to the first paper of this projects which outlined the negative effects of social media on people. To this end, the TV show interview will be critiqued in relation to the area of commercial exploitation, waste of time of members of the society, introduction to risky products and the opportunity for fraud through Facebook. This paper will critically examine different aspects of arguments and provide an inquest to the strength and weaknesses of each argument.
The commercial manager of Heineken announced that they had struck a deal with Facebook to provide some kind of interaction and connection with their fans. This means that they could take views and ideas from the clients and go on to exploit them. This is because in return for their participation in surveys and support of the page, the members of their fan page are likely to be shown adverts and their personal details are going to be taken. Through this, Heineken is able to learn more things about their profiles and shove more of their products on them. This means that the consumers will fall prey and victim to the beer brewing company because they are able to tell them more things about their products and get them to spend more.
The bigger challenge is on the wider community of users on the social media system. This is because all users of the social media network and other sites are going to be shown more information about the beer. And this will be based on the successful lessons they will learn from this small group of fans. Through this, they will advertise and promote their products to the wider market and there will be more sales whilst and more abuse of consumers.
Heineken’s manager identifies that the idea is to be relevant and interact since this is the only way through which they can achieve their targets. Since the definition of commercial exploitation encompasses the sale of products to people who are vulnerable and do not really need it, it can be said that Heineken will want to use the social media as a platform to exploit and take advantage of its consumers who might have no idea that they are being abused.
One could argue that the interaction gives room for consumers to contribute to what they really want. This is good and positive and helps to improve the quality of products for millions of consumers and this will keep the industry going. And Heineken will also continue to do more good to society and enhance the kind of services they offer. This is fundamentally based on the fact that consumers are going to consume the drink anyway. It can hence be argued that, social media gives them the chance and the opportunity to participate in the development process. This is a democratic system and social media must be seen as furthering and enhancing consumer sovereignty which is vital to our democratic structures.
Waste of Time
As identified in the essay that was written earlier, social media is a complete thief of time. People, particularly young men and women spend hours on end, visiting sites and following leads that are of absolutely no significance to them. They waste time watching videos and reading unnecessary things that brings them no forms of benefit. This comes at expensive costs like reduction in working hours, reduction in study hours, loss of employer’s man hours and many more. These situations cause people to lose a lot of time and they tend to have negative consequences due to their connection and continuous use of social media.
What the manager of Heineken is announcing is that they hope to remain online and remain “interesting and relevant”. This means that they are out there to present interesting videos and ideas that is going to cause people to waste more of their time. This will mean that young people are going to be attracted and they are going to have to spend more time on social media because a corporate giant wants them to do so.
The manager of Heineken stated that there are four things they hope to achieve by going onto Facebook, the leading social media site:
Consulting: Get consumers of Heineken products to consult Heineken on how to improve;
Education: Help the staff of Heineken to know about the markets and become more efficient in their activities;
Innovation: To get to know the new trends and make adjustments within Heineken for the products that are necessary;
Pricing Agreement: To provide some kind of benefit to Facebook in return for using their site for the achievement of their aims.
All the four pointers indicate that Heineken is out on Facebook to seek their self interest only. They are in effect, paying Facebook to give them information about clients and also getting clients to spend their time and effort telling them what they want. Heineken will only have to adjust its ways and improve sales and continue to make its multi-billion dollar profits whilst the users of social media get nothing. This shows clearly that social media is an avenue for corporate entities to exploit their consumers and this is done to the detriment of their very lives.
Again, it must be stated that there are some incentives like raffles and other benefits that people who participate in their feedback arrangements get. This could help to promote the wellbeing of some of the users of the social media sites and also encourages some form of profit sharing. This argument is particularly strong because people who engage in social media activities are matured and responsible persons who make choices. If they do take such decisions on their own accord, then Heineken cannot be held responsible for their choices. As a commercial entity, Heineken can use any commercial media. People must choose.
The Heineken manager sits on CNN, his products, which are mainly alcoholic are presented to people who are vulnerable without any issues and he talks as if he is so much interested in the welfare of everyone. In spite of this, his alcoholic beverage is destructive to millions of people and it is presented innocently to members of the society.
Save for a few notices that are placed on their cans and bottles, most consumers are made to feel that their alcohol is good. And the social media platform therefore becomes an extended environment through which the brewers can present their products and promote the achievement of results. This means that social media is also a force for negativity to thrive.
Thus, by extension, there could be a limitless and countless number of products that could be presented to consumers through social media. This includes the various websites that could be used as a conduit through which products of the nature of Heineken could be promoted and enhanced.
One could also argue that Heineken is operating legally. And as such, their activities are acceptable and nothing could be done against them. This means that their products are positive and what they have done is in the right way and order.
Opportunity for Fraud
It can be inferred from the previous pointer that social media could be used as a conduit for fraud. This is because a recognized brand like Heineken has been able to present its products which are not so positive to consumers there. Therefore, there could be a countless other entities that are fraudulent in outlook like ponzi schemes and others that could use social media as a platform to easily manipulate society and get people to buy into them at very negative consequences.
On the other hand, it could be counter-argued that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter work with only credible entities. They have high standards of checking products that are advertised on their sites. This reduces the risks that consumers are exposed to and as such, they are able to protect consumers.
The evidence of this study indicates that social media could be an avenue for the exploitation of consumers and the abuse of innocent members of the society. However, this kind of exploitation is a free one and consumers or people choose to take part in it on their own choice. They are not coerced or forced to take part in it. Secondly, the entrance of commercial entities into social media activities indicates that the social media networks will contribute to the waste of time and resources amongst these people. The counter-argument for this is that these commercial entities reward people who participate in their surveys. And additionally, those who take part in the social media’s corporate feedback exercises partake in some kind of democratic process of improving products and services. Finally, it can be said that social media exposes consumers to potentially dangerous products and fraudulent products. In spite of this, social media sites are taking reasonable care to protect their users in many ways possible.
Brown, Rob. Heineken Storm Warning as S&N Disappoints. 18 February 2009. 26 February 2015. <http://www.brewersguardian.com/brewing-features/international/395.html>.
Goter, Peter. “The Commercial Exploitation Continuum.” Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology 13(795) (2012): 424-437.
Quest, Richard. Alexis Nasard CNN Interview - Social Media. 9 December 2011. 26 February 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuFsWgaNexE>.