With all of the buzz-of-late around how best to introduce advertising to social networking sites, Rushkoff offers insights on the dangers of viewing social networking with such a limited scope:
I get asked all the time, "how can we get people to be more this or more that?". . . And I think the object of the game is to get out of the mindset of "getting people to do something" and instead just create a really nice, really open invitation.
The kind of marketing you're talking about is an effort to fill in where advertising has failed. And while it doesn't really work to sell particular products, it does have a major and deleterious effect on our society. The underlying communication still gets through. And that communication is: you are not worthy, you are in need, you need to buy something to fill that hole in your soul. Mommy doesn't love you, but the corporation does.
And while Rushkoff and other critics realize the possible benefits of social networking sites (especially when it comes to global communication), he offers this bit of advice as a reminder:
The easiest way to start is to socialize with real people in real spaces. When it's just you and other people, many of the existing rules no longer apply. It's not about buying and selling, or "getting what you need" from someone. It's a real encounter from which an entirely new awareness can emerge.