Unfriend? Ad Block? Dislike? It’s a thing!

Unfriend? Ad Block? Dislike? It’s a thing!

Over the last few weeks we’ve seen substantial chatter about how to digitally UN-engage in 2015. iOS9 now lets you block ADS on your phone, Facebook is testing a NOT LIKING something button (which by the way is NOT going to be Dislike!) and this week Fair Work Australia found someone guilty of bullying because they UNFRIENDED a colleague on Facebook. Why the sudden need to be able to cyber-vote with one click? Are we now so used to getting what we want online that we can no longer tolerate what is not absolutely meeting our every need? The jury is out.


I have written recently about iOS9 and ad blocking, and how it presents an interesting conundrum for users; namely if we block ads, it makes our viewing experience more streamlined, but by choosing to block ads, we are also blocking the revenue stream the content providers survive by. The good news? No ads. The bad news? The possibility of no content in the long run.


So let’s have a look at what happens if only the strongest (who can sustain life without advertising revenue) survive. Content providers will have to make money through other streams like subscriptions or IP license fees. But the plot thickens when you consider that the ones most likely to survive are in fact the big publishers who used to hold all of the power in the first place. Haven’t we all fought so hard for everyone to have a voice and allow everyone to be a publisher? It’s not straight forward though because big data has indeed changed the way we will receive content forever. But either way, in the end, the consumer faces two choices; advertising and free content? Or no advertising and paid access to content.


But is it perhaps deeper than that? As consumers, are we getting far too used to everything being targeted to our demographic, psychographic, interests, browsing habits and financial status? Could it be that we are becoming too self focused to accept anything that does not suit our immediate needs and are simply being too picky for our own good?


We may need to face the fact that another outcome of our inability to tolerate untailored content may well be that if we are not careful, we might find ourselves right back where we started, with the big publishers in control of the content we receive.


It’s all food for thought, that’s for sure, but one thing is entirely clear: the consumer in the drivers seat, so whatever content brands do produce must consider the needs and interests of your audience above all else. So it’s back to my content content mantra: ‘It’s Not About You!’.


Over and Out.

PS x


  1. This article was excellent and very perceptive. It covers a multitude of issues but is leaving a major one out.
    Friend/Unfriend! Like/Dislike! Follow/Unfollow! Block…what comes next? We are making people disposable with one click! Adults may be able to accept or rationalize the rejection. Kids are in a different place in their emotional development. Are we, as a society, concerned more with demographics and social interests than with feelings? Teens take peer approval very seriously. All of these self serving options can be extremely harmful to young and insecure egos. They can also inhibit self expression and creativity.

  2. Absolutely Bonnie, I couldn’t agree more. I have one tween and one teen at home using social media and a third child soon to head into that space; and in our family we very often have have ‘phones down’ periods for exactly that reason. This blog was about the impact on content quality moving forward, but you are so right – there are many many more implications of this snack culture we live in and its impacts on the world our children are growing up in….


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