By WASAMON AUDJARINT
ONE of social media's key purposes is to connect people from all corners of the world. It allows us to get in touch with long-lost friends, make new ones as well as seek new opportunities. It also allows opportunities for us to be "found" too.
Five years ago, many Thai Facebook users were “tagged” to a photograph that appeared to be the cover of an online health magazine, with the caption pushing them to register as a member. That in itself did not stir an uproar, at least not until people discovered what was behind the cover – a “multi-level marketing” scheme. The very mention of this scheme irritates people.
So why are people so sensitive to what could be a very legitimate form of business?
Part of the reason for this irritation is that many people have experienced “unwelcome” invitations on social media, via photo tagging, chat greetings, etc.
There’s a reason why social media has become a tool preferred by some businessmen. To start with, they can filter their target group by checking out people’s profiles and activities online. An insurance salesman can choose to approach those checking in at a hospital or mumbling about their sickness. This can boost the probability of success.
Similarly, someone trying to make a sale or find a business partner can see if other social-media users have ever attended business courses. Upon finding such a person, the salesperson can then add them as a friend and start probing to see what their interests are. If this connection “clicks”, then they might be invited to join the business.
Social media does not just allow the business savvy to find target groups, but also helps build online connections using a “connect the dots” strategy.
For instance, in the case of a salesperson, not only will the new “friend” help connect them to a new target group, they could also find additional friends thanks to other “mutual friends” – thus “connecting dots” infinitely.
Also, unlike an old-fashioned phone call, one does not need to reply immediately, which is why salespeople love this style of communication, as their target has some time to think about things and can be more easily persuaded. In addition, the prospective customer can be further wooed with additional photographs and information.
But what if you, as a social-media user, do not want to be targeted and have no intentions of joining a business? Simply stop accepting friend requests from people you don’t really know.
But what do you do if a friend or someone you know approaches you? In this case, the best bet would be to be straightforward and just tell them you’re not interested. Being too considerate can sometimes make things very difficult in the long run.
Business, of course, is what drives the world, but it would be even better with some consideration. Besides, if the business offers a great product, there should be no reason to run after customers – they’ll find you on their own.