Remember When… Social Media Was Not Overrun With Ads?

Do you know how to transfer your buddy list? What is your Myspace song today? Why did you lower me in your Top 8? Where did you get your buddy icon? Remember when these were your biggest worries on social networking? Nowadays, a social networker must be fully aware of everything they post, every picture they are in, and even everything they click on.                            Image

When social media first began, it is doubtful that anyone could have predicted where it is today. Employers search Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn before hiring new staff. School systems are implementing cyber bullying policies across the nation. Even our parents are sending us friend requests. It is hard to come by someone who doesn’t have a Facebook or Twitter. Due to the popularity of social media, it is no surprise advertisers want to tap into this huge online market.


What began with AOL Instant Messenger, evolved into the Myspace fad, and now Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram have joined the scene. After Myspace died out, there was much debate about how long Facebook would last. With the help of advertisers, it seemed like it could potentially last forever. Unfortunately, with the rise of other social networking sites, Facebook has seen a less than desirable decline in popularity. Now Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, is having to persuade advertisers to continue investing. In an interview covered by ABC News, he “[promised] better results as Facebook’s mobile app is made friendlier to advertisers.”

What does this mean for users?  More advertising headed your way! If you’ve seen Facebook’s login page lately, you might notice that it has officially been sold. It is hard not to notice as it takes up more than three-fourths of the screen. When Myspace sold their front page, it was the first sign they were not cutting it anymore. Does this mean Facebook’s “in” time is ending soon too? Not if Zuckerberg can help it.

You might notice the sidebar ads following more closely to your internet searches. As Facebook tries to evolve to keep up with the market, Zuckerberg stated that he would like to make Facebook a search engine that could compete with Google. It is no coincidence that the items you were looking for on Amazon a couple of days ago are popping up in the ads you see on Facebook.  Long gone are the innocent days of simply “lol”ing with your buddies on AIM.  It seems now more than ever before the public will become a constant target for advertisers.

Will this increase in advertising on Facebook lead to a shift in which social network is the most popular? Will Instagram and Twitter combined be able to wipe out Facebook? Would it even matter because Facebook owns Instagram? Or will the dark horse network, Google +, take the internet by storm?

G2G. Mom needs the comp. TTYL 🙂 ❤

Alexandra Huss, Caroline Merrill, Alyssa Morrello, Lauren Van Trigt, Daniel Williams

23 thoughts on “Remember When… Social Media Was Not Overrun With Ads?

  1. It is interesting to note that advertising has evolved with the evolution of social networking sites. Now, both channels of communication are engulfed with every facet of life. Is this only the beginning? Are we about to become a society similar to the one portrayed in Mike Judd’s Idiocracy? The past has demonstrated that advertisers have increased their influence and presence in our daily lives and to varying degrees. Could it be that society has a thirst for change and easily tunes-out “older” social networking sites and even older forms of advertising? It could be that advertisers have to become more personal and intrusive in order to be seen or heard. If so, I fear for the future because, as was mentioned, in many instances advertising takes up roughly three-quarters of the webpage already.

  2. This made me laugh! It is so true how much the internet and social networks have changed. It feels like just yesterday I was putting up away messages and finding the perfect quote to put in my AIM profile. I will be curious to see what happens to facebook and what other social networks they will come up with! Well written!

  3. This post pretty much summed up the thoughts that I have every time I log into Facebook. I have contemplated deleting my Facebook many times, simply because I don’t want employers or family members taking what I post out of context and judging me for it. Not to mention the advertisements that are slowly taking over my newsfeed. I miss the good days when the most serious problem I had on the internet was when someone bumped me off their “top 8” rather than having to censor my every thought and picture that I post on Facebook or Twitter.

  4. I have been wondering about why there are more advertising on Facebook when I logged in. I don’t think this is going to help facebook. All of the new advertising is crowding facebook. I saw myspace fall and now I believe facebook is next on the hit list. Great article.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this! Having a Facebook, Instagram, and Myspace, everything that you said about these networks is true. I also thought that it was very interesting how jobs and school networks monitor our profiles. Hopefully advertising will calm down a little! Good Job!

  6. The point about Facebook possibly dying off comes to my mind nearly every time I get on it. I remember when I first got my Facebook I thought it was the coolest thing ever and I just couldn’t get off of it. Now with Twitter, Instagram, and all of the newer social media sites I feel like Facebook is being pushed to the back. Sites such as Twitter and Instagram are more relate-able to today’s society, allowing for quick little blurbs about whats going on in one’s life at this exact moment or being able to post a picture of something that just happened. I feel that in today’s world people are so insistent on doing things the quickest way, and when it comes to social media writing a 140 character blurb or providing a quick visual bests works with people’s daily schedules.

  7. It is so crazy to think about where social media was ten years ago and what it has evolved into today! I think our generation refers to Facebook so much because that is what has been popular over the past few years. However, when we were younger we were all obsessed with IM and MySpace . When Facebook came out of no where everyone was iffy about moving onto something new but it was a hit. Just as everything else in the world fads change and something new and better is going to come along. In order for social media sites to try and compete with whatever it is that is trying to replace them they have to do everything in their power to stay active. They do that by throwing ads in your face every time you login or click on a new page. With time, Facebook will be old news and we will be talking about ways to save another social media website from getting left behind.

  8. The observations and connections in this blog are great! Aknowledging that increased advertisements on Myspace were an indicator of it’s tumble from the top, and now it’s happening on Facebook, definitely got me thinking. Pointing out real-life examples (like shopping on Amazon then seeing similar products on the sidebar) really helps people to take notice. It’s crazy that in just our generation we have seen the invention, rise and decline of some of the mentioned social media sites. I wonder when Myspace, Facebook, and perhaps some of the others won’t even be among the vocabulary of students because of the continual development of something newer?

  9. It is kind of scary to see how much social media has taken over our lives. I too have thought about deleting my Facebook many times just because employers take it so seriously these days. Just as with MySpace and AIM, I do believe that Facebook will soon fade out. I remember MySpace would constantly change to stay up to date with everything but eventually, people just want to next best thing. It is interesting to think about what is going to be the next craze.

  10. I never even thought about the fact that Myspace did not have nearly as many, if any at all, advertisements years ago. It’s so interesting though because I believe many people have become immune to the ads that are on Facebook. I tend to overlook them as nothing, and if I accidentally click on one I exit out before I can see what the ad is for. I don’t believe that the increase in ads on Facebook will deter people from using it as a means of communication online, but I know it will annoy people. Those ads just create a sense of normalcy to people in a way that makes it usual and not shocking when we find them all over the internet and on our cell phone apps.

  11. There is such thing as too much advertising; we have seen it with Myspace and now with Facebook. However, I believe that if Facebook really does die out (which they will put up more of a fight than Myspace did) another mass communication site will be put in its place. I can see this trend happening again with whatever comes after Facebook. Advertisers are always looking for where they can sink their teeth into next and social media is always looking for new investors. I think that time is very limited before every social media site is bogged down with advertisements; they don’t know when to stop. We would assume that Mark Zuckerberg would have learned from the mistakes of Myspace but he is walking near their exact footsteps.
    On the other hand, I do not believe that people will ever be able to completely disconnect themselves from social networking sites, so although people complain that advertisements are beginning to clutter everything to the point where its an annoyance, when will it be enough for people to actually walk away? I don’t think that day will ever come.

  12. Too funny! I remember getting together with my friends and sitting on AIM for hours putting each others initials in our profiles so all my aim buddies knew we were “besties” and making up stupid away messages so everyone knew we were together and having a blast. As much as I miss those times, Facebook, Twitter, and advertising are just three words that wouldn’t be possible without each other at this time. Personally, I don’t mind it. I’ve found some pretty great websites and causes due to Facebook advertising that I am okay with supporting on my page by “liking” them. In my IMC class we’ve been talking all semester about how word of mouth and the influence of others such as our family members and friends is the number one aspect when it comes to marketing. Facebook and Twitter have been doing excellent jobs at speeding up the process so we can hear those influences behind the comfort of our own computer screen.

  13. I personally believe the death of a particular social media is due to it “selling out”. As prime example that you mentioned, Facebook. The site is impossible to navigate without noticing the attendance of advertising. On any given Facebook page or home screen, at least a third of the screen is devoted to advertising. Because of this Facebook will soon become a thing of the past (such as aim…unfortunately :'[ )
    In order for a social media to gain success and remain successful the site needs to keep a clean and easy to use interface. This is why so many new social media sites are exploding in usage. They have yet to “sell-out”, thus remaining novel and easy to use.

  14. Yes! I can’t even remember the last time I went to a website that wasn’t bombarded with advertisements. When did all of this even begin? I can’t remember that, either. What I do remember is that once upon a time my greatest concerns were finding the perfect quote or lyric to put in my little AIM and MSN status things. I can’t even use the internet on my phone anymore without having to deal with ads. It’s insane, they’re everywhere! I don’t understand how companies make money from the ads when I’m quite certain people are more frustrated with them than anything. After all, I have never clicked on an ad intentionally. It’s getting even more crazy the way ads are tailored and presented to you based on things you search for! It’s a little scary, actually.

  15. haha, This made me laugh. So true. I would love to go back to the days when my biggest concern was who my top friends were. I like this post because it is relevant to my generation. I was there when Myspace was the hit, then watched it die down. I was there when Facebook became the new “it” site, and now that advertisement is taking over. I enjoy reading about things that I can relate to. It’s a shame that advertisement is taking over our social media sites. I know it’s unavoidable, but in a way, its corrupting the sites. Sometimes I just want to talk to my friends without being forced to look at ads all the while. I understand that the company has to use ads because they aren’t doing as well as they once were, but I’m afraid this may only make things worse. Hopefully they can come up with a better solution. But for the mean time, I will continue to use my facebook.. until the ads become unbearable, that is.

  16. Away messages and buddy profiles were definitely the good ole days ye there is something to be said for the concept of AIM and how developers have transformed the social networking landscape we have today. Unfortunately advertising is never going to subside. As developers see a rise in users they also see a rise in dollar signs. Advertisers are always going to want a piece of whatever part of the pie audiences are eating. I for one, cannot even stand to log on to networking sites via computer due to all the clutter on the sidelines of my screen and now incorporated within my news feeds. While there is some safety in phone application use, that is sure to change as advertisers become more clever. Take Pandora for example, every time I open the application I am instantly greeted with an advertisement before I can even make a music selection. Such bombardment is sure to come to Facebook and Twitter in due time.

  17. This blog post sums up exactly how I feel about online advertising. From my point of view, I can’t stand when I log onto Facebook and see ads all up and down the side of my screen, but if I were to think about it from a businesses point of view, of course I would want my name all over a website that has heavy traffic constantly. One thing I hear all the time is “I’m going to delete my Facebook because there is too much advertising.” I find this to be quite funny because so many people say that, but no one I know or know of has actually done that. Who wants to be completely disconnected from their friends or acquaintances after having such an intimate connection with them for who knows how long? No one.

  18. It is really interesting to think back when social media was less than half as big as it is now. I remember all of the things talked about in this article such as away messages, myspace songs, and transferring your buddy list. I think it’s also interesting that when myspace sold their front page it was because they were declining as a company, and now facebook has followed suit and done the same thing. I think that facebook is declining as a social media site because it is becoming way more complex and more about advertising, versus how it was when it first came out which focused more on staying connected with people. I know personally I do not use facebook nearly as much as I used to, and have recently thought about deleting it all together. Even though advertising plays an important role in today’s society, I do think it has taken a turn for the worse and is taking over way more than necessary, because for me personally, I hate advertising!

  19. These advertisements are one reason why I stopped using facebook. They took up so much of the space and were really just in the way. I understand that they have to sell ads to be able to keep up the site but do they really need to take up everything. I want the old facebook back where ads didn’t take up the entire site.

  20. Facebook means many different things to many different people. Yes the banner ads are taking over your screen, yes they are tracking your google searches and giving you related advertisements, yes Facebook sold its log-in page, but that does not change what I use Facebook for. I use Facebook to connect with friends across the globe studying abroad. To see pictures of my younger brother graduate, to talk with my sister about her new job in Chicago, and to allow people to see my life happenings. Honestly, Facebook can sell as much of the webpage as it wants to as long as it leaves the basic and original reason I started coming to the website unchanged. Facebook cannot “go under” of it sticks to its roots.

  21. I think that the rise and fall of any social media site is inevitable regardless of how well the use advertisements or how well it is organized or funded. Our society always wants the newest, the latest, and the best way to stay connected– I don’t think that the amount of advertisements has much to do with how much people will or will not use the site.

  22. I honestly can’t even think of a time when advertisements were not everywhere! As sad as it is, I feel like it has become such a normality that when I get on Facebook, I’m just used to the ads being there and I pay them no mind. Last year in one of my classes we had a professor have us look and track the ads that showed up on the side of our screens (especially on Facebook). Once I started looking at them, I noticed how focused they were on me. Instead of getting the usual political ads I was getting ads for dance or fashion, things that I had recently looked up on the internet and/or Facebook. It’s scary how much advertisement has just become a normality today, yet how much effort is spent on the them when people just often overlook them.

  23. Thank you all for your wonderful comments! We are so glad you enjoyed this post because we enjoyed writing it. It was nice being able to walk down memory lane together, especially after we all talked about the silly things we used to put on our Myspace profiles or AIM buddy profile. We appreciate all of your feedback and hope you enjoy the rest of the blog!

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