Selling & Marketing the Technojungle

We had to be sold on using the Internet so that we could be bombarded with marketing. It is a world driven by sales and marketing. Is the Technojungle a corporate world?

“Why would I need (or want, trust) this…?” I can recall asking this of myself about many of the Technojungle products and services I now seem unable to do without. I asked this question about the Internet, cellphones, texting, social media… well, OK I still don’t use social media. Yet, for just about everything else I questioned, including trusting online banking, the need, or necessity, seemed to be somehow created. By who, why, and how? I can hardly imagine not having these technologies before the pandemic and suddenly being thrust into using them to survive.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc, once said, “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” I go further. I ask, “Isn’t it true we usually don’t know what we want until it has been sold to us; someone will tell us we need it, when we really don’t? Once we buy, we can’t live without, and wonder how we ever did.” As you safari through the Technojungle, do you observe that most people are satisfied with what they have at hand and often can’t imagine something different? Have you noticed how corporations scramble to find slick ways to persuade us we need the next great Technojungle thing? Futurists may predict and make promises for the future, but isn’t it corporations who make and market the future, often bringing us the unexpected and the baggage that usually comes with it?

I want us to have a look at, and question, how the Technojungle is sold to us humans. The truth is that, as I have mentioned, the Technojungle Internet was not well understood when it went mainstream in the mid-1990s. Many people wondered why they would need it. It took some persuading to get businesses and people to begin to see the possibilities and even more to trust the Internet. Imagine, even the corporate world seemed to struggle to envision the possibilities of the Internet. Now, most of us, can’t do without it. If you were around before the Internet, what did you think when it showed up on your doorstep? How were you convinced that you needed it? Perhaps some people even saw it as too much information.

I realize that most of what follows has already been explained, however, sometimes it is a good idea to go over ideas more than once. 

Remember that the Internet began with the U.S. military, scientists and university research facilities and that it did’nt have a pretty front end, so it was not very human friendly. One had to learn how to interact with the UNIX environment. When the World Wide Web of the Technojungle came along in the mid-1990s, it was cumbersome, slow and archaic. Only those with a vision for the possibilities once the technology improved got excited. 

Slowly the Technojungle Internet gained some publicity in the media and interest grew. When cable TV and telephone companies decided to bring high-speed connections to homes, the Internet exploded and began it’s take-over of our lives. Still there were those who didn’t understand they could do more than E-mail and a few searches for information using a web browser. Many Internet users today may still only do simple interactions with these two Internet services.

I ask, “Isn’t it true we usually don’t know what we want until it has been sold to us; someone will tell us we need it, when we really don’t? Once we buy, we can’t live without and, wonder how we ever did.”

Once the technologies of the Technojungle Internet matured a bit more, there seemed to be a concerted effort to ramp-up the activities to persuade us to do more and more through the Internet. Is the Technojungle Internet still being sold to us as a cheaper, more environmentally friendly way of getting many things done, even if it is not the best option? Does anyone really think about costs, such as those of expanding the infrastructure, maintenance and the cost of electricity to run all the equipment of the Technojungle? What other costs are there? 

Imagine an airline that decided to offer free tickets supported through advertising. You would go to the airport, get on your airplane and see never ending, constantly rotating advertising everywhere—anywhere it could be displayed. Products would be in your path for you to buy everywhere you stepped. It would be a nightmare of travel. You may think you get stressed now when traveling, this would finish you off for sure. It would be an advertising Technojungle. Have a look around as you safari through the Technojungle Internet and see how much advertising you have to endure?

Distracted driving has become a top concern. Don’t even think about touching your smartphone while driving, or you might get a hefty fine. Yet, have you noticed the sides of our roads and highways are allowed to be filled all manner of advertising—even billboards that are blindingly bright at night? Can you think of some driving situations that may have been considered somewhat dangerous in the past? What about built-in screens for operating new cars? you are not allowed to use your cell phone, but you can use a complex touch screen to operate features, many unnecessary, of your car.

I know of a place on a highway that curves as it goes downhill toward a bridge. That can be a bit tricky to break and turn at the same time under even normal conditions. This highway is also littered with advertising. Could one outcome of autonomous driving cars be that we can sit back and view more advertising?

One thing we have learned that really drives the efforts to get us to do more through technological means is that collecting information about people through the Internet Technojungle is extremely valuable and never before possible on such a massive scale. How, and why, are you constantly bombarded with methods to extract information about you and the rest of us humans? Is it all about sales and marketing, or is there more? 

So often I find the Internet and the Technojungle is sold to us as the best way to do things. Then we become the targets of massive advertising and marketing schemes. We become customers and products at the same time. What goes on behind our backs is unimaginable as our information gets passed around and sold. We become dehumanized. I wasn’t promised this for the future we now strive to live in. 

Corporations discovered that having a website in the Technojungle with lots of information and even discussion areas was cheaper than fielding queries and providing customer support using traditional and personal—human—means. Once set up, customers—humans—would self-serve to get the information they need. The corporations save valuable time, money and resources as the customer uses their own time and efforts to find the information they need and to solve issues and problems through that company’s Technojungle. I realize that, in many cases, forums a useful for discovering issues in complex products such as computers and software. Do you know of companies that use forums to allow customers to solve problems of other customers and the staff only step in when necessary? How well does it work? How do you feel when you use the system? 

Another way to engage with customers is the use a bot as a human replacement that can imitate a human customer service agent. Arm the AI bot with enough information and hope it can answer the customer questions. Have you ever experienced a customer service bot? I’m sure you have experienced a bot calling you as sales agent, or a scammer. I get those everyday and they even impersonate government agencies. Technojungle bots on the Internet and others calling on the phone, are turning up everywhere. Where and how have have you experienced these sorts of human mimicking bots? How do you think corporations could ever be convinced to attempt to fool their customers into believing they are being served by an imitation human customer service agent? Do you find this a little deceitful and maybe even unethical? Not only are they eliminating human jobs, but they are trying to lead customers into believing they still employ actual humans. Somebody sold the corporation this technology and the idea of fake humans.

Do you think the costs to both the corporation and the customer in the forms of the time and technology exceed the benefits over using real humans? I suspect it is simply hipper to operate from deeper in the Technojungle.

…we become the targets of massive advertising and marketing schemes. We become customers and products at the same time. What goes on behind our backs is unimaginable…

One area of activity that we needed to be sold on is doing things like banking online through the Technojungle. This seems like a great convenience. We are told over and over that it is safe and secure. Can you trust what you are told about the safety of online financial transactions? We know that banks are the targets of hackers and that huge amounts of money are stolen online through the Technojungle. What about shopping and paying for goods online? Is that safe? I used to think I would never do financial transactions online. I have now somehow been persuaded. It is just too convenient. Often it is cheaper or there is no other option. Do you do any banking or financial transactions online? How were you convinced it is safe?

The pandemic forced almost all of the last of those holding out. It is a necessity to have a computer and be online savvy. I have wondered over and over how people managed during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic? I am also concerned about how this is changing our world?

Cheaper and convenient are what have been sold to us as important values in the Technojungle. In our often hectic and overwhelming technological world, aren’t we told to value things and methods that become more convenient and cheaper due to technology? Perhaps there’s a strategy; make life expensive, hectic and overwhelming, and people will always adopt the cheaper more convenient way—the Technojungle way. My life has become so busy, due mostly to the Technojungle, that doing things the old way just doesn’t work anymore. It hardly seems practical or efficient to do things the old human way. I need to buy into the values of the Technojungle.

We have become sitting human (ducks?) targets to numerous corporations for marketing purposes. We’re captured in the web of their constant scramble to track our every move and collect more information about us. I think that old expression seems appropriate here—“It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.” 

Some corporations are marketing to us humans and others are actually marketing us humans and our information to other parties—some do both. Still others want to make sure we are manipulated in some way. Can you think of ways you corporations try to manipulate you, your interests, beliefs and values? 

If who we are is our personal information, is the marketing of us humans (our information) a form of legal online human trafficking in the Technojungle? Is our personal information of who we are being smuggled away from us? They certainly want to offer a simple way to get us to purchase products and services and to over spend. This has become so easy that brick and mortar stores have closed in droves. People shop to find what they want and then go home and find it online at a cheaper price. The store provides the product exposure, but misses out on the sale. And that was the threat that many people felt would happen. 

Recently, I heard some discussions that many people were actually doing their shopping and product research online and then heading to their local store to see, even try the product, and to purchase it. There is no substitution for us touching a product and receiving some attention from a real person. Say what you want, but humans are humans and that means they are unpredictable. It seems people still like the experience of going out somewhere and shopping. People still seem to like to go to other jungles—the mall and big box stores. For this reason, even some online Technojungle only stores that vowed never to have a physical outlet, have changed their minds. How do you shop? How did the pandemic change your shopping? How about after the pandemic?

If you want people to keep buying, there needs to be many ways to pay. So it is that I have three wallets, because I keep getting cards of some sort. One wallet is for regular cards and identification materials, one is for chip cards and one is for business cards and extra loyalty cards. How do you manage all your cards?

In what ways do you see the Technojungle is a sales and marketing nightmare for us humans? Have we been sold into financial slavery? Do you think your personal data and information has been sold and smuggled behind your back? 

Fortunately, I have no debt and pay all my cards off each month. But, for some people, the new easy Technojungle ways of purchasing are just too hard to resist. We humans have moved from trading to cash, from cash to credit cards, from credit cards to online purchases and payments, to paying by a smartphone. Yesterday, I watched a fellow face his smartphone to the tap screen on a terminal in a store to complete and purchase transaction. I don’t have to remind you again that the smartphone can be lost or stolen and has to be carried around everywhere we go. We can be sure that some other, purportedly safer and more convenient method, is just around the Technojungle corner, perhaps something we don’t need to carry or even wear.

The pandemic has hurled us all ever closer to needing more technologies for our personally identifiable digital information. It has also introduced the urgency to track vaccination information. What can we expect is coming down the Technojungle path to manage our important data and information?

Since the Technojungle knows who you are and tracks where you are, why should we even have to line up to pay for our goods. If we put it in our bag, we pay for it. This is certainly what is happening. Won’t the conveniences and probably other enticements, likely including price discounts, ensure that we will eagerly agree to the use of any technology necessary to make this purchasing simplicity possible? What do you think could be the baggage?

Several systems are being used to eliminate the checkout at grocery stores. I have heard of several methods which range from cameras tracking what you select and facial recognition, smart grocery carts and buggies that can even weigh how much you take.

The Technojungle machine that scoops our personal information, sells it for marketing, markets in our face 24 hours a day, makes it easy to purchase and also gives us seemingly endless credit, has caused many people to dig themselves in to a pit of debt. Do people these days really have to have the latest and the greatest. Doesn’t the Technojungle ensure that the gadgets and technologies we purchase are obsolete almost as fast as we can purchase them? Do you think that, as people are persuaded to use more and more technologies to automate their activities, that eventually they will accept any new technology without much thought or consideration? Are like that?

Can there be any place to hide from the marketers and somewhere to go where you are not being tracked for marketing, or other, purposes? How do corporations use crafty sales measures to persuade you to spend more of your time in the Technojungle ? Can you list some of the ways that you give yourself away to exist in the Technojungle? 

I have been frolicking in the digital Technojungle since the early days because I have always been curious. For such a long time I guess I had been sold, and I bought into to, notions that the digital Technojungle is usually the best way to go. It is progress, it is the future! At times I have been a bit bold with, for example, downloading material and shareware applications. But I am not so carefree when it comes to posting too much about myself all over the Internet Technojungle. Thus I don’t seem to experience as much of the pinpoint target marketing that some folks do. Most of the ads I get bombarded with are of no interest to me. Would you believe I get ads for women’s clothing. That may change after I write this book.

Earlier I told the story of my credit card being compromised to nearly $11,000. After that experience, I decided to really crack down on my security settings. All of a sudden many of the things I did in the Internet Technojungle would not work. 

I was recently calling a support person for a government agency and telling them that what I did last year online gives me an error this year. I was told I had to have ‘Always Accept All Cookies’ turned on. I said that I felt it was not as secure for me to have that, and other features, turned on. So the government requires me to have my Technojungle security turned down so that I can file annual sensitive information about my company. 

I have also tried installing blockers and other security add-ons to my browser. I was not able to watch online videos. If you want to wiggle and squirm away, they will always hold tighter and put the squeeze on you. I like cookies, but not the Technojungle kind. What at dilemma!

I like to watch for software that goes on sale, often for free. One day I saw a small utility, on sale for free, that would allow me to take control of all the network Technojungle traffic happening on my computer that I might not know about. I installed it and suddenly I was shocked at all the network requests I had to approve of, or disapprove of. For example, an E-mail with a graphic, such as a logo, actually has to download that graphic from the main server somewhere out there in the monstrous abyss of the Technojungle. By there way, scammers can get to those official logos to make their scams look real. 

I discovered that there were hundreds of Technojungle network connections I had to deal with before I could get on with my usual tasks. It seemed endless. Sure I could mark some as permanently approved, however that in itself would take many hours and would essentially defeat the purpose of the software. Besides, the links hardly made any sense. I could not tell what might be legitimate or not. There were many I had no idea of what they were for. I did try to look for anything suspicious. In the end, it was taking up far too much of my time. 

This seems to be a great example of what can happen if we want to take back human control from Technojungle corporations—it becomes an overwhelming task. It is dehumanizing! I guess I gave up and bought into letting the Technojungle bombard me with all that background activity that we are oblivious to during our day to day activities frolicking in the Technojungle.

All this tells me that, as we currently sit, we must open ourselves up if we want to have unrestricted access to the Internet. Try it sometime. If you turn up your security, do you turn down your access? What do you notice? Aren’t the marketers going to get your information one way or another? It has become a dehumanizing fact and dilemma of life in the Technojungle. 

If we want what the Technojungle is selling, don’t we have to sell to the Technojungle what it wants from us? This seems like simple trading, but is it even trading? Don’t corporations want you, that is your data and information? Don’t they create a need in us which persuades us to use technology that gives them what they want? Don’t we eventually find we can’t do without this technology? You might want to spend some time pondering why this is happening? Where might this be leading? The corporations of the Technojungle know exactly what we are doing with what we get from the Technojungle, but can we say the same about what the Technojungle gets from us? Do we really know what the corporations of the Technojungle do with what they get from us?

The huge portion of the Technojungle that is online, the Technojungle Internet, was developed to survive a catastrophic attack. However, it might not have survived beyond the military, and the halls of research and academia if it had not been opened up for commercial use—spelled MARKETING. This move ensured, not only survival, but vast growth of the Technojungle. 

Not only is it the most efficient surveillance data and information collecting system ever imagined, it has become an uncontrollable commercial advertisement system—one where the sales pitches don’t resemble any sort of sales pitches we were used to when, for example, buying a car, or a TV.

Do you think the Technojungle has some control over who we are, what we should do, where we should go, when we should do things, why we should do them, and how we should do them? Are the Technojungle corporations selling us the future? Is it a future where we can learn about being better human beings and living in this world of technology—the Technojungle?

We have been sold into using the Internet for so much of our life activities. It seems that corporation after corporation is after us. Perhaps the Technojungle actually is selling us our future. As I wrote this book, I discovered I was surrounded by dilemmas.

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