The emotional context of Facebook.

This is your Target.
target on facebook
This is your Target on Facebook.


Dear Facebook Advertiser,

You may think you know me. And I’ll grant you, with a little homework you could be close. I assume you’ve already profiled my age, gender, interests, brand preferences, product usage and buying habits. Heck, you might even think you know my political leanings.

But do you know how many ex-boyfriends are now my “friends”? Do you know how I feel when I see him vacationing in Paris, with his skinny wife? Or how I feel about my productivity when I see my college nemesis finishing yet another triathlon?

My parents are right-wing conservatives and my friends are left-wing progressives. Can you imagine how stressed out I feel when I navigate their political posts? I feel guilty that I can’t like their posts or support their causes. I’d prefer to stay out of it, but then, how am I supposed to respond to this post?


We all claim to hate Facebook. We profess we’re too busy to be on it. But despite our denials, we can’t help but take a peek. And here’s the thing: FB is getting meaner.

I remember the sweeter days when humblebragging and Selfitis were chief concerns. This year, political scolding has taken conversation to a whole new and nasty level. Now if I’m going to covertly compare my art-directed life to anyone else’s, I have to wade through a violent scroll of “fake news,” meta-protesting, mean memes and party shaming. This means your brand’s message now sits within the most negative experience of my virtual day.

I know you’ve seen the research on the emotional reactions to Facebook. It makes us anxious. We make gut ourselves with social comparisons. The initial thrill of stalking has worn off and, in fact, silently lurking now increases our negativity. Abstaining from recent activism may save sanity and friendships, but it also decreases any social connecting. And thus, we get more upset.

So what does this mean for you, dear Facebook Advertiser?

It means that when developing your strategy, remember to consider the specific emotional context of your message. As you contemplate my micro-moments, imagine how the negative space of Facebook might impact my openness. These days, Facebook has me tired, cynical, isolated, and concerned with how I compare. It can easily take me down the path of questioning my life decisions, so just think about that when developing your headline.

If you really want to me to take notice, distract me. Bring me joy, purpose, secrets and new ideas. I welcome the diversion. My heart is tightening these days. It will be harder to win.

Yours with ever rising expectations,

The Target

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