For those who grew up during the time social media was "free" and there were no ads (or hardly any), consider yourself lucky.
While it's true social networks often start with relatively few ads, it's a given that'll change in time. The Facebook ad platform has evolved in recent months into a business that includes targeted sponsored posts and sponsored stories in our News Feeds. On Twitter, it's now possible for any user in the United States to create an ad as promoted tweet and promoted trend campaigns continue to grow. YouTube has pre-roll ads or overlay ads on just about any viral video now.
Kafka ends his piece, "You're not surprised, right?" For anyone who has closely followed the Web, the answer is probably not at all.
There's a lot of truth in the saying if you're not paying for something, you are the product. It's true if you look back through Internet history (see Digg in 2010) and it's still true today. You are being shopped to prospective advertisers who want to reach you through targeted campaigns.
The proliferation of commercial messages on "free" social platforms was really inevitable. Where there are human beings consuming content, there are business people who want to get their attention. This is true throughout the history of media.
So, be thankful you grew up in an age you could carry out social media activity relatively unbothered, and embrace the future that is just beginning.
There will be ads. And if there aren't, you'll be paying for something.
Let's just hope the ads are good.
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more