This might be a bit of a controversial post. But whats the new year without a little bit of controversy? It’s likely that you have heard the term consumerism tossed about somewhere at some point in your life. But what really is it? It’s easy enough to understand what a consumer is- as we all embody the role in our everyday lives. But the term consumerism requires a bit of metaphorical digging as it were- as it doesn’t just embody a role; but a construct.
When I came up with the foundation for Generation Z- to be honest I didn’t really understand the magnitude of Influencer Marketing. Sure, I had an understanding of what an influencer was; I interacted with them daily across the majority of my social media feeds. But I had no idea of the scale behind influencer marketing; and in turn the ethical considerations which could arise from a single tweet or post online (I’m aware that this topic sounds a bit heavy but bear with me!)
So, what’s the problem?
OK, so, with Influencer Marketing becoming an increasingly popular tool adopted by big brands, and with more and more people tuning to blogging as a career choice; the internet is rife with up and coming influencers. We have the power to create an entirely new perception of ourselves online- we disclose what we want to disclose. We can make it appear that we live our lives in black and white- or that we are constantly jetting across the globe; eating out; partying. Whatever really. The Kardashian lifestyle is something we can imitate until we are blue in the face- or better yet until our picture gets more than 11 likes on Instagram and changed from user names to numbers (it’s funny how it can make some of us feel so insecure- right? right?!)
But that’s the thing. With more and more social media platforms incorporating a mix of our nearest and dearest, celebs, AND influencers/bloggers- the forums we use to share our personal anecdotes; our memories and moments, has become somewhat muddled. With advertisements now branching onto these platforms; the question is- is there any escape from the world of marketing? It seems as though at every corner; there is something- a service or a product- telling us how it will make our lives better. How we must have it. And this was easier to comprehend when the promotion was coming directly from the brand; or from a celebrity; whose lives we often lust after.
Now however, the people promoting these products are people who we can relate to slightly more- because they are often on a similar ‘ground’ to us. Is this ethical then? It’s similar to having one of your friends be paid by a shop to rave about how good their product is. If it’s not off an honest recommendation- is it right? The question which this project has left me pondering is this. Not so much whether it is ethical to have advertisements on social media- but more is it ethical for us to be constantly immersed in the consumerist culture being promoted to us online at all times.
Do you agree? Let me know using the hashtag #GenerationZ!
image credit- @nytimes, @kimkardashian.
featured image- @johnhenderson on flickr.