My Thoughts on Commoditizing Ourselves Through Social Media

Yes, I’m still talking about this because I keep thinking about it

This week, I did the thing I’ve been contemplating and made my personal brand/life private on social media. It was a long-thought over decision, and I’ve been talking about it for months. So finally doing it felt great. What was surprising was how laborious of a process it ended up being (emotionally and time-wise).

To sum it up, after a few hours of account updates, resets, handle-picking, and clean up, I felt a little exhausted by how convoluted these apps have become. They are definitely, as I had read about, advertising marketplaces more than anything else, so making significant updates in my “data” on these apps was a whole thing. By the end of the day I felt even more incentivized to leave them completely.

However, I’m noticing a few important lessons I’m learning in this process. And the fact that it is a process and takes time is note-worthy too. I feel like I’m making a bigger shift in how I use technology in general. This week I also took off all notifications on my phone for my email, and since my wedding over a year ago, my phone has stayed on do not disturb (highly recommend!). So the pull to urgently connect digitally to everyone has subsided considerably for me from its peak a few years ago.

What I also am noticing is that I am grieving a little of what social media used to be for me. I remember the days of really fun feeds, weekend updates, party invites, and photo sharing, as well as laughing out loud at memes, clever posts, and more. I know these still exist for a lot of people, but there has been a distinct tone shift in my world since those early days. The purpose of the apps to connect people definitely feels like it has taken a back seat to “serve people ads,” and we only need read the most recent Facebook announcement about converting to Meta to see the proof. So once I felt my moment of grieving the past, it was easier to move on and let the good live on as a memory.

Now, to be clear, I still value social media as a shopping platform. I often find new brands to buy from on Instagram and Pinterest and really appreciate the curated feed for that purpose. But most of the time, I don’t open those apps to shop. I open them to be inspired, talk to friends, or entertain myself for a bit. And now each of those experiences is filtered through ad-servers that won’t let me go more than a few seconds without showing me an ad.

So, finally we’re getting to the point of this article, in the context of worthfull identity and the conscious use of technology. If the ways I primarily connect with friends and my larger circle is through a shopping marketplace, doesn’t that commodify my relationships, as well as my own behavior? It seems this is where we have come. And the danger is that we start to see each other as commodities as well. Shop-able lifestyles, thoughts, and even relationships (buying your way into a social circle is a product, especially in business) are the main theme I get when I spend too long interacting on social media apps. And that doesn’t align my with desires or values.

Here’s my intention going forward to opt out of the commoditization of myself.

  1. Re-invest in my relationships offline
  2. Scale back my personal use of social media except for shopping and superfluous communication
  3. Practice sharing my thoughts with my greater circle through podcasting and emails
  4. Honor the evolutions of technology and society for what they are and make conscious choices of how I interact with them
  5. Remember that my worth has nothing to do with my presence on social media

If you’ve been thinking about this as well, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to leave a comment or email me > christine @ worthfullproject.com.

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