Micro-Individuality: How Online Individuality Mimics Products Sold Under Capitalism by Aarna Tyagi
The rise of social media and online communication has given individuals a new platform to express their opinions and identities. With the ability to create profiles, post content, and engage with others, individuals can now establish and promote their unique identities in the online world. However, this online individuality often mimics the way products are marketed and sold under capitalism.
In a capitalist society, products are marketed based on their unique features and benefits, which are intended to appeal to specific consumer demographics. For example, a company may market a product as eco-friendly to appeal to consumers who value sustainability, or market a product as luxurious to appeal to those who value status. Similarly, individuals on social media often market themselves by emphasizing their unique traits, values, and interests to appeal to a specific audience. This can be seen on social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, where users curate their profiles to present a specific image of themselves. Users may post photos of themselves in specific outfits, participating in specific activities, or with specific people to communicate their interests and values to their followers. In this sense, social media has become a tool for self-marketing, where users present themselves as products to be consumed by their followers.
Furthermore, the use of social media metrics such as likes, followers, and comments reinforces the capitalist mentality of individuality as a commodity. Users often compete with each other to gain more followers and likes, which can translate to greater social status and potential opportunities for monetization. In this way, online individuality has become a form of currency, where individuals trade on their unique identities to gain social and economic power. However, this system of online individuality as a commodity can have negative consequences. For one, it can create a sense of inauthenticity, where individuals present an idealized version of themselves to gain followers and social capital. This can lead to a lack of authenticity in online relationships and can even cause individuals to feel disconnected from their true selves.
In conclusion, the rise of social media has created a new platform for individuals to express their unique identities. However, this online individuality often mimics the way products are marketed and sold under capitalism. While this system can provide opportunities for social and economic power, it can also create a sense of inauthenticity and perpetuate social inequalities. As we navigate the online world, it is important to be mindful of the ways in which our online individuality is influenced by capitalist ideologies and to strive for authenticity and inclusivity in our online interactions.
Aarna Tyagi (she/her) is a fourteen-year-old writer and avid reader who currently resides in Long Island, New York. She enjoys playing discordant yet soothing chords on the piano, reading books, writing poems, and listening to music that speaks to her soul. Her favorite musical artists are Mitski, Radiohead, Lana Del Rey, Cocteau Twins, and Men I Trust. If you don't catch her listening to music, she's probably reading poetry by Ocean Vuong and Sappho or novels by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Audre Lorde, and Franz Kafka.