Commodification, word

I have decided, despite ordinarily being something of a stickler for rules, to refuse. This fills me with a jittery sense of dread, but I am resolute.

I will not get a Storify account.

For starters, even the name presents a particularly horrible idea. Automatic story generation.

robot animated GIF

If a computer program will produce articles for me, why on earth have I spent the last three years studying journalism? I do understand that it is a tool to curate content, to draw it all together and package it neatly for the convenient consumption of… someone. But this is something I can achieve (perhaps with slightly more difficulty) using my WordPress account, another social media platform that the Journalism school inflicted upon me.

I am tired of social media. I am tired of tracking numbers, tired of “congratulations, two people liked your story”, tired of passwords, tired of advertisements, tired of tweets, tired of quizzes, tired of having to juuuuuuuust give these sites my name, my birthday, my phone number, my age, my address, my weight, my relationship status, who I am in a relationship with, how long I have been in a relationship, how I feel about Israel, how I feel about abortion, how I feel about tree frogs, my photographs, my insecurities, my banking details, the names of the people I love, my favourite songs, my ambitions, my dreams, my sexuality, my medical details, the reasons I am angry, the books that changed me, where I want to go on holiday, where I have lived, how often I exercise, what I eat, what I hate about myself, what I am proud of, me, me, me, me, me!

Because this has fuck-all to do with me.

Social media is mostly premised on narcissism, to be sure. And it’s worth remembering that, on the whole, no one really cares what you’ve approved on Facebook. Liked save the endangered Moroccan Clubfooted Snail cause? Aren’t you a good little activist?

bigblueboo animated GIF

Except that clicking the pretty blue button did nothing but inflate your ego. None of your friends like you any more or less, and the snail doesn’t really exist. But on the bright side, now Facebook can forward your details to the nearest producers of snail-cotton T-shirts.

Watch this. Because Bill Bailey.

These websites are beautiful. Someone gets paid to make them so stylish and smooth. Where does the money come from? Well, social media sells you. They sell the you that is gleefully given to them, the you that isn’t really you, but someone you wish you were, the you that social media allows you to create and believe in. And the advertisers nod attentively and prepare to attack.

I will not make myself easy to commodify. Storify does not need my Facebook details in order to function, even if it acts like they are NECESSARY FOR SURVIVAL.

All they are necessary for is consumerism.

I have read Don Delillo’s White Noise. I am resisting the infiltration of the market into my private life and into my identity. I am resisting absolute and self-erasing media saturation. Maybe that’s pointless, maybe it’s helpless, it’s certainly ironic, but I’m not about to go quietly into that good, whitewashed night.

Overreacting, you say? That’s probably true. But, in my opinion, being the author of a popular listicle is not worth selling myself. Storify will not make me a good journalist. It will not make me a better writer. All it will really teach me is how to copy and paste other people’s derivative creations effectively.

Have a kitten gif.

kitten animated GIF


One thought on “Commodification, word

  1. Pingback: A hero’s quest | Scrawling

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