The first segment Finding the Self in Selfie in this week’s This American Life Episode Status Update is all about internet commenting culture. They discuss the capital of likes and the politics of feedback:
Ella: It’s definitely a social obligation, because you want to let them know, and also let people who are seeing those, that I have a close relationship with this person, so close that I can comment on their pictures, like, this is so cute, or, you look so great here.
The host is also reasonable enough to not make this a girl thing:
Ira: This is really not so different from anybody’s life on social media. When I tweet something and a friend favorites it, and another friend retweets with a funny comment, that is totally them saying to me, you’re so pretty— just in a more adult kind of way. And it feels nice.
And there’s also the commodification of internet personas:
Ira Glass: I have to say, like, oh my god, this is such a job.
Julia: It’s like I’m-- I’m a brand, and I am like--
Ella: You’re trying to promote yourself.
Julia: The brand. I’m the director of the--
Ira Glass: And you’re the product.
Jane: You’re definitely trying to promote yourself.
Julia: To stay relevant, you have to--
Jane: You have to work hard
Ella: Relevance is a big term right now.
Reading this, I can both relate really well and feel kind of sad that these girls who are high schoolers are so coldly framing their interactions this way. And it’s not like the internet brought this on-to an extent social interactions have always been like this. But I think the internet has just made people’s social standings more transparent. Thoughts?