By Lynn Cadet
You launch your Twitter feed, and in comes an influx of opinions. Checking the trending page, you find the new viral tweet of the week with millions of likes plastered across your social feed. Every day, it seems like a new opinion or piece of must-have advice grabs our attention, expecting us to unpack and process it.
Although the internet has brought us many benefits, it has also blown up an overload of commodities. Whether it’s a new method to get rich fast or the latest flashy dating app, everyday organic actions have turned into something of value or exchange. Once private, personal thoughts are laid barren on social media for all to see and share as the latest hit. Going out to find dates has become a thing of the past as we can flip through various apps to pick and find the one. We give value and validity to ideas based on virality and popularity.
Commodification turns the ordinary parts of our lives, like our comments on societal discussions, into something of exchange, made payable by likes and shares.
But with so many influences and ideas living on the Worldwide Web, how do you learn to process these “commodities” without feeling burnt out? Let’s jump into why commodity fatigue matters and what you can do about it.
What Is Commodity Fatigue?
A commodity at its core is a useful or valuable resource. We usually see it sold as a good in exchange for money. But on the internet, this is not always the case. In our digital landscapes, we find new forms of commodification that don’t rely on monetary value and instead on likes, validation, and shares.
Because of our growing digital dependence, our lives have become intertwined with our online personas. There is this pressure to always have something to say or manifest our next move while on public display. People are competing to upload routine content that almost anyone can do on their own. Simple tasks have shifted into highlight reels, dissected into a million how-to videos. Influencers are selling advice on dating or sharing various tips on self-care.
We no longer learn or truly search for anything on our own anymore. And any old thought floating around on the web can either garner praise or cancel someone right away.
Commodification causes us to give importance or credibility to anything we find online, rocketing a pedestrian influencer into a psychology guru without the credentials to back it up. This unleashes the fatigue of understanding all this information while following the ever-present rules of social media clout chasing.
Why Does It Matter?
Nothing is left off the table. Privacy has disappeared. And there is an excess of content and commentary on almost every topic known to humankind.
Even people have turned into commodities. We have become the content. Our internet presence allows us to feel validated and seems to increase our value or social status. Social media opinion has taken over our personal connections and organic actions in exchange for impersonal profit. But where do we draw the line?
If this excessive commodification continues, separating and appreciating our distinct roles and personalities in society will diminish. Soon enough, anyone, no matter the background, will have a page about their expertise on some random topic. Why is everyone a commentator? And why does all of this feel mandatory?
Not only do we have to keep up with the internet, but we also have to shout out our opinions to stay relevant or in the know. Yes, the internet has made information widely available, and that’s great! But it has also made our thoughts and actions disposable. Overexposure is where the problem lies.
What You Can Do
If you’re feeling weighed down by the pressure to perform for social media or the excessive amount of content that flies through your feed, take a look at these tips to help you with commodity fatigue.
Filter out your feed: Focus on what matters to you. You can follow the pages with the information you find helpful and remove all the other distractors.
Take the advice you need: You don’t have to try every method or advice you see trending. Instead, try to listen to the professionals on the subject matter to decrease the number of opinions you find. That way, you can be sure it’s valid as well.
Tap out: Not everything has to be said online. You don’t have to post what you think the internet requires of you. Share what you like and take a break from the endless page of trending social commentary.
We all have the right to choose whether or not we want to build a social presence without feeling like we’re sacrificing our validation. Your life is not tied to everything online. If you have commodity fatigue, take a break from social commentary. And go back to what the internet was invented for—watching kittens!