From The New Republic:
Researchers have produced mountains of studies on the motivations and rewards that drive the social media user. The craving for attention, the narcissistic self-referencing, the seeking-out of the digital mob for emotional sustenance: It all comes down to the basic human need to be validated by others—to be loved, that is.
With the Instagram influencer there appears to be a dual motivation: one psychological, one pecuniary. There are profits to be made as the influencer unveils to the world a body ripening in the sunshine. This figure is liberated from the tedious confines of office and home, from domestic and professional routine; is wild at heart, adventurous, exploring the loveliest places that nature has to offer. Meanwhile you, sad viewer, sit on your miserable device, in a weird stew of jealousy and longing, wanting to be in that place looking as lovely as the influencer.
This is, needless to say, the oldest trick in marketing and advertising: Associate the product with scenic landscapes and attractive people, and by a kind of sympathetic magic, one becomes as attractive by purchasing the product.
The most insidious of these influencers are those who operate under a veil of environmental concern and advocacy and an expressed love of the wilderness.
“How Instagram Ruined the Great Outdoors”, Christopher Ketcham, The New Republic
Image by Jens Karlsson via Flickr (cc)