Whitaker Institute member Dr Elaine Wallace, co-leader of the Performance Management cluster and Associate Director of the Institute, has written a new piece for RTÉ Brainstorm. The article explores the question of if our social media likes reflect what we do and think offline?
Analysis: our likes and brand behaviours tend to be more genuine when our online followers are true friends
Economist Thorstein Veblen coined the term ‘conspicuous consumption’ over 100 years ago to explain the behaviour of consuming to flaunt one’s wealth and cement one’s status in society. There are two aspects to conspicuous consumption: the item publicly displays wealth and status to others, and there is a superiority attributed to the owner by others who do not own the item. This social recognition may drive conspicuous consumption.
Today, social media accounts on Facebook or Instagram are forms of self-presentation as our profile is visible to our followers. If we choose to, we can present a curated self, where everything that we associate with signals a particular version of ourselves. These signals can include selfies, comments or even what we choose to like. When we like a brand on Facebook, for instance, that brand appears on our news feed. In this way, liked brands can become part of an extended virtual self, adding to our image, and forming an impression with our followers. Continue reading…