Whether we realise it or not, our attention is constantly monetised. Through direct ads, sponsored content, shout outs and brand deals. Adverts infiltrate our feeds, seep into our subconscious and create the ‘not-enough’ narrative that is so prevalent in our culture. We’re made to think we don’t have enough, that WE aren’t enough. It’s so all-consuming that sometimes checking social media can feel akin to scrolling through ASOS.
Our culture doesn’t want us to think about where a product has come from or what the human/environmental cost of it is. Everything is setup to distract us from making conscious choices. Consumerist culture directs us to be anything but satisfied, so that embedded within us is a need for more.
Untangling the web
So how can we live and exist online amongst this world of sales and marketing? One of the keys lies in consciously curating social feeds that inspire and uplift, instead of tempting or disheartening us. When I sat down and thought about it, I didn’t like following my favourite (fast fashion) brands. They made me constantly feel the need to update my wardrobe and enticed me with sales that seemed too good to miss. I realised that with the simple click of a button all that would stop. Instead I can free up all that headspace for much more productive, kingdom building thoughts. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says to ‘let all that you do be done in love.’ But do we consciously think about that on our social feeds? Are the actions we take online being done in love, for God’s people and planet?
So how can we cut through the consumerist clutter? It all comes down to getting intentional about who we follow and what content we want to see. I think it boils down to three spheres of online activity:
Cut out any brands or accounts that don’t put people and the environment at the heart of what they do. Unlike and unfollow the pages and click hide when their adverts pop up on your feed. The algorithm will slowly pick up that this content is not for you! It’s amazing how easy it is to avoid temptation when it’s not right in front of you. But once you’ve done this, continue to stay mindful about how your feed makes you feel. Take note of what accounts leave you feeling self-conscious about your appearance, or about what you have or don’t have. Even accounts we think we love can actually be piling the pressure on through constantly flawless photos that chip away at self-confidence.
Find and follow accounts who inspire, uplift and challenge you. Ask friends about content creators they find do the same and follow them too. It’s so worthwhile to seek out accounts whose meaningful content redirects our eyes to live more justice filled lives that glorify God.
Last but by no means least, contribute! One way to defeat consumerist clutter is to drown it out. So why not create content that inspires others to live justice filled lives, with less impact on our planet. Let’s literally be the change we want to see in the world online by sharing and creating meaningful content.
We have the power to control what content we see and deploy. So why not use it to glorify God and encourage others to work towards the restoration of his kingdom.
‘Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.’ (1 Corinthians 10:31)