The word “social” is acquiring a rather interesting meaning under late-stage corporate capitalism. Like so much else in this market-totalitarian order, it is increasingly becoming a Trojan Horse for a specific form of exploitation — namely, the lavishly sponsored provocation of individuals’ voluntary but only vaguely conscious disclosure of their most intimate “consumer” behaviors and motivations to the overclass, sans compensation to, or control by, those who disclose. Q: When are media now “social media”? A: When the aforementioned activity is at the heart of their structure and content.
All of which calls to mind a story I reported in The Consumer Trap book, which I researched and mostly wrote in the 1990s. Here is the tale of which I’m thinking: