Window shopping has probably been around as long as advertising. Part of a creative effort to get us to buy what we want but don’t need. It’s been extended to the digital realm for many years, and supercharged by social media. Notionally harmless, it is a pleasurable diversion that consumes our attention to little end. When times are tight, it can be the stuff of fantasy – virtual consumption without the need for commitment.
What happens thought when it goes mainstream across forms of commitment that matter? We might get a fleeting moment of virtue by window shopping climate change, or a political party, or a job change and imagining what our life would be if we had them in our lives, but it changes little. It might even act as a form of mitigation – a form of virtual methadone rather than the hit of mainstream commitment.
We might argue the same for ‘Influencers”. One on hand they can be people of substance, thought leaders and provocateurs who chnge people’s minds about something important. On the other, people modelling other people’s ideas to which they have no attachment in return for money.
Unless we’re careful, we end up creating a Second Life type of existence, living our lives and dreams vicariously through other people.
Right now, we have to make decisions and buy. Watching on, like spectators of our lives, will no longer suffice. Decisions are being made that impact the real world in terms of democracy, freedom and the health of the planet.
They affect our real lives and of those that follow us. If we don’t start choosing, what’s on offer will shrink dramatically, and it will take a long time to get back.