I don’t know if you have noticed, but social media has become a place to sell your personal brand. What was once a place to post photos and life updates without a care in the world is now a marketplace and a tool used by brands and influencers alike. The danger in mixing a formally personal platform and advertisements, both overt and semi-convert, is that we as users start to believe there is this fire underneath our butts to compete in this race for “clout.” The pressure to be relevant and stay relevant is a foggy endeavor that more or less ends in us blurring the lines between what we enjoy and what makes us money.
It may be hard to believe, but we were all once children who had very clear interests and hobbies. Before peer pressure and social media, we used to full send into interests with curiosity and the classic “falls down and gets right back up” attitude. Nowadays, it has become harder for adults to pursue their hobbies without that haunting thought lingering in the back of their heads, nagging them to seek perfection in hopes of commodifying it. Whether it’s becoming a master at a craft and selling yourself as an authority on the matter or collecting a variety of interests and culminating it into a marketable personality type, the fact that we have subscribed to this idea that we need to constantly be working even when we are off the clock is heartbreaking and damaging.
The idea of staying busy came from boomers. They lived through times with limited job availability and were incentivized to work past expected work hours as a means to keep their jobs. This practice that was passed down to us in addition to seeing a social media feed of our peers in constant motion with their lives, both personal and professional, causes anxiety and a need to continuously work and prove our societal worth.
Hobbies are meant to be a form of personal exploration. It’s one of the very few spaces in our lives where we can roam freely and experience the spectrum of joy, curiosity, failure, determination, disappointment, etc. It’s supposed to facilitate personal growth and allow us the time to figure out what makes us happy and gives us the agency to figure out our skills and capabilities. If we attempt to commodify our hobbies, how can we take inventory ourselves and know for certain that we are doing this for us and not an audience?