Social Signaling Through Taste in Aesthetics
Nathan Dennis

Very perceptive, and these days it seems like even our Tech “consumption” is becoming a ‘social signal’. And it’s funny, being an artist, am naturally a longtime Mac user, so it’s simply a familiar ‘tool’. But I’m surprised how often folks dropping by the house will first notice the computer of all things…”oh, you have a MacBook!”, like it “means” something (that is ’til they see my cheapo smartphone, complete with the Rube Goldberg-looking affair I’ve kludged together, to clip it to my hip pocket…)?! ;-p

Modern Technology as a Status Symbol

There are different social norms of showing off tech devices, which tend to vary by culture.

“In Europe, it is common to leave your phone on the table when you eat, ostensibly to check incoming text messages, but there’s definitely an element of showing off,” Greengart says. “In the U.S., we’re more direct. We’ll wave around that iPhone, publicly ask Siri to remind us things, and not-so-casually wear $300 headphones as fashion statements, often without the cord connected.”

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