Digital marketing might be shaping our entire life & we don’t even care.

I was at ‘It Happened In New York’ for a Sunday brunch when my friend asked whether my top was from an online store she frequented. I was amazed at how she remembered everything in-detail about that store (and the top). While I knew that fast fashion had its cons of triteness, I simply believed that no one else would ever buy from this store because it isn’t very popular.. yet.

I realised I had stumbled upon that store because an ad-popped up on my Facebook page… and that I'd seen one of the fashion bloggers I follow on Instagram had worn something like that… and mentioned the brand. What I forgot was that she got paid for it. (And that’s great.) While I, on the other hand, had conveniently swiped a handsome amount on my card.

For the unawares of fashionland, these style icons make a splendid revenue per post via endorsements. These women and men have revolutionised business in the true sense by simply leveraging their sheer love for clothing and accessories in combination with the flair by which they use social media. Heck, I do follow a few of them and I do feel like owning my own closet with character and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.. yet.

From traveling to Croatia for an epic night at Hvar to picking a restaurant for the best Thursday nights in town after a long day at work, I am slowly and steadily being fed information on how I can potentially plan the rest of my week, month, year — and it does not matter if I want it or not. I have become a statistic — a consumer profile. A friend once mentioned that if he is traveling he will make it a point to check #BruisedPassports and will feel mighty comfortable if they have mentioned the place on their page. And yes, he was aware that they are getting paid for it.

There are several pages I love to follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr. But I am getting sick of my privacy being taken for granted by AdWords or some black book playing on my FOMO by telling me that I would be silly to miss out on ‘Whacky Wednesdays for the Ladies’, or seeing too many posts about how to better manage my PCOS because I searched for it yesterday. Somehow, it made me believe every other woman I know is struggling.

But most importantly.. I do not know who is speaking the truth anymore.

As a budding digital marketeer/content writer myself, I struggle daily to keep it real, to not take my readers for granted and definitely not lead them into believing that they need something completely unnecessary. That said, would I walk away from one lakh rupees because I don’t want to endorse something I don’t believe in? I can’t say. No one can. But can we try? Sure.

Digital consumers are like toddlers — 1) They are easy to distract. Show them an aspiration, they will drop everything to listen to you for 42 seconds, 2) They start crying if their need is not met. They think they hold the power over you via a tweet 3) And finally, they will always want tastier food — your food will never be ‘it’.

The problem is that we are actually treating digital consumer like toddlers.

We are fighting for their attention and are rarely able to give what is best for them. Most industries have ethical and moral boundaries defining the discipline, but those lines get really blurry when it comes to marketing and consumerism.

As a digital consumer I might be done — It is when I get cynical that I know I have reached my tipping point. But as a marketeer, I want to figure out a way before everyone else does.

It is perhaps clear that I did not get paid to mention It Happened In New York — but it did provide me with an amazing vegan spread.

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