Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.John Steinbeck
Twitter and other social networks provide a digital version of the American dream: you too can be an influencer if you work hard enough and believe in yourself!
As we’ve seen with TikTok, there are powerful algorithms at play beneath of the surface of mainstream social networks. These are valuable commodities, because they provide data which is monetised for the sake of company shareholders.
Even during the pandemic, Wall Street is booming. Why? Because more of our interactions are digital, and therefore can be mediated by networks which are owned by people selling your attention to advertisers.
Influencers are the enablers of social networks and adtech:
Enabler (n.) One who encourages a bad habit in another (typically drug addiction) by his or her behaviour.
Mainstream social networks like Twitter and Instagram are designed to fuel addictive behaviours. However, much like Steinbeck’s comments on the American dream, it is users’ feelings of being temporarily embarrassed influencers that enable them.