Monday, November 12, 2007

Teen culture

"If I don't receive a text when I wake up or I receive only a few messages during the day, I feel as though nobody loves me enough to remember me during the day."

This quote comes from the report of an online correspondent on Manila's "GenTxt." It immediately made me cringe. Are teenagers really this reliant on text messages, that they can't feel like anybody LOVES them if they don't receive enough messages? It also seems like mobile companies might be exploiting these insecurities for profit. By charging for text messages, the more SMS's fly the better; this teenage reliance on messaging might be making these companies a significant chunk of change. At the same time, I'm really only familiar with the American problem of expensive texting; in Manila, texts might be much less costly. I'm still curious about emotion as a commodity, though; the more invested mobile companies can get their consumers in their products, and the greater extent to which they can make these gadgets another limb, the more money they will make. And not just on text messages; on advertising, products these ads eventually sell, future purchase of updated gadgets... etc. etc. This may make Rheingold's emphasis on "refusal" that much more important; if you don't want your emotions commodified, you might have to just say no.

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