Status levels are at the core of who we are.
They change how we spend our time, our money and most of all, our imaginations.
We define ourselves in relative terms, not absolute ones.
More stuff, more power, less this or less that.
Who’s up and who’s down?
Everywhere we turn, we see status roles on display. Some people are moving on up, while others are moving down.
This creates tension, drama and the need for resolution.
Consider the market for luxury goods, last year it was more than 30 billion dollars, spent worldwide, to buy things that were more expensive and probably a little bit nicer than we needed, luggage or perfume or wine or shoes, the list goes on and on.
The idea with the creation of luxury products is that people who wanted to demonstrate their status could spend extra money.
Luxury goods give you a symbol to do this.
Hundreds of years later, this practice continues.
The race for more status, not more than anyone in the world, just more than people in your circle, continues.
The digital world makes it even easier to play this game.
That Instagram, and Facebook, give each one of us a stage, a stage to prance on and show our status.
Social media gives us a stage to humble brag our way into showing that we are just a little bit better than the people around us.
Or if we choose a stage to go to feel badly about ourselves, to experience shame because somebody else is moving up while we are moving down.
It is about saying: “I don’t have much, but I have more than you do…”
These networks are busy calling people around you friends even though you don’t even know them, have figured out how to digitise, how to enumerate, how to rank, how to create a game where we are all the players, but we are not the customers, we are the product.
We are the product so that someone else, the advertiser, can pay money, to reach us.
The thing they are extracting from us, is our attention.
We give our attention, in exchange for avoiding the shame of feeling we are falling behind on status.
We are all captive, on this carousel, the merry go around and around and around playing a status game.
Or some people are using status to extract behaviour from us.
And other people are busy trying to gain status so that in their mind, they can win.