Essays on Technology and Culture

The Scary Reason Why Brands Say “Bae”

“Businesses today are obsessed with being social, but what they typically mean by this is that they are able to permeate peer-to-peer social networks as effectively as possible. Brands hope to play a role in cementing friendships, as a guarantee that they will not be abandoned for more narrowly calculated reasons.”

How friendship became a tool of the powerful | William Davies | Media | The Guardian

And now you know why brands say “bae.”

There’s a lot of gold in this piece, including the idea of altruism being co-opted to simply reinforce market capitalism. It’s not enough to just sell our eyes and our data to advertisers. The idea of the “friend” itself is being neoliberalized into another market-based unit with its own economic value that’s far more important than the touchy-feely stuff it used to imply.