mnmlist: walking ads

Minimalism is a pushing back against the trend to turn people into pure consumers, into commodities, into a market-place mechanism.

We’ve lost sight of the simple truth that we need none of these products being pushed on us by marketers and advertisers.

We’ve forgotten that we need very little, and so we buy so much.

And we are oblivious to the fact that corporations use us as advertisements and marketing tools.

I find that disturbing. It’s disturbing in the first place that we’re being used like this, but even more disturbing that we don’t realize it and willingly participate in it.

When we wear things with the logos and slogans of the companies whose products we use (Apple, Nike, Prada, Gucci), we are doing their advertising for them. We are walking billboards. When we tweet about their new products, we aren’t just sharing cool things with our friends, we are playing into their hands. When we post reviews of new gadgets — or read them daily — we are not just sharing and researching good information, we are a part of the marketing machine.

I’m as guilty as anyone, but I think it’s time for us all to reflect on this.

Let’s not be marketers for companies, no matter how cool we think they are. Let’s not identify ourselves by what we buy and use, but what we create and how we help others.

Let’s reject advertising as the dominant form of conversation these days, and rediscover true human interaction.

I think we not only deserve this, we need it.