As we experience a paradigm shift from times when every young person’s dream was to become a 9-5iver to times when our jobs expect us to work round the clock. Times when the jobs our parents do/did for a living seems to go extinct as we embrace what social researchers have termed the era of the entrepreneurial self. Thing is, whether we chose to accept it or not, social media and citizen journalism has opened us up to a world where every post made is regarded as authentic and a representation of who we are.
From the bloggers who chose to write about life, love and everything in between to the vloggers we chose to give 20mins of our time (i still do not understand the logic in posting about your everyday life on youtube for 100,000 viewers to enjoy watching without posting the ‘real’ e.g. your toilet moments’ – but then, what do i know.
Back to the authentic self. You see, researchers like Anita harris are of the opinion that neoliberalism has created a new identity for young people around the world with the help of social media. Young people (in most cases, millennials) develop themselves into a brand identity. Making youths to become performers of their own lifestyle by conducting himself/herself as an enterprise through a vast ensemble of experiences. What is sold and bought are our personal ideologies online (Gordon 1991:42).
In a recent survey conducted by YOUTUBE, people who post and earn a living through vlogs are between the age 16-24 and most of them are girls.
This neoliberal identity is said to have emerged due to the widespread unemployment rate in most countries of the world. Foucault’s discussions on power believes neoliberalism is a sure solution to the various problems facing a static economy. One could argue that the absence of a white collar job can be the reason most young people have turned to social media to vent their frustrations and problems. T
THE TOKS STAR
Although, the idea of vlogging and blogging as a profession has not until recently gathered momentum in Nigeria. However, with the few vloggers are known in Nigeria, a certain lady who introduced the idea of vlogging to Nigerians stands out. Toke Makinwa. She is often tagged as a realist to some and a controversial lady (with the main aim to seek attention) by others. She first started by giving relationship advice and what women ought to do to attract the man of their dreams as her tips had worked for her. Unfortunately, her divorce to her long time boyfriend changed the course of her vlog as she began to question the social construct in Nigeria by advising young women to learn to live wild and free, be independent and open to exploring new things.
Herein lies the problem, inasmuch as these vloggers portray themselves to us with the ‘i am just like you’ tag, which might be true at inception of the vlog but when the endorsements roll in and when the vlog begins to pay the bills, and they are basking in the new euphoria of fame, selling products, endorsing brands and becoming brand ambassadors, should they still refer to themselves as authentic because many of the viewers still live in the illusion of the vloggers reality.
…but then, I am just saying!