When a TV show or football game or youtube video sells an ad to a company, what are they actually selling? They’re not just selling time on the air, they’re selling you. You are their real product (especially in social media). Parents, your kids are their product. You, as a consumer of a certain TV show or viewer of a certain youtube video, become the product of that show or site that they then sell to companies that want to advertise. They are buying your time, your resources, and your energy.
Let me clarify, I am not opposed to TV, youtube, or radio, I use all 3. I am not even opposed to advertising, though I do hate ads and thanks to binge-watching and streaming services watch far fewer of them than I once did. This is not a post about the evils of the advertising market or media that has a certain political persuasion. What I hope to do, is convince you to be aware and deliberate with…well…with your “self.”
First, be aware of your value. You were created by God. Not you generally, as in everyone was created by God, but you specifically (Psalm 139:13). You (if you are a Christian) are adopted by God (Galatians 4:7). You are worth far more than this world can ever know or pay. Know your value.
Second, be aware of how what you consume affects you. We have developed a basic understanding of nutrition in our society. We understand that if all we eat is Sour Patch Kids and Doritos, our body is not going to operate effectively… and we’re going to get fat. What you consume with your mind also affects you. Pay attention to who/what you are giving access to yourself.
I kept hearing about “haul videos” from my students. Haul videos are essentially videos where a person buys a bunch of stuff from a site (Amazon, Wish, eBay, etc…) and then shows themselves opening it and using it or wearing it. I decided to watch a haul video, so I watched a wish haul where a woman tries on a bunch of cheap clothing she bought on Wish.
The video is clean, it doesn’t show anything you wouldn’t see walking through the mall, actually, you’d probably see more walking through the mall. I think the content provider’s intent is to review the quality of the stuff. But there is no denying, she is selling a lifestyle and a culture. Additionally, I know after some research that she is sponsored by several companies. They are buying your time when you watch her videos. They are putting you in their basket. Will you let yourself be sold into their picture of what the world and you should look like?
Think of it this way, companies don’t really sell something to you, they sell you into something. They sell you into a style of clothing. They sell you into a diet. They sell you into a TV show. They are convincing you to give yourself (your time, your money, your emotions) to them. Again, I’m not telling you to stop buying designer clothing, watching TV, or anything like that. I am encouraging you to be aware of what you’re paying and how what you consume affects you.
The world and Jesus are fighting a battle over yourself. He has paid the price for you, bought you with his blood, his death on the cross. If you are a Christian you belong wholly to him. Pay attention to who else is buying you.