Are We Caught In The Web?

A comprehensive look into consumerist patterns on social media

For my project, I have extensively researched three key perspectives in order to access the effects of social media in the context of feeding into consumerism, and in turn, the waste produced increasingly damaging our planet.

  • Social Media marketing
  • Behavioural psychology
  • Waste production

My story, ‘Are we caught in the ‘web?’ a comprehensive look into consumerist patterns on social media.’ Looks into the business perspective allowing an insight into the motivations of social media marketing, the main antagonist in consumer lead waste production for my journey. Delving into behavioural psychology of social media users allowed me to access the attitudes we as consumers have when it comes to engaging with such content, as well as the final outlook from the current waste production humans cause as a result of actions taken from these digital interactions.

This story aims to incite change in the ways in which users practise their social media platforms, to instead encourage earth-conscious content in order to positively impact our attitudes and overcome toxic consumerist behaviours.

This image signifies the symbolism represented through the series, capturing the physical paper trail we leave with each purchase. White negative space leaves room for thought on the question. Red lettering connotes urgency, and the danger consumerism has on waste, therefore our planet. Dim, natural lighting encapsulates dark times if we fail to become more sustainable, echoed throughout each image in this series.

The first image uses natural light to shed authentic ‘light’ onto the blindness we have towards consumerist behaviours. A shopping bag over the head embodies the hold it has over us – to have more. The mid shot reveals hands tied as if in handcuffs, by the devices that feed into these attitudes. The tone is inspired by Sean Mundy’s body of photography work.

This close-up exemplifies the demise of humanity once our overconsumption destroys the earth. The props of ‘likes’ spilling out of the mouth indicate the attitude of influencer culture, marketing content feeds into the notion of us buying what they have to offer, equals success in the digital world. Introducing social media as a conflict.

The strong message imprinted onto human skin, signifies the intimacy of the personal story angle, as well as the relationship it has on our individual lives. Once the planet is ruined, as is our pleasure. The shadow created on the background characterises the doom creeping closer towards us if we continue to produce waste carelessly/selfishly.

The dead flower symbolises the natural world, suffocated by waste materials and plastic. The slightly off centre shot represents the abnormality of this outcome, and the focus is solely on this message. This is to evoke realisation of our current actions. Whilst a constructed image, as is our life on digital platforms – an alternate reality that we curate with our digital footprint.

The final image uses warm lighting opposing the other images, to connote hope in changing our actions. The hands ripping our paper-trail puts the power into our hands, we are the positive change post realisation. We break the cycle. The movement of the rip shows the movement we can make when we consciously use social media to shape better views and deny unnecessary shopping culture.