This is a fun, yet slightly disturbing, look at mansion houses for influencers where people create TikTok videos. The author is a university professor, which makes his insights all the more interesting in terms of the contrast with where some of these young people would otherwise be – i.e. university.
For the past thirteen years, I’ve taught a course called Living in the Digital Age, which mobilizes the techniques of the humanities—critical thinking, moral contemplation, and information literacy—to interrogate the version of personhood that is being propagated by these social networks. Occasionally, there have been flashes of student insight that rivaled moments from Dead Poets Society—one time a student exclaimed, “Wait, so on social media, it’s almost like I’m the product”—but it increasingly feels like a Sisyphean task, given that I have them for three hours a week and the rest of the time they are marinating in the jacuzzi of personalized algorithms.