Even though this article’s publication was only six years ago, the ways that technology has advanced is evidenced in the outdated supportive evidence which Rettburg provides (like Facebook not allowing you to post gifs) (23). Something which has remained a constant, and which I believe has actually grown to be a larger part of our virtual-social realities, is Marwick’s position that social media platforms filter content based upon the poster’s conformance to practicing and presenting their digital footprint as one of the “effective neoliberal subject” (23). The players in capitalism’s ever-evolving digital playground hold stakes in technological filters conforming to and promoting cultural filters—the one’s that tell you to be thinner, have “clearer” skin, cover up with this makeup brand, introduce your body with these garments. Capitalism thrives off of social media filters’ implicit messages of who is acceptable and good content, and how they arrived to this point of “good” and therefore desirable—with the products that encourage our cultural/physical/mental filtering of self, a form of self-policing to adhere to the neoliberal state’s expectations.
Even though I recognize this each time I open Instagram, I still find myself following influencers who may have knowledge (or products) for “self-improvement”; I still find myself interacting with the ads Instagram gives me, even though I’m aware of the filters which have designed this content promotion to target me and my perceived interests specifically. What does resistance to the neoliberal order look like when we are increasingly (especially at a time when, for those of us who are so privileged, our lives have literally become “remote” and “digital”) dependent upon the internet and social feeds and apps to maintain relationships, personal and professional, and to conduct work necessary for our survival or circumstances (i.e., to get your paycheck, to continue school because you’ve already taken out the loans, etc. . . .)? At a time of public crisis and collapse evidencing capitalist structures’ shortcomings all around us, what does our dependence upon “essential workers” (grocery store workers, garbage collectors, water service folk . . .) who cannot operate in a remote/digital capacity have to say about the limitations or necessary exclusions which the neoliberal order facilitates? What does it say especially when considering the negative narratives and rhetorics we’d built around such essential occupations before, when the rest of us could “work normally”?