Let’s admit it—we see Kim Kardashian everywhere. I don’t necessarily like her, her family, or the consequent TV show/product endorsements/anything to do with the Kardashian clan; but like her or not, I’m forced to keep up with this family because of their presence on social media. Deny it all you want, I don’t care, but the fact of the matter is, this woman is probably one of the most successful social media users on the planet. She’s everywhere—and I seriously mean everywhere. Going down her impressive list—28.2 million Twitter followers; 25,176,521 Facebook fans, 25.1 million Instagram followers—having Kardashian-West’s numbers is something that only exists in my dreams (or nightmares; I’m not sure how I’d feel about it, really).
All this being said, my blogpost today is yet another Kim Kardashian post. Although I’m somewhat reluctant to do so because I really don’t like encouraging the pervasive presence of the Kardashians, I stumbled across Kardashian-West’s latest Super Bowl ad for T-Mobile.
The commercial addresses the issue of “lost data,” where cell phone carriers taking away unused data at the end of a customer’s billing period. She reasons with the audience that they should fight back (by switching to T-Mobile) as lost data will result in missed opportunities to see “my make-up, my back hand, my outfits, my vacations, and… my outfits” with each scene showing her taking a selfie. Seeing her social media statistics, this commercial is an effectively comedic way to coerce people into switching wireless providers in order to “save the data” to continue following her every move on social media.
This reminded me of chapter two in Jill Walker Rettberg’s “Seeing Ourselves Through Technology,” where she defines a “neoliberal subject.” A neoliberal subject, in Silicon Valley social media-developers terms, is one who “‘attends to fashions, is focused on self-improvement, and purchases goods and services to achieve “self-realization.” He or she is comfortable integrating market logics into many aspects of life, including education, parenting, and relationships. In other words, the ideal neoliberal citizen is an entrepreneur’.” If a neoliberal subject were to win a “best and most” category in their high school yearbook, they would win “most likely to succeed in social media, most likely to gain followers on Twitter and most likely to have their Facebook posts filtered into your newsfeed.” In this respect, Kim Kardashian-West qualifies as a neoliberal subject.
Still, with all that being said, I still hate Kim Kardashian-West. I’m just so sick of seeing her on my social media feeds; but hey, the exact reason why I hate her is what makes her successful.