Media, Technology, and Education

Conspicuous Consumption

I’ve commented on this blog before about my love of the status update, both on FaceBook and Twitter.  I love reading about what my friends are currently doing and regularly use Twitter myself to update my FaceBook status.  A new website takes the status update to a whole new level. allows the user to link his or her credit card to a status updater.  So every time a credit card purchase is made, the purchaser’s followers are notified of the amount and the place of the purchase.  In addition, the purchase is itemized.  You can also link your Blippy account with your FaceBook account (so your purchases become your FaceBook status) and your Twitter account (ditto your Twitter status).  Then, when you make  a purchase, your status will be changed to something like: “Cathie spent $9.99 at” and the itemization would show you that I purchased the Kindle version of The Given Day by Dennis Lehane.  The site bills itself as: “Blippy is a fun and easy way to see and discuss the things people are buying.”

Ann brought this website to my attention after she read an article about it in Time Magazine.  It was an interesting article by Barbara Kiviat.  The interesting thing about that article is that Kiviat theorized that if people could see what she was spending, she would be shamed into spending less.  But her own behavior, and that of others, showed the opposite.  Instead, people wanted to spend more money to show their followers the cool places they were visiting and the cool things they were buying.  Conspicuous consumption, indeed.

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I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in astrophotography, game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.

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