Growing up in the digital age has many benefits. As a population, we are more connected than ever, and in platforms like YouTube, there’s been a recent uprising in a new type of connection: relatability.
Popular YouTubers like Shane Dawson Emma Chamberlain, and Hannah Meloche have made the notion that they, all varying degrees of millionaire, are, in fact, just like us, regular civilians. They go online and say the same droning monologue about how they “have no friends” and are “actually really poor,” but their mansions beg to differ. However, people really fall for it, and these YouTubers are capitalizing off it. In fact, this phenomena has extended beyond YouTube, and into the realm of big media corporations, like our beloved Netflix.
I, like many other hip Gen-Z’ers, am following Netflix on Instagram, mostly to keep up with any new “Stranger Things 4” and “Black Mirror” related things, but lately, I’ve been on strictly business mode. About a week ago, I went on to Netflix and randomly selected a post with the picture of David Corensewet from the new show “The Politician” to suss out what Netflix had to “say” about it. The post had a rather quirky caption with the simple statement “He’s got my vote” and at first I was like “Ha, ha! Same!” but I quickly realized I was sharing a laugh with a bot. In that sobering moment of realization, I thought to myself, “Are all of their posts like this?” and soon confirmed that, yes, all their posts are like that. Almost all the captions include the word “I” and “me” and if I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought it was a fan account or something. But no, it was Netflix, the same Netflix who recently raised the price of all of their plans (yaaay) and is the world’s seventh-largest internet company by revenue.
I then contemplated the idea of who exactly was behind this million dollar company by day, meme account by night deal. Was it Reed Hastings, the CEO, was he secretly an edgy teen who also “stans” Noah Centeineo? Cole Sprouse, like so many fan theories support? Or was it just some random person who was bored and hacked Netflix, and Netflix is too busy rolling in their millions to realize? Whoever or whatever it is, it’s working.
In passing, I’ve noticed that most people like to hear someone else tell them about themselves, but not in person because then, it hits different. I guess it’s just one of those weird human things, and Netflix is feeding that desire to see your own thoughts, or at least what they think are your own thoughts, projected onto a screen, so you too can have that “Ha, ha! Same!” moment. And this isn’t just a Netflix thing, either. Instagram and Twitter accounts of companies such as Buzzfeed, Paper Magazine, and my personal favorite, the SunnyD official Twitter account, are all using this marketing tactic too, and from what I can see, it’s generally well received by the targeted demographic, the lit youths.
In the end, checking out these pages was a positive experience, but I give this strategy of publicity a 9/10, because while I don’t want to admit it, I can definitely see myself finding it redundant and ultimately annoying in the very far future.