Brands use social media to sell stuff. Brands also entice people to use their opinions and presence on line to sell stuff through “tricks” of the social media trade i.e., buying followers, “likes” and positive sentiments.
Would you consider such acts as a form of prostitution?
The word “prostitute” is derived from the composition of “pro” meaning “up front” or “forward” and “situere”, defined as “to offer up for sale”. A literal translation therefore would be: “to put up front for sale” or “to place forward for sale”.
Given the above definition one might say that getting paid for your “social presence and for specific online actions” is a form of prostitution. This creates a moral dilemma when someone is paid to create a false impression about the value of something they either have no idea of the value or they know the value is low while claiming it to be high. In other words people get paid to prostitute their opinions for money. I think it is labeled as a professional discipline called “marketing”.
Marketing is not the only form of “social prostitution” that creates moral dilemma’s . People face moral dilemma’s at work all the time. The company says one thing and does another yet employees don’t speak up because, well they are paid to shut up. An executive makes a decision that employees know is wrong yet the fear of retribution inhibits them from speaking up and doing the right thing. Executives create false numbers to satisfy shareholders and the CFO doesn’t say anything. A
n executive gets challenged for their behavior by a manager and then attempts to destroy the challenger by creating false rumors and negative spin. We all have seen it and many have suffered because of it. In essence when an individual or organizations gives up their moral compass for economic gain they are prostituting themselves for money.
There is nothing wrong with making money but giving up your soul for money will never create real value. The Social Era represents the pursuit of value whether money is involved or not.