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When we pay

In the last few posts we have looked at how using money to buy stuff is similar to making social media posts. In this post we will look at the difference in how value is assigned to stuff we buy and in social media.

When we use money, we pay for the things we want before we consume them, yet with social media a post is only 'liked' after it has been consumed. The reason for this is self evident: The shop keeper is not going to let me eat their precious onions before I've given paid for them and also you can't judge whether you 'like' my picture post on Facebook until you have seen it.

Does it matter that the value is exchanged at a different time? In these cases no, but if 'liking' the picture of onions resulted in you receiving an express delivery of curry at your door, then it would matter. But wait a minute, the item of consumption has changed. Now you are receiving curry after 'liking' the post. The picture was just an advert for the curry; the difference is an illusion.

There is a more complex topic that I am brushing over – to do with the paying for written and visual material, or to use the technical term, intellectual property. I'll get to that later, for now it is just important to realise that when a value gets assigned to something, the context is more important than the medium that is used to assign the value.

This post has been short but take a deep breath as the next is a little more complex (Only a little). It looks at the final difference between a monetary transaction and a social network one; that we have a limited amount of money, but an infinite number of 'likes'.

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