Sunday, September 17, 2006

Conspicuous Consumption Dot Com

If Thorstein Veblen had been able to forsee the cyber revolution, he would have predicted-or even invented (!)-, the new Website for young people who want to consume extremely conspicuously.

Today's New York Times reports "If the Internet encourages people to share with the world the contents of their souls, Zebo encourages them to share the contents of their homes."

", which went live last Tuesday, is neither salacious nor gossipy. The lists of strangers' possessions is about as interesting as a FreshDirect order. Yet some four million people have joined the free site since January, during its private beta test. . . Most of them are 16 to 25."

But. . . Why?

"Some Zebo members said they like to list what they own because they enjoy maintaining an evolving inventory of what they have and what they crave."

It's a little like MySpace, but "while visitors to MySpace are greeted with the saccharine 'a place for friends' tagline, visitors to Zebo are greeted with a brusque: 'Hi. What do you own."

Other members seem to use the site as a kind of 'registry for every occasion': "'It's great. You can see what your friends like and you can get them birthday or Christmas presents."

Maybe I should start listing my material desires here!

No comments: