It took us a minute to figure out why this headline was so repulsive:
That’s about 55 seconds longer than it deserved.
To sum up: “For more and more millennial couples, a honeymoon is a much longer commitment than a romantic weeklong jaunt to Paris or a beachside hangout in Hawaii — it’s their ticket to quit their corporate jobs and travel the world.”
Why is it so annoying? Why shouldn’t young people (and older people, and whoever) give it all up for a life on the go — and be congratulated for doing so? Why shouldn’t anyone be rewarded for the ingenuity and hustle required to build a career — i.e., construct a brand — around sunrise hot-air balloon trips and sundowners on a bluff overlooking the ocean?
These aren’t, in fact, rhetorical questions. They have an answer.
This niche of “Instagram influencing” is simply the latest previously unexploited terrain yet to be monetized by the gig economy. Just ask #vanlife, as what might have been a soulful countercultural movement may, in fact, be one — but is at least equally a shiny-for-the-sponsors marketing trend.
Airbnb lets us sell off our homes, Uber our cars, Task Rabbit our free time. We now have the ability to monetize previously un-monetizable parts of our lives, and like WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg has said about other aspects of our digital lives, we are new to this, and so we lack the antibodies that will develop over time, and will keep us from indulging in the harmful excesses of a system seemingly built to engender them.
As we continue further down this rabbit hole, we will surely see every aspect of our previously private lives made available for sale: perhaps we are not far from a day when we’ll go to bed with the video camera on just in case someone wants to pay to stream.
Maybe, though, not everything should be for sale. Maybe not everything should be an opportunity to line up sponsors. (Like, say, a vacation meant to celebrate a sacred bond between two people.)
The reason this trend is so annoying is because it represents one more hammer-blow against the wall separating our private lives from our public ones, between the things we do because we simply enjoy them and the things we do to get paid.
We are going to miss that wall once it’s gone.