In this week’s reading, Adam Arvidsson introduces the idea of consumption as immaterial labor.  I found his discussion of this topic to be a great platform to discuss the concept of haul videos in general.  In various topics we have discussed in class so far, the concept of the role of the audience has been extremely relevant.  As Arvidsson states, “Historians have argued that modern consumers should not be understood as the passive victims of producer interests, but that they have actively engaged in the social construction of the value of consumer goods” (p.242).  Furthermore, Arvidsson also states that, “consumption produces a common in the form of a community, a shared identity or even a short lived ‘experience’ that adds dimensions of use-value to the object” (p. 242).  While it is easy to blame the producer for the growing obsession with consumer culture amongst citizens today, analyzing haul videos changes this perspective.  When a consumer makes a haul video, he or she is certainly not being “passive,” but instead is actively participating in generating a new use-value of the object.  They use the act of creating videos and showing off their purchases as well as their expertise on knowing about exclusive sales and deals to achieve a kind of a level of status and cultural capital.  They create a different use-value for the commodities than was intended by the producer.  As Arvidsson says, the creation of a community revolving around these commodities adds another “dimension of use-value to the object”  (p. 242).  For instance, when the consumer purchases clothing and then creates a haul video based on the purchase, the use value of the object changes to become a tool for the person to obtain a following of viewers and therefore achieve credentialed cultural capital.

Overall, the production of haul videos is a way that individuals seek to generate a sense of community but also to manufacture an image in the social media domain.  Furthermore, the haul video creators are successful in their attempts to create a new dimension of use-value of the objects that they purchase.

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