“Ego” is the word we habitually use to refer to a sense of self; an awareness of who we are, our identity, and what makes us distinct from others. However, “ego” also indicates a more excessive, overbearing tendency that shows little consideration for another individual’s personality. There’s a reason we describe someone who always wants to be the centre of attention as egocentric, and why we call someone who wants everything for themselves an egoist. And it would appear that egocentrism and egoism, not to mention the tendency to make every experience, every event about oneself, are increasingly widespread phenomena in the social media age.
In this revolution of ever greater expectations (more news, more updates, more followers, more speed), luxury brands have been pulled into social media. They too are expected to act and react at lightning speed by sending instant, meaningful replies to whomever solicits them.
A genuine connection is necessarily real, not virtual. It consumes energy and, for exactly that reason, is made to last.
Luxury brands’ dynamic, and often problematic, arrival on social media has created new conflicts between the human beings who, at the end of the day, form the skeleton and identity of these same brands. Their DNA. Who represents a brand? The creative director, some would say. Others would answer that it is the CEO. To the point one might question whether the outpourings of praise for one or the other in 140 characters refer to what they do and what they invent, or to the brand that hired them to shape its language. A brand’s success on social media is frequently measured by the number of likes and shares – reactions sparked not by a product, a history or an innovation, but by a person. And when that person changes companies, who can say what will become of the wave of interest surrounding them.
When we focus on ourselves, when communication becomes simply an outpouring of ego, we lose sight of what is nonetheless a fundamental element in luxury, however much of a paradox it may seem: the absence of self-interest. A selfless gesture spotlights not the person but the human connection. Luxury goods create connections, elicit longing and express values, and social media should perhaps do more to promote this connection rather than the individual behind it. Because a genuine connection is necessarily real, not virtual. It consumes energy and, for exactly that reason, is made to last. Regrettably, this message has been distorted by so many managers, governed by their ego.