“If you are not paying for the product, you are the product.”
Perry Alexander, Ph.D.
This disturbing and insightful quotation has been applied to the rampant and exponential growth of social media in our lives. Numerous pundits have cautioned that the seemingly free services of connecting people through various social media sites have resulted in an inexorable erosion of our sensibilities and ability to freely choose how we live our lives. The information we choose to view, the choice of our friends and contacts, even the items we purchase are being subtly manipulated by sophisticated algorithms and artificial intelligence utilized by these sites. We think we are freely choosing when in reality, all of our choices are adding more data points to sophisticated computer programs that allow the sites to better manipulate and influence our choices.
This Orwellian vision generates heated discussions across all political and cultural spectrums. The most sinister and existential predictions envision a world controlled by an elite few utilizing these social media sites to direct and control our actions, all under the guise of free will and choice.
We are the product.
This prediction made me reflect upon other things that I have seemingly not paid for. For a time, I was a pantheist, and while I believed in the concept of God, I could not understand the worldview of Christianity and God’s sacrifice for me through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. It seemed too easy. Jesus died for your sins. Confess and repent of your sins and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you do, you will have eternal life and salvation.
It seemed like Jesus was giving salvation away for free. Why would He do this? Like today’s social media sites, was I being manipulated to give up my free will? What about doing good deeds? Being nice to people? Helping charities? Don’t these things make a difference in this world and get you into Heaven? These things DO make a difference in this world but do not get you into Heaven, only faith and belief in Jesus Christ does. How did this happen?
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 (NASB)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
Romans 8:31-32 (NASB)
We did not pay the price for the free gift of eternal life with God, Jesus Christ did. Why did He do this? He loved us so much that He gave His life that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life.
We are the product.
Jesus Christ gave His all to purchase and redeem us with His Blood.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.