Connecting v.s. Consuming People

Imani Simpson
3 min readJul 26, 2021


If you can’t call the person you’re “connecting” with then the odds are, you’re consuming them.

The cost of living in an advanced world is deep connection.

I was on Facetime with a friend the other night when we started exploring our thoughts behind content consumption. In this context, the recurring thought was “why are people are so obsessed with other people?”. We were initially talking about my audible blog then started to discuss the latest in sub-cultures. From cancel culture recalling people as if humans are a product (spoiler: we can be). To video content surrounding a popular influencers “What I Ate In a Day.” Let’s break down the difference between consuming people versus connecting with people.


Starting with the definition

To consume is to; Use up a resource. Similar words: Use, Utilize, Expend.
Every time you watch, listen to, read about someone then you are using them. Often under the guise that you are connecting with them.

Companies sell connection but in reality you’re the consumer. Individual creators also sell connection. It’s why 500 million people use Instagrams Story feature daily. I’d compare this feature to snacking. You’re taking tiny bites out of someones day every time you use this feature. It subtly changes your perspective of them and of yourself.

When creators post, they are productizing themselves. Usually, they don’t just post. They are considering trends, filters, captions, the audience, metrics. Thus becoming the product. Sounds like what McDonalds would do for a debut nugget meal right?

Another stealthy form of consumption sold as connection are sub-cultures. These are groups within a larger culture who tend to have unwavering interest in a thing. A positive example of sub-cultures would be Hypebeasts & Hypebaes. Their interest in fashion yields creativity, positive media and digital products like StockX. It’s consumption but a byproduct is inspiration.

A negative example of sub-cultures would be Incels. The term stands for involuntarily celibate. Usually men, who brag online about pleasuring themselves to Instagram models. A byproduct of this is the increased lack of understanding around what it means to be in an intimate relationship. This is an obvious negative.

Creating false bonds does not equal reality. Every time you fantasize, you trick your mind into believing the thing happened. It’s a distorted perspective. Fantasy.

“For the most part, your brain cannot distinguish what’s real and what’s fake.” — David Hamilton, PhD


Connection is simple which is probably why people don’t do it.

It’s easiest to lean into an unlimited reservoir of false connection on social media. It’s become harder to do the basic steps in connecting like;

Calling someone.
Listening to their words.
Processing their emotions.
Giving feedback.
Inviting them over for tea or board games?

I’m keeping this short because there’s no ulterior motives in genuine connection. Just call them, and not from Instagrams call feature 🤦🏾‍♀️ .