The rise of pity marketing

The act of seeking pity on social media has become a lucrative route to engagement and attention. Many people now share sob stories, particularly about professional failure, in an apparent bid to gain support and promotion from strangers. This trend has been evident in recent months, with examples including a writer sharing a photo of an empty reading and a young woman posting on TikTok about her mother’s failed Christmas decorations. Pity marketing, while effective in the short term, can diminish the value of success earned on merit and inflate the value of mediocre work. This shallow metric of success is likely to become more prevalent but rarely provides long-term benefits.

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