‘A love note to our future selves’: the coaching imperative in platform cultures

Authors

  • Panos Kompatsiaris National Research University Higher School of Economics

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.38140/aa.v55i2.7727

Keywords:

life coaching, platforms, inspirational capital, self-labour, social technologies

Abstract

This article looks at the imperative of life coaching on media platforms as a broader social technology and a technology of the self. Life coaching suggests that a better future self can be achieved through the constant training of one’s personality, body, taste, preferences, emotions, image, communication skills, and a myriad of other life aspects. I understand the coaching imperative as a wider mandate of self- improvement standing at the crossroads of the wellness and spirituality industries (e.g. mindfulness, yoga, self-help), the body industry (e.g. fitness, health, exercise), guidance and counselling (e.g. ‘how to become a millionaire’, ‘how to become an alpha male’) and the affordances of media platforms. Using literature on micro-celebrities and platform studies as well as research on life coach training programmes, books, and instructions, I argue that the ‘self’ in this narrative is an ongoing project, constantly under supervision and reframing. The imperative to improve assembles a productive process composed of technical infrastructure, e.g. self-tracking devices, tests, and apps, and labour power, e.g. self-labour, the labour of the therapist, the coach, and the analyst.

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Published

2023-12-06