Back in the day, young people used to proudly proclaim, “Do your own thing.” Today a more common refrain is, “What do my peeps think?” A constant immersion in social media creates a hive mind. It seems that before the consumer commits to a choice, decisions large and small – where to eat, what to wear, whom to like – first need to be validated by his or her social network. Consumer decision making by committee is the new normal.

This chapter explores some of the important ramifications of an organic, global consumer culture with digital inhabitants that engage in an almost constant process of impression management and collaborative consumption. In this hive mind, consumers give and take guidance about buying decisions, and in the process continue on an ongoing project to define and redefine their social identities.

A range of issues are addressed, including the impact of a digital metaverse on public self-consciousness and purchase decision making, both online and offline. Life in this evolving metaverse influences many pressing issues in consumer behavior, such as the individual’s digital brand, ideals of beauty and standards of social comparison, mental health, self-regulation and biohacking, and cyberbullying and privacy.