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Over the past century, consumption of commodities and material goods has drastically increased. Americans today appear to consume more than they ever did in the past. This poses the question, why? What has caused society to consume habitually? Many researchers have discussed the persuasive methods used in advertising and the psychology behind consumer behavior. These researchers have primarily focused on TV commercials and newspaper advertisements. However, research has yet to dive deep into social media's role regarding conspicuous consumption. This thesis will explore how the fundamentals of social media have created the most persuasive advertising modality ever seen. This thesis will analyze social media and advertisements to explain how the rhetorical and technical elements influence consumer behavior. These elements include algorithms, social appeals, and consumer research. I will conduct content analysis on previous studies as well as analyze the frequency of advertisement within social media. Rhetorical analysis will be done to display the linguistic elements used to persuade. By doing this, I will draw conclusions on what factors within the social media and advertising industry impact consumer behavior. As social media has become extremely popular, it has evolved into a persuasive and invasive form of advertising that has led to more consumption of material goods than ever before.



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