Lifestyle is a theory that has been around since the Greeks. It is described as a pattern of behavior that informs and influences an individual’s choice of choice. The theory is made up of a few essential parts. These are the attitudes, interests, behavioral patterns, and orientations of a person, family, or society. The word was introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his 29th book, The Case of Miss R. With the implied meaning of “the basic nature of a person as established early on”.
A part of the philosophy of this book is called, “civic Lifestyle”, which places an emphasis on building positive lifestyles. Some of these are: being civic, being a good listener, a caring citizen, being responsible, having integrity, respect for the environment, for others, and so on. This book is not focused on one single thing, but rather the common threads of life. This book also contains some interesting curiosities like, “Zip-list – zip-list!” and “What’s your focus group?” These questions and many more kept the readers interested and involved in their own way.
Another interesting aspect of the book is the focus on the use of social media, specifically Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, FourSquare, etc. to facilitate this shared social life. In this book, Houghton includes a variety of examples on how various cultures across cultures utilized social media to enhance their lifestyles and build strong social networks.
With regards to the book’s use of social media, Houghton begins with, “Zimmer” which is a “self-contained microcosm of the cultural phenomena of the contemporary Middle East.” He then goes on to present a fictional story about a young woman, amia, who is an avid user of Facebook and Twitter. The novel ends with a profile picture of a Polaroid picture taken by a friend of hers. The friend comments on the photo and notes that the Polaroid is “distorted.” Houghton explains that this distorted image was generated by using the zoom function of the camera on the social media sites.
The next chapter “Wolves, Wolf packs, and People” describes the social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Houghton uses Wolf Pack and People clusters to describe different elements of individual behaviors. Houghton then uses a metaphor from marketing to explain social media. He compares two wolves, wolf pack and human population. He then describes how certain elements of the human population are affected by the behavior of these groups and how these elements can be used to improve a person or a lifestyle.
The last chapter, “Encountering Culture with Community” describes what it took for Lifestyle writers Andy Lewis and Victoria Bee to transition into the role of a lifestyle blogger. They note the difficulties they encountered in the beginning and they address current challenges and some of the common complaints they hear from readers. It includes a short review of the blog by Jon Benson where he relates how he used caffeine withdrawals to combat writer’s block. The book ends with a brief reflection on what it means to be a lifestyle blogger and an account of the steps and inspiration Lifestyleocrats have discovered. The book as a whole serves as a call to action for all lifestyle bloggers.