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Words of Caution on Social Media

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 10, 2022 15:25

1 user

Social media is a platform that connects you with millions of people instantly. But that kind of connection is not always positive.

When I was a kid, I thought it would be fun to be a celebrity. Who wouldn't want to be admired, praised, loved, and paid well on top of that, correct? Well, not exactly. Reading some recent accounts of how celebrities or social media stars feel have changed my views on this.

The cliche 'everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame' is not always true--even for celebrities. Social media can make anyone an instant star. You can become a multimillionaire by having a YouTube Channel or being an influencer on Instagram. As social media star Natalie Ellis, herself an Instagram millionaire, points out, all you need is demand, an offer, and an audience to peddle products. Social media can be a great networking tool for instant public exposure--much like a celebrity known for acting or music chops. The lines between traditional celebrities and social media stars have blurred.

How happy are influencers who find themselves gaining instant notoriety? Actress and singer Selena Gomez, who was a megastar via exposure through traditional entertainment routes, has deliberately stayed off social media for over four years. That might seem strange for a 29-year-old woman who had the fifth-largest number of Instagram viewers in the world--with a whopping 310 million followers. That's on top of the fact that she was already a well-known person--different from an up-and-coming (and previously unknown) individual who rose to fame on Instagram, YouTube, or Tik Tok. Gomez told Serena Coady of Self Magazine that since she disconnected, "I am happier, I am more present, I connect more with people."

Social media can be very isolating. Because people are not face-to-face, they feel emboldened to say whatever the hell they feel like saying about anyone--even if it is hateful and insulting. Gomez, to her credit, has spoken publicly about her mental health struggles and resulting bipolar diagnosis. Hostile people say rotten things even about beautiful young performers with talent like Selena Gomez. But life is hard enough. She wisely took herself off social media and said she had never felt better. 

I take umbrage with regular people constantly posting every aspect of their lives for the whole world to see. It's a form of narcissism and instant gratification, according to some psychology experts. The use of social media can uptick narcissistic behavior because the focus is on 'me;' not 'you.' The endless selfies of people I recognize showing every aspect of their lives, from trips, what they eat, where they stay or kissing their significant other got old with me a very long time ago. 

Everything comes with a price. I applaud anyone who can develop a marketing plan to launch a social media income stream. But let's never forget that influencers have taken their lives. Cyberbullying is real. Social media should carry a 'proceed with caution' warning.

 

 

Marion Charatan

Posted on July 10, 2022 15:25

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