When did life become a popularity contest?
I’ve seen some crazy stuff on social media but when I saw this video that was posted for laughs on Facebook, my heart sank.** This poor girl. Like a large group of social media hopefuls, she was participating in an internet challenge, just trying to do something unique and unusual that would garner online attention and perhaps go viral. When did viral become a good thing? Viral used to be associated with infections and viruses that required medical attention and treatment. Today, going viral is your lifeline to acceptance and popularity. Well, her video did go viral, but probably not for the reason she intended. God bless this sweet young girl and I hope she makes a strong recovery!
Okay, so I know that popularity has always played some role in the middle school through high school years. The challenging years of adolescence and yearning for acceptance used to be just a blip on the map of life. In college, for me at least, popularity seemed much less important. With the transition from high school to a much larger learning environment, there was hardly enough time to navigate my way across campus to the next class let alone time to be concerned with what anyone else was doing. The course load was much heavier and there was a purpose to education. Today, however, we are living in the Land of Likes and Followers, a concept I’m still trying to digest. Gone are the days where we are measured by our talents and skills. Even employers want to know what is your influence in the world and how can they benefit from it. Do you have thousands of friends on Facebook you can market their product to? Do you have a large following on Twitter that will buy whatever you’re selling? Oh, and let’s not forget all the Instagram pictures. The world wants to know where you have been, who you have met and what you have eaten and if it’s worthy, it may just make it onto the “popular” page.
And what about the Like and Dislike buttons? Isn’t it safe to assume that if someone doesn’t hit the Like button it means they don’t like it? Is it really necessary to throw salt on the open wounds of low self esteem and vulnerability by pressing Dislike? I mean seriously, it was loud and clear the first time when they just scrolled past without a second thought. If you didn’t like someone, are you more inclined to tell them to their face or would you simply avoid them? I would love to know the results of a psychological study of individuals who take the time to “dislike” something they see or hear on social media. I’m betting some of them kicked dogs or pulled the little wings off of flies when they were younger! Sorry. Maybe that was too harsh. I suppose I’m just more casual about my disdain for certain things. I will either ignore it or hide it from my timeline if it’s overly offensive to me. But today there are so many different ways to crush a person’s feelings through social media, and hitting Dislike is just one of them.
And what about the good ole Comment box. A wide open space to publicize your innermost thoughts, feelings, and opinions. What happened to the age old expression, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it to yourself”? Of course I’m all for expressing opinions – when solicited. If someone is in the market for constructive feedback, then by all means, opinion away. Constructive meaning it serves a “useful purpose”, “to build up” not to tear down.
Today, if you don’t have a huge following, you’re nothing and that’s a shame. There are so many gifted individuals with amazing talents and wisdom to share with the world but they will never be seen or heard unless the stats are miraculously stacked in their favor.
There’s so much more I can say on this topic but it’s Mother’s Day and I’m going to spend the rest of the day celebrating with my children. If you’re a mother, love your mother or even know a mother – Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for reading this blog post (rant) to the end. Would you please do me a favor? I’m posting a link below to a music cover that my son made with a friend for a contest recently. He never claimed to be the best singer or dancer but he was assigned a song and told to be creative with it. I think it’s great – especially for an amateur! Well, the person with the most Likes won of course and although it wasn’t very creative, it received over 50K Likes compared to my son’s 454. I could care less about contests. I’m just so proud that he was brave enough to “put himself out there”, doing something he loves and having fun with it. A few people have taken the time to Dislike his video (those rotten meanies!) If you watch the video, or even just visit the page, would you do me a favor and write “blog” in the comment box so I know that you were there? I’m also curious about my own blog content writing, and if I’ve written something that you’re interested in or can relate to. Although we’re living in the Land of Likes and Followers, I’d rather have a sincere circle of friends I can share my thoughts and bounce ideas with than a gaggle of followers that travel whichever way the popular wind blows.
Thank you for following my blog! I sincerely appreciate all 20 of you! Lovingly, Kim
**(If you can’t access the link to see what I’m referring to, just Google “girl with corn and drill” video)