As we move away from more traditional news sources, like print and mainstream news outlets, more and more people are looking to social media for find out what’s going on in the world.
Influencers are defined in the Cambridge dictionary as:
“a person or group that has theability to influence the behaviour or opinions of others”
Now there are many different types of influencers. In areas including shopping, gaming and of course politics.
I’m going to concentrate on political ones, because of the experiences I have had.
Now anyone can make news
In the world of politics, social media had given us many good sources of information and many, not so good.
Anyone can have an opinion and publicize it. If enough people start to follow you, you then become part of steering their views based on what you post.
Now of course there’s nothing wrong with this, many topics that wouldn’t be covered by traditional media are born this way.
It’s when you become so single viewed that anything else is unacceptable that things become more difficult.
For example: There are many people who support political parties online. Most are realistic and know that their party isn’t perfect, but they believe, they do a better job than the others.
Then there are the people who think that their party can do no wrong. When they see something not inline with their view they attack it.
Now criticism is fine, it’s actually healthy and good ideas can occur because of it. But all out bashing someone even after they’ve realised the conversation is going nowhere is pointless.
I employ blocking or muting people on twitter frequently. If we aren’t going to agree and it becomes repetitive, it’s easier and less stressful to nip it in the bud. No harm done you just don’t agree.
Throwing the toy’s out of the pram
When an someone is blocked in a conversation, they will frequently publicise that fact. Now my point comes.
If you have a large following and you do this, (often by screen grabbing their profile and berating them for blocking you), do you think this is responsible?
I mean surely you must be aware that some of your followers will then go to that account to interact in some way? Most likely not very kindly either.
The; “if you can’t take criticism you shouldn’t be online” line, irritates me somewhat too. There’s criticism, then there’s trolling. Two very different things. Trying to justify trolling is just plain ignorant.
Criticism is disagreeing with someone else’s view and providing what you believe, is a better view or idea. Quiet often you learn things this way. I know I have.
Trolling is just targeting a person based on their view. Even after they’ve stopped interacting.
In my case someone didn’t like the fact I won’t directly politicise the #FoodBankChallenge, by calling for “nominate a Tory”. Now people are free to do this themselves, that’s their choice.
My immediate concern is getting much needed donations to foodbanks so those suffering from food poverty can have a meal.
To then say “I’m not donating to any foodbank who doesn’t call out the Tories”, is putting your view before people’s health and well-being.
The reason I won’t tag Tories etc constantly is: the challenge raises awareness of the rise in use of foodbanks, which then leads to the question of, why? It then becomes clear to people that Universal Credit is the driving force in this. I’m not politicising it because I don’t need to.
I explain this then what? My authenticity is questioned and you launch into a spree of knocking foodbanks, and just creating a monolithic, (single), message: I’m right your wrong, end of.
Low and behold the trolling began, even after I apologized for any misunderstanding.
It escalated even. I’m normalising them, “it’s scummy”, boasting etc.
The way I see the challenge is that, it engages people in a way that leads to positive and constructive debate, whilst helping the most vunerable people in society at the same time.
Nobody likes foodbanks being required, quite the opposite, but unless someone has a magic “feed everyone now” button, they need our help now, desperately. Or people will starve.
We can still rally for change at the same time.
If people don’t want to publicise their donation that’s fine, but if they do that’s their choice and demeaning them is just spiteful and shows lack of compassion.
I suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, which is on my profile. So I can react in a way that people think is; out of proportion. I can’t help that.
BPD is black and white. Happy or sad. No in-between just polar opposites.
I’ve got think how I’ll go forward. It’s not as easy as people think. The support has been amazing and I’ve made many friends. But, I’ve been hurt a lot. Now by an account I actually liked.
If you have a large following, please think about the other human being you are naming or calling out before making something out if nothing.
Don’t forget to join in and make a difference to people in need of food and basic things like soap or feminine hygiene products.
Plus you’ll be raising awareness of why they are needed helping to raise the profile of this important crisis.