The ‘Social Influencers’

So you decide to have a baby. You create a tiny person who you are responsible for. As the baby grows, you teach it how to communicate, you teach boundaries and what is right from wrong.

This little person then goes on to school where they learn to interact, to listen and to understand consequences. There are basic rules to follow.

As they grow older, these lessons are reinforced. They must be aware of what they are saying and how it may effect their peers. They must be respectful of all those around them.

So at what point do these lessons become lost?

Society today has become dehumanised. It hides behind the thin layers of social media and has no concept of consequence any more. It has become too easy to attack and tear each other apart. We have grown men and women behaving as if it is socially acceptable to judge, berate and destroy their peers.

It has become the ‘norm’ to vomit opinions into cyberspace without a thought, the Sarahah app being the latest of the social networking horrors to surface, with many examples of this ridiculous concept being used to victimise it’s subscribers.

You wouldn’t approach someone in a car park and start hurling abuse at them (I hope!), so why would you do it on Facebook?

You wouldn’t go up to someone in a pub and start deconstructing/criticising their appearance, so why post it under their pictures on Instagram? Why do our kids think it is socially acceptable to display every aspect of their bodies on Snapchat?

We have a whole generation now who are trying to recreate the drama of their ‘social influencers’.

But we are all ‘social influencers’ whether we have five followers or five thousand. As soon as our thoughts or opinions are put out there, they have the potential to influence another. And we have a social responsibility to be aware of that. 

The London riots in 2011 were a perfect example of this. They scared the shit out of me. For five days, the core of the issue was completely lost as social media sparked a total breakdown of social morality. People went out to loot and destroy, with no fear of the consequences of their actions.

But then as the riots went on, social media was used to unite people. Messages were sent out to band local people together to protect their businesses and homes from attack. Afterwards, tweets were sent out to maintain the peace, and as #riotcleanup to help tidy the streets.

This was the human element shining through.

Because we are only human, and our actions have a ripple effect across the lives of others. We should respect that, respect ourselves and respect each other.

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