I was going to write a fluffy post today.
No I really was, it was going to be looking back at 2018. And about how it was a year of personal acceptance and growth and then I got a bee in my bonnet about something.
It all started with an innocent conversation about social media with my two eldest. Thankfully neither of them are particularly interested in social media and have only a few platforms. My eldest, who has autism and is literal, turned to me and stated he couldn’t see the point of it. His exact words were “the people who you would really want to talk to, don’t want to talk to you.”
Now many of you know that I have A LOT to say about social media on any given day of the week. Which is totally ironic given how much I use it, but I really do believe that so many of us miss the point of it completely. The word “social” in social media kind of gives the game away, but if we were being honest it’s far from social. I’ve blogged extensively about how I feel that social media is a selfish, number lead and toxic place. Something I have noticed more and more is Blue Tick (verified) snobbery. This seems more prevalent in the world of celebrity (urgh) and a few who think they are!
Last night I googled the most followed celebrities on Twitter. Top of the list is Katy Perry with 107 million followers. First of all wow, jut wow. I admit I was suitably impressed with that, and then I looked at who she herself was following. Now first of all, let’s get a few obvious things out the way. In some cases celebrities don’t run their own Twitter accounts, it’s just another cog in a large PR wheel. Those who do run their own accounts are absolutely free to run them just how they please, as I do mine. Also when you have large, no huge, alright enormous numbers of people following you, it’s damn near impossible to follow everyone back. There is also no value in it. How could you possibly listen/read to that amount of internet chatter on a daily basis? You just couldn’t. Back to Katy Perry, she follows just 216 people.
BUT, I can’t understand what value there is in just creating another platform in which to advertise yourself. Surely your website or an app can do that job for you? Another thing I’ve noticed is that the people who celebrities follow tend to be other celebrities. Isn’t there a WhatsApp group somewhere called “Exclusively Gorgeous Ones” that you can join?
Barack Obama impressed me. He has 104 million followers and follows back an impressive 617k, and a quick trawl through seemed to suggest that there was just as many non blue-ticks as there was blue ticks. Then there was Taylor Swift who didn’t impress me. She has 83 million followers and doesn’t follow one person, not even one solitary blue tick.
I sort of understand that there are safety concerns attached to following fans, other followers, call them what you will. It opens up the direct message ability (you might be able to disable that, I’m not sure) and perhaps you don’t want your timeline cluttered with chatter about menial mortal drivel? It’s also completely understandable that you may not want to receive hundreds of requests for autographs, or people proposing. Maybe you only want to see your well-known pals talk about themselves, or point out facts that most of us had managed to work out already. But to not follow anyone completely misses the point of Twitter, or any other social media platform, and it just smacks of over inflated ego.
Lady Gaga has 77million followers, and although it took her over a year to start following anyone, she is now one of the most engaged well-knowns. She follows 126k, which compared to Barack Obama is still poor but she does engage and follow fans. Some would say that it has contributed to her continued success and her fans certainly feel acknowledged and valued. And lets face it we all like to be acknowledged and valued, especially by those celebrities or people in general that we find interesting.
I personally follow very few famous people. Mostly because I find celebrity tweets a bit uninspiring and removed. I really like the celebrities who quite literally don’t give a you know what! Their tweets are raw, unapologetically real and unafraid to offend. Understandably there are not many of those around! Ultimately I think it’s quite sad that celebrities using these platforms that were made for engagement, just aren’t. It misses the point and what’s the harm in making a few fans feel valued and included?
Hope you all had a really good christmas. And I wish you all a Happy New Year!!