We discovered a few days ago that Joe Biden tasked twenty social media experts with the burdensome job of discovering how he can resonate with younger voters. Let’s break that down. Joe Biden has hired twenty experts to find out how he can relate with younger voters through social media. This man hired people to instruct him on how he can meticulously conduct himself in such a way that younger voters like him because his perfectly coordinated actions resonate with their specific wants and needs via social media. This is the so-called reality we live in here in the year 2019.
It is important to make clear one particular point. This is politics, and always has been. Whether it is how someone presents themself on a debate stage for the television, how they sound in an interview on the radio, or what they print on their campaign ads. It’s targeted advertising carefully constructed to appeal to a particular voting bloc. The problem is, social media is taking this too far, and it goes well beyond a political campaign.
The original intention of social media was to help users display an authentic look into their real lives. The intent was to offer viewers a look inside a once private life. The viewers could discover who someone really was. Onlookers would be privy to real-time comments on how someone felt about an issue, or an exact view into what someone’s daily life actually looked like. The goal of social media was to be raw, but in 2019 that hope has all but disappeared.
Celebrities, politicians, athletes, and business professionals have a large presence on social media today. This is all but imperative if you intend to advance your brand for whatever purpose it is. A few years ago, it wasn’t as important, therefore, authenticity through social media was still prevalent. Today, due to media backlash and twitter mobs, it has become dangerous to actually display who you really are, especially when commenting on an issue in real-time. Famous people have gotten themselves into multitudes of trouble surrounding this problem. A one-off comment, an unearthed old picture, or a viral video are all examples of ways famous people have fallen into a publicity nightmare.
Why is this all relevant? It is important that we, the audience, understand the landscape of social media has officially changed. We must realize that the words behind the bold title and blue check mark are not the real thoughts of the famous person we ‘follow.’ We need to comprehend what is really happening behind the scenes. These famous people have teams in charge of managing their brand, and these teams have agendas put in place by the famous person. There is always a motive. They are capitalizing on the ignorance, or blind allegiance of their followers to carry out what it is they want. There is a big difference between a targeted Facebook ad tracking our search history and a famous person influencing us on how we vote, eat, travel, shop, or conduct ourselves in our daily life. One is simply an algorithm connecting dots based on what it already knows about you, where the other is truly trying to capitalize on your own inhibition and lack of individuality.
Blaming famous people in this country is not fair, though. The fact of the matter is they are taking the bait from the line cast out by all of us. This is capitalism. Capitalizing on opportunities by manipulating the landscape to your benefit. Social media presented a unique chance to target people by peddling a brand for whatever success the person hoped to carry out. This happened by followers liking the posts, retweeting the comments, sharing the picture, and acting on the advice presented. Marketing companies realized the trend, convinced famous people to get onboard, and have created an inauthentic monster in the process.
The more and more users sit back and buy the products a famous person on social media told them to buy, or pick a politician because they felt their Instagram Live videos appeared authentic and likable, the more and more this trend continues. Users need to become individuals and make their minds up for themselves. They must stay conscious of their choices, and do their best to not fall prey by blindly following false idols.
But how? Users should rely on reviews from people they actually know, because at least they can trust these opinions. They will already know if there is bias behind the suggestion, but most importantly, they will truly know if it is an honest and authentic recommendation. That’s the products someone should buy and the advice they should take. It is pure and honest. It isn’t something concocted by twenty social media experts. Social media has done an exceptional job connecting us, but why not connect with the people you believe will give you the authentic suggestions that social media originally set out to do.