Against the flow

The demons of the unspoken tides of a social media empire


The zeroes and the heroes: between influencers vanity and respected bloggers integrity.


"there are many advantages to cultivating your brand on social media, including that it can help you improve your customer service, allow you to communicate with customers and prospects on a new level, help you engage your audience and reach new audiences, help you build authority, and drive traffic to your website" (Digital Marketing Institute website)

"You have {x} new notifications" - we often pause our day upon the familiar sounds of our smart devices. Whether it is a buzz for an email notification or a new like on one of your social media platforms, they all serve the same goal: looking at your screens. While technology is an inevitable change of our modern lives; its' downsides can, sometimes overcome its advantages, if misused. Let's take the topic of social media presence, in today's day and age.


More and more businesses, from all sizes, is being active on social media to benefit from its endless advantages "there are many advantages to cultivating your brand on social media, including that it can help you improve your customer service, allow you to communicate with customers and prospects on a new level, help you engage your audience and reach new audiences, help you build authority, and drive traffic to your website" (Digital Marketing Institute website). Yes; there are undeniable benefits of setting up a social profile online, but, as it is the case with any matter, it is a sword with two edges - if utilized wrongly; it can lead to unwanted results.


A social media influencer is becoming known to the point that it is recognized as an identifiable term, with its own definition and meaning. Few years ago such term was seldom found and rarely spoken off, now it is the "new black" as one might say. According to the Influencers Marketing Hub, yes it is an actual concept, a social media influencer is "[a person] who has built a reputation for [his/her] knowledge and expertise on a specific topic." - notice here that they identified their influence based on their "knowledge" and "expertise" - two important factors, often missed or ignored all together. While there are vital factors to determine whether a social media figure is influencer or not, mentioned factors are not easily identified or measured.


Lets take the topic of mental health; due to the nature of today's world - a large percentage of the world population is suffering from a mental health issue, and/or a personality disorder. It is very common to find a social media figure suffering, has been. or suffered, from a mental health related problem - specially given the nature of online communities and the pressures dragged with it. Labeling oneself as a mental health expert can be easily illustrated as one of the "gained skills" of a social media figure based on mere personal experiences and encounters.


The issue lies that more and more teenagers. and even adults, are turning to social media figures for mental health advises and use them as easy alternatives to visiting an actual psychiatrist or a therapist. Personall experiences can't be tailored as solid references to help, or advocate others on mental health issues. While a figure can utilize their influence by spreading positivism and offering an additional helping had to their followers, they can't replace actual therapy and should not be recommended as the sole mean to "feel better".


Through my years penetration social media, I have seen many so called "influencers" boldly labeling themselves as mental health experts or advocates, depending solely on ones' own personal experiences. According to Oxford dictionary; the standardized definition of the word "advocate" is "a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy" that entails many responsibilities for the claimer of such a word. For example; one can't "gossip", spread childish behaviors, or utilize their platforms to speak about others while promoting mental health. Once you claim such a title, you should be fair to everyone - not only your supporters, but your rivals above everyone else. The way you reflect your platform is the credit you will gain to your audience, so be fair and just.


Social media continues to be a phenomenon that is not easily understood. It remains a mystery with so many undiscovered layers. The most obvious layer is how influential it is in our world today. It is up to us, users, how we can control its influence and how we can use it to our best interests. Do not get dragged with the stream, sometimes it is good to be against the flow.


Read more: Aya Hassan LinkedIn

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