WSS Opinion: The Cult of Influence

There’s no doubt social media has changed our lives rapidly in the last five to ten years, providing a world that is more open and connected. The way we connect with friends and family is instantaneous and you can connect with people from your past you had long forgotten.

Strangers seem like friends on the internet and even though some online friendships turn into real life friendships, essentially the online friendships aren’t real. What you see online isn’t the whole person, you only see a small snippet of what they are like. There is no guarantee you are going to gel in the real world, which brings me to something I have been concerned with for a while.

Community is great on social media, we follow people who make us feel good about ourselves and who are like minded. However, things start to get worrying when followers call the influencer their leader/ queen bee etc. The cult like, hero worship of

Why do their followers invest so much of themselves and their time to someone they don’t even know? Would the influencer give them a moment in the street if you met them? Do they even know who you are? Probably not. And yet they are the people their followers vehemently involve themselves with, even to the point of abusing and threatening others who don’t like or agree with their “leader”.

Recently, one such influencer had a whinge about how people were asking her questions about her relationship, even though she had just shared she had a fight with her partner earlier in her stories, and one follower ask who it was so they could tell them off.  This is where things are starting to get worrying. This person was ready to defend the influencer who wouldn’t know you from a bar of soap.

I think, when social media rules your life, and it is affecting your relationships with your partner and children, you have to wonder if you need to take a break or cut back. If you are constantly on your phone and not taking time with your partner   or children, how is that affecting them? What is being attached to your phone 24/7 saying to your kids?

My boys are 23, 16 and 13 and really, it is true what they say, kids grow up so fast. Research is showing smartphones do disrupt our relationships with our children on a social and emotional level. They suppress our ability to interact to each other, and this fracturing of interaction can be problematic. Children learn social interaction and communication skills via their parents but what happens when the parents are only interacting online? I guess in years to come we will find out.

You know the influencers who share EVERYTHING on their feeds and stories? The people who share theirs and their children’s toileting habits, their sex lives and other things we really don’t need to know about, but they feel we need to. They literally spend every waking moment on their phone sharing every intimate detail of their lives.

I have never understood why people do this. Do they think they are so interesting that their day to day routine needs to be followed along by others? From my perspective, I think there must be other issues going on with people who do this. Is it attention seeking? Is something missing from their lives that they need interaction from others? Narcissism? I don’t know but when someone elevates themselves to a level higher than others, you have to start to ask the question why?

What is being on devices constantly doing to your own wellbeing? You do have to wonder how many people could actually step away from their phones for a day or longer and how many are addicted?

As you may see on our social media and website, I never post on the weekends. This is family time.

What do you think about social media and influencers?

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