The first thing I want to say right now, is that I’d love if you read this whole post, and didn’t skim. I’m going to REALLY try to get my thoughts out and execute my words as best I can, but I expect this is going to be a long post, and cannot be summed up in one pithy soundbite. My opinion has different dimensions to it, and disclaimers, and I’ll try to be as clear as possible; but this is a fair warning that I’d rather open up a real discussion here rather than you pick one sentence from this whole blog post and decide that’s my whole opinion.
This is not to offend anyone, and I am totally up for hearing other opinions, but I feel like I’m about to share one that a lot of people won’t like; so please be considerate, patient, kind, open.
Okay? So, lengthy, and a bit ranty. But I’ll try keep myself in check.
The one thing that I absolutely HATE about being a blogger, influencer, or just basically someone on social media with a fair/large following – is that I am expected to be and act like a ‘public figure’.
Anyone in this sort of position, is expected to share their views, be responsible for their audience, and act like some sort of role model.
In a nutshell? I FUCKING HATE THIS MORE THAN ANYTHING AND COULDN’T DISAGREE MORE.
Let me delve into why, before you judge me and tell me I’m all ten kinds of irresponsible.
Firstly, I’m a creator, and I want to grow my audience, of course. This helps me work, and helps me keep pursuing my passions. HOWEVER, I am in the field of blogging and Art. Both of these things are based on the idea of free speech, no boundaries and expressing myself. AND I am forcing nobody to follow me, and I’m CERTAINLY NOT telling people that they should look up to me, or that I’m any sort of person to aspire to.
So why the fuck are people on social media ALWAYS saying shit like –
‘Anyone with a large following should be more responsible with what they share with their audience’
‘If bloggers/Youtubers don’t speak up on this topic, they’re trash’
‘Bloggers need to be more aware of their audience and who might be watching/reading them. Young readers can be so influenced by them’.
My argument here? JUDGE PEOPLE AS HUMANS, NOT BLOGGERS. These statements should be applied to people who choose to go into a profession where they have agreed to act a certain way; like a politician, or teacher. But someone who got bored one day and started writing a blog? Whether other people decide to read that blog in hundreds or millions, doesn’t change the fact that the writer is still FREE to write THEIR blog as they wish, IMO.
So if someone does something shitty, like make really rude comments to someone for example; I would totally be against that (of course!) and judging them. But it wouldn’t be because of a certain follower count, or whether they have a blog or Youtube channel. It would just be because I think that’s WRONG, full stop.
I don’t think Bloggers our Youtubers should have to censor themselves either because they may or may not have a young audience. Now okay, this is admittedly where I’m making a blanket statement, and it does not apply to all. There may be some instances where I agree that certain people shouldn’t act a certain way… maybe. I’m open to that, as I can’t judge before you give me a specific example. But I honestly can’t think of one of the top of my head. Let’s take Zoella for example, since she’s watched by MILLIONS, and her audience is mainly very young. Would I be part of the inevitable group of people who would slag her off if she started making really sweary videos, or talking about sex in a video? NOPE. I genuinely think she 100% has the right to say and do whatever she wants with her channel, and if parents don’t think it appropriate, then start monitoring what your kids watch. And yep, I mean every damn video before they watch. I know- that’s impossible, but that’s also NOT Zoella’s problem in my opinion. She’s allowed to have a personality change and suddenly become really interested in talking about sex, or swearing, if she likes. If I were a parent, I would 100% agree that if a Youtuber did something you don’t want your kids exposed to – it would be awful! But again, I’m NOT blaming the Youtuber. That’s a problem with the system. Kids are exposed to whatever they want thanks to the internet now, and it’s a problem we’ll all have to tackle in our own ways. I know I’ll have this problem, whenever I’m a parent. But I certainly won’t be calling out Zoella for doing something I don’t think appropriate.
I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM.
I just think it’s wrong that social media would be more than quick to tell me I shouldn’t say CUNT on my Twitter (this has happened to me!!), and all because of the amount of followers I had. If I had 3 followers, nobody would bat an eyelid. And yes, your next argument may be that it’s BECAUSE I have that many followers, I should maybe be responsible with it?
Sorry, but nope. Some may take on that responsibility, and good for them. That’s truly noble, I think. I however am not a fucking public figure, and have never claimed to be. Even if I someday (by some miracle) gained millions of followers, I still reserve the right to say and do whatever the fuck I want. You can totally judge me as a human by those actions, and I have no defence against that. But if you’re judging me because of how many followers I have, I think that is just fucked up to be honest. It implies that another blogger with less followers than me is okay to swear bloody murder, but because of sheer luck of me getting more followers, I then have to parent millions of people online and set an example. Fuck that.
HOWEVER…(Again, so many damn disclaimers in this post..) I am not giving a blanket statement that applies to people being offensive or dangerous in any way. OF COURSE I’m not saying people can do or say whatever. If someone says something racist, I’m gonna fucking flip because they’re racist. I’m not gonna be flipping out because of the amount of followers they have while they were being racist. I’m not even going to say ‘you should be careful what you’re saying in front of this audience’. I’m going to say they shouldn’t be making racist comments even if they have ZERO followers.
Be accountable to YOURSELF. You shouldn’t have to set a ‘good example for your followers’, you should just be acting like a decent human for your own WORTH.
Look, I know that things get different when an influencer (god I hate that word, especially in this context.. but fuck it) is making money from their audience; which is why I agree things aren’t so clear cut, black and white. This is an ever changing industry and it’s now a REAL JOB. Which means there has to be some sort of line. I agree.
But until that line is as clear as saying ‘nobody on Youtube can swear or talk about sex’ then I think EVERYBODY can. Regardless of their ‘usual niche’. Freedom is freedom. Zoella can swear it up with the rest of us. She chooses not to, probably wise, great marketing and all that,… but she should be able to if she wanted to; without people on Twitter talking shit about her ‘young audience’. She is not their mother. She is a human who uploads videos. It’s an individual’s choice to watch. Also guess I should point out here I’m not a Zoella fangirl. She seems lovely, but I don’t watch Youtube anymore. She’s just a great example.
It’s worth noting though that on Youtube I’m pretty sure you have to mark certain things as explicit – so if an influencer is doing that, I don’t see a problem. If they aren’t marking it explicit, and suddenly their favourite word is cunt and they wanna upload ’10 fave sex positions’ – then yeah of course I agree that there is a problem. Also feel free to school me on the exact rules of Youtube if you wish, I’m not 100% clear on it. I’m happy to be proven wrong, and learn! But you get my point yeah?
And finally, there’s the issue of CHOICE, and MENTAL HEALTH.
Social media can seriously fuck with me, and put me in a bad mood. Sometimes being absorbed in so many opinions can be overwhelming, and I know I’m not alone on this. So many of us understand this feeling.
So why are SO many also quick to tweet things like, ‘Can’t believe this big Youtuber has been quiet on this issue.’ Well what about your Mum? Has she tweeted about it? What about your neighbour? Best friend? You better be fucking judging everyone for not going on a website and typing a particular thought out then. Because even if it relates to them; everyone has the right to go offline, stay quiet, look after themselves, and NOT BE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. It seems crazy to me that in 2017 I have to justify going offline, or not speaking up on something. If I spoke up on every important, worthy issue I’d never have a life. And I’d be fucking miserable spewing out my thoughts online all day, in a big wank fest over myself and enjoying my self appointed royalty and ‘holier than thou’ attitude.
I am disappointed when bloggers IN GENERAL don’t talk about important issues that need highlighting. But I could never specifically name someone and judge them for not doing so. Who the fuck knows what they’re going through!
Everyone has the right to silence. Everyone has the right to share their thoughts. Let’s hope and encourage each other to do positive things, but let’s stop fucking judging each other for how we choose to share or hold back. Let’s start acting like decent human beings for OURSELVES; instead of doing so, so that we can tweet about it and look really good to our followers.
That number of followers or subscribers seems to matter TOO MUCH to some people, and I’m sick of it to be honest. Call out shitty behaviour regardless of it. Allow people freedom regardless of it. Stop deciding how people should act once they reach a certain threshold that you deem ‘role model’ then.
I have over 48,000 collectively. That’s nothing to some, and SO MUCH to others. I’ll still say cunt as much as I like.
What if some poor sod out there just happened to really love writing, and one day they wake up with a million followers, and suddenly that audience is telling that writer what they’re doing right, wrong, how they should change..
Be kind, really THINK about things, and stop judging people so easily.
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