Social media is a great way to develop a following. People who may be introverted off the web can blossom into stars on the internet with the click of a “POST” button. Since the days of the AOL free trial CD, the world wide web has been a place where utter cowards could be emboldened, social outcasts could become the part of the “in-crowd,” and people who thought Caddyshack was deep could become life philosophers.
As romantic as that may sound (or not), I’m afraid that many of these electronic mavens have begun to warp the minds of their followers. What used to be largely for entertainment purposes only has turned into a cult-like bastion of bad advice being passed to the young and/or naïve.
I’m not talking about beauty bloggers who recommend products that are sure to offer a Sammy Sosa finish to brown-skinned ladies everywhere. That’s dreadful, but makeup can be washed off and you can start over. But, there are highly influential writers and bloggers who can often be spotted offering terrible life advice to their (usually) homogeneous reading audience. This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but that people are shaping whole ideologies around what they read on blogs and FB pages. Ideologies eventually become behaviors, and then none of us are safe.
So, as a public service, I’ve decided to give you clues as to whether or not you should take the advice/teachings of your social media “faves” seriously.
- What is the logical possible outcome of following their advice? If the outcome of following their advice leads to poverty, illness, incarceration or severe emotional upheaval, ignore them. I can guarantee that they will not be contributing to your GFM campaign for bail, rent money, antibiotics, or your “self-care” retreat. You may experience the warm n’ fuzzies reading their account about how their scheme method worked for them but if in the real world, the risk far outweighs the reward, it’s best to skip it.
- Have they or are they doing what they are saying you should do? Anybody who suggests (or even co-signs) that something they would never do is okay is a bullshitter and shouldn’t be trusted. For example, the “pro-hoe” movement that gained popularity last year. The premise is that well…the tenets of “hoeism” should be celebrated and those who participate, given high-five cause…empowerment. Sounds nice and inclusive but then, I noticed that some the biggest endorsers of the “pro-hoe” movement were women who had to preface their applause for “hoeism” with, “although it’s not my choice….” Hmmm…..why would you applaud a philosophy that you spurn?
- What are their credentials? I’m not even talking about degrees and certificates. Picture it, Facebook, 2017. A prominent male SJW telling women how they should feel about bathroom bills. Enough said.
- How has their viewpoint worked for them? What is the fruit of their years of work and discovery? It goes without saying that it makes no sense for anyone to take advice from someone whose own life isn’t a replica of where the advice-seeker wants to be. Would you hire a poor financial adviser or a routinely single or oft divorced relationship expert? Probably not.
- Follow the money. By now, I’m confident that most of us know bad advice when we hear it. Our personal sensitivities may get us to travel to the other side of good sense, but, we know. If the person offering you…um…guidance, can’t say two words without asking for donations for their…um…wisdom, you may want to re-evaluate their platform. While I agree that those who teach deserve a wage, if they were that profound, they’d set up a consulting company instead of asking for money for information that can be easily found on Google.
Follow who you want. “Like” who you want. Read who you want. Just exercise caution before you become an –ite of theirs and find yourself on the opposite side of functional. But, what do I know? I’m just a blogger!