December 8, 2022

The Scourge of Social Media: When Did it get so F*cked Up?

“The good thing about social media is it gives everything a voice. The bad thing about social media is it gives everything a voice.” ~ Brian Solis

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I have a confession to make: social media drew me in hook, line, and sinker.

I was like a moth to a flame scrolling mindlessly—undoubtedly, one of millions drawn into the web.

We see the overly happy faces of people we know peering at us from some foreign destination. In some new fancy house. With their perfect partners, in their perfect relationships. With their tightly toned beach bodies and their new swimwear, gym wear, party wear. It’s a potent mix, driven by the desire to present our best selves, at all costs—in a society that glamourises toxicity. That glamourises fake. That glamourises anything but true authenticity. In a society that has created a need for external validation.

Of course there is genuine happiness in some of those posts. And I love seeing exotic places and the joy travel brings. The sad thing is most people are too afraid to show any true vulnerability, to show any of life’s battles, because we have become so accustomed to hide that part of ourselves and show only our highlight reels. Anything less is judged negatively.

Those highlight reels float around in a murky pool of comparison—encouraging people to keep up with each other.

Fear of missing out. Fear of being left behind. Our lives front and centre for everyone to see, like never before. But it’s only the part of life people wish to portray.

And then without any invitation, the “influencers” and “coaches” slid onto the stage, like Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.” They all command attention. They all have a voice. They all have an opinion. They spread misinformation, messages of hate, and dangerous ideals. And most of them have something to sell. With social media algorithms, they are able to reach more people than ever before.

There are of course a small minority with great content, who actually have training, experience, and deep knowledge in what they speak of, who actually add value. Their messages are authentic and of care and compassion. They have done their own work and willingly share what they have learnt to help others. They are not sales people.

The scourge of social media are sales people masquerading as “coaches” or “experts.” Expensive courses and services based on nothing more than their opinions on things.

When did this become acceptable? When did it become so f*cked up? Men like Andrew Tate given a platform and a loud voice, spouting their vitriol. A poison seeping into the minds of those searching for something, someone, anyone to tell them what they should do to be more successful, happy, or powerful. Disillusioned people drawn into a dark and dangerous place.

They fill up our feeds with their sponsored posts. Pervasive. Invasive. Toxic. Preying on the insecure. The desperate. Reminding people that without a partner they are worthless. Reiterating that their negative thoughts and feelings are not accepted in this world. Belittling those who have a different opinion. Shaming others for expressing human emotion. Judging those who dare to be happy, outside of societies conditioning. Selling their love packages. Those “change your mindset” courses. Those spiritual bypassing “heal yourself in just weeks” bundles. Those “get rich quick” schemes. Those lose weight, get fit, sculpt a better body in time for the weekend posts. Manipulating. Triggering. One insecurity at a time. One hook at a time. In a f*cked up game that they only ever win.

These people I speak of are masters. They are masters at playing people. Telling them what they want to hear. Validating insecurities enough to drag them in like a magnet. Promising them love. Promising them a fairy tale. Promising them happiness. Promising them positive mindsets. Promising them their life will change—at a cost. Oh yes, there’s always a price. And sometimes that price costs you far more than your hard-earned dollars. Sometimes that price is a detrimental cost to your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health.

The scourge of social media. Platforms given to people who have no place on a platform. Given to people who spew their toxicity around like confetti. Dangerous and sometimes hateful words, ideas and advice based on their own beliefs and opinions, shouted out to the world like it comes from a place of expertise—instead of a place of ego and greed. Videos. Posts. Lives. Reeling you in, insidiously. Book a free call. A free call to an aggressive sales pitch, where one is left believing the only way to these elusive things (happiness, success, and so on) is to sign up.

How do you tell the difference between an authentic, trained coach and an inauthentic, untrained coach? An authentic coach will not promise you anything; they will work with you and your specific needs. They will not dictate or tell you what to do—how could someone else possibly know what’s best for you?

They will never belittle you. They will never generalise, as everyone’s circumstances are individual. They will not dismiss well-established research. They will be transparent on their website about their training and their costs. Their charges will correlate with their level of training and experience. They will not push their opinions and beliefs onto you. They will not step outside their expertise.

What many of the coaches and influencers will do is make ego-driven comments like, “I’ve helped thousands of clients.” In my research, these comments are usually deceitful. If a coach had thousands of clients, they would not be hard-selling on social media.

Like any quick-fix program, or any promises made by some self-appointed “guru” or “expert,” the client will be left floundering. Maybe there’s a temporary fix, or a placebo high, but there’s never a long-term fix.

In a society that is so conditioned to live a certain way, dismiss how we truly feel, believe in love as a fairy tale at all costs, value our self-worth based on what we own and how much we earn, compare ourselves to others’ highlight reels, be judged for our age, our health, our relationship status, what we wear and how we look—is it any wonder these toxic mouths with a platform continue to seep like pus out of an infected wound?

Preying, preying, preying. Telling us what we need. What we want. What we should do. How we should live. How we should love. Their beliefs and opinions overshadowing our own. Never once listening, never once actually listening, to what it is we actually say we want.

Until we become self-aware enough and willing to work on our insecurities and beliefs, this scourge will continue. Until we become more discerning of who we listen to, who we take advice from, and trust ourselves enough to know what’s best for us, this scourge will continue. Until we stop buying into the toxic bullsh*t, and valuing the things we are told to value, the scourge will continue. Until we stop giving these voices a platform, the scourge will continue.

Social media can be good, even great, if we don’t get too invested in it. Otherwise, it has the potential to destroy a whole generation’s ability to be truly happy, as we constantly compare our lives and think someone, everyone, has it better than us—leaving us to question: are we ever good enough?

And if that isn’t enough, the “coaches,” the “influencers” of social media, will subliminally remind us at every opportunity that we indeed, are not good enough but they can make us better.

Don’t fall for the scourge of social media. The price will always be too high.

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