First of all, thank you, Kendrick for your bomb af song. 🙌🏼 Now that I have your attention, I would like to tell you about some things I’ve learned on social media after a certain incident. Exactly a one week ago, I posted a tweet that went viral. I won’t go into particulars because much has already been said. I, for one, do not wish to add more fuel to the fire. But I believe it’s important for me to write this, since I have a lot on my mind.
Disclaimer: I am not, nor will I ever consider myself perfect and I am also included in this hopefully constructive piece of criticism. ✌🏽
On call out culture
“Call out” culture is prevalent these days, especially in the realm of Twitter. It is when a person deems an act of another as improper, unjust, or oppressive and publicly calls out the latter for such act through a tweet or post. It is usually addressed towards a specific individual who, more often than not, sees whatever you posted about them. So ideally, it’s not something you do to your friends. [I am of the opinion that friends should be privately messaging each other about things that bother them.] Instead, it’s often used to address celebrities, public figures, or even Presidents over disagreeable or inappropriate things they do or believe in. US President Donald Trump has been repeatedly called out by numerous people, including celebrities over his remarks, and he responds by blocking them on Twitter. Closer to home, it’s employed against controversial politicians.
Is it considered okay? Yes, when done properly because sometimes it’s effective. Some people who get called out are made aware of their mistakes, publicly apologize for it, and learn by becoming more mindful of what they post. And this is the best case scenario. The reality is that not all people will respond this way. Others will deflect, issue a non-apologetic statement, or become defensive and stand by their actions. Is it our job to call people out? People will say it’s unnecessary, or that because you weren’t directly affected, it does not give you the right to be offended. But much of history has been made through seemingly black and white situations such as this. I believe a well-informed opinion that something is offensive should not go unsaid. We owe it to ourselves and to others (especially the oppressed) to point out improper actions and contribute to the common good by helping each other become better people.
That is the end goal of calling out, isn’t it? It’s not to name call or throw shade. Not to oppose for status or recognition. But to aid in the constant development of a system or a person. Consider calling out not okay for purposes of simply hating or loathing a thing, person, or act. This is when call out culture becomes toxic. In a way, it’s a misuse and very destructive. It spreads a culture of hate and no longer subscribes to a “noble cause.” So much of one’s energy should not be spent promoting animosity. As cliché as it sounds, do your best to spread peace and love. 💕
On woke culture
Gone are the days when the contents of our feeds are filled with mundane, mostly senseless posts such as “Just woke up/ate breakfast,” or “Listening to *insert artist here*.” There has been a shift in the paradigm and suddenly, everybody is WOKE. 😳 Often phrased, “woke af!” Someone who is woke is aware of current events and/or false pretenses. A person who would employ the “call-out” method of effecting change. No, it is not a prerequisite in order to post stuff on social media. You can’t be compelled by anyone to talk about issues or things you don’t feel comfortable discussing in public. You have that right. But also consider that most of the freedoms that we enjoy, we can because someone once took a stand and fought for what they believed in.
It is okay to inform and educate people about truths, make them aware, and go after oppressive systems and people, but again, this must be done with the common good in mind and without the use of profanities. There is no need to attack others for their different views and perspectives. We can agree to disagree and not have to resort to cyber bullying. Respect must always be present. We are all human beings deserving of proper treatment and ideally, we all want the world to be a better place filled with individuals who are kind and enlightened. You can actually be socially conscious and a decent person at the same time.
It also helps not to belittle “less woke” folk for once upon a time, you were that person. The ignorant can be taught. Knowledge can be gained.The process of being “woke” is an ongoing, dynamic one. All of us have a lot of growing to do and that should be acknowledged. We listen and we learn, especially when we’re told we have said something offensive. And of course, we should practice what we preach. Avoid making unhelpful call outs or sexist/racist statements (even as a joke). This is our contribution for a better society.
On mindfulness on social media
Let’s face it. Before the age of social media, you could do or say anything and not get flak from strangers on the internet. But nowadays, a bad act or statement can be photographed or screen capped — and that is your one way ticket to notoriety. Sure, posts or tweets can be deleted, but receipts are forever. [Screenshots are now synonymous to receipts] It only takes one brainless post to get you your week’s (or maybe even more) worth of infamy. So in order to avoid this, and of course it goes without saying, be mindful of what you post. Advice everyone should heed.
This applies to celebrities and public figures as well as they have a bigger role than others due to their huge following. They have a greater responsibility in showcasing and espousing good behavior. People idolize and look up to them — therefore, they should be held accountable for any indecency and impropriety they display. If they don’t seem to get the point or be willing enough to change themselves, then don’t support them. Don’t go to their events or buy from their brands. Don’t watch their shows or films. Unfollow them on social media. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has tried to correct popular people and let them know the error of their ways. It’s really frustrating, too, when they seem to repeat the same cycle of indecency. The reality is that we can only do or say so much to influence people and this is rendered useless if they aren’t capable of positive transformation.
But I’ve always believed no person is beyond redemption. Hopefully, sooner or later — maybe even ways down the road, they’ll listen and learn. If you’re a patient enough fan, you can influence your role models all you want until you get the desired outcome. If you’re not, then maybe just stick around to find out. After all, life is full of surprises.
Lastly, stay truly woke, folks! 😁