The other morning, I was listening to the radio while driving to school. My radio was tuned to a popular morning show, and I caught them in the middle of a segment where they acknowledge people who are doing positive things in the world around them. I missed the part where they told listeners about the person, but I did manage to catch was one of the hosts calling an individual “legit” because “he has a lot of followers”. What a conclusion to come to. That statement really rubbed me the wrong way. How is it that a person could do incredible things for the world around them but only be “legit” if they have droves of social media followers to back that up? Is that really where we are as a society?
That statement made me question myself. If I’m being honest, I have a tendency to look at the numbers far too often. Since when did the number of followers or views have anything to do with the things that really matter? Some of the most incredible, thoughtful, giving people I know are not on social media. And I think they’re better for it. Instead of focusing on what the world has to say about them and the things that they are doing, they are out there defining themselves. I know that I could stand to be a lot more like them.
I don’t think that we will be able to see a kinder, more positive internet if we do not change our priorities. So much of my time is wasted putting too much value into the numbers. We cannot just pay attention to the people who have the followers. We should start listening to the people who have the heart, who have the new ideas, who are truly impacting the world. This is not a change that will occur overnight, but I believe the first step in addressing this problem is to acknowledge our bias. We have a tendency to use numbers as a metric for legitimacy instead of taking the time to look deeper. I am challenging myself, and all of you readers, to look beyond the numbers and start focusing on the things that really matter.
Happy National Bullying Prevention Month!