When I first started writing and had more time to peruse the internet, I noticed there were gangs or cliques on Twitter, then Facebook and now Instagram. Those social hierarchies that ruled in high school still exist, only now they are on the digital playground.
There are several sorts of groups online:
The funny ones.
The sanctimonious sycophants.
The arty ones.
If you mix the vases, be warned that these groups rarely get along. They all claim to want the same thing; Liberté, égalité, fraternité et cetera.
Very few actually do. Instead, they want to be the ‘most of the most’; and mark my words they will throw another under a bus for an opportunity.
If you try and draw attention to any mistakes or misunderstandings with online heroes, more than likely, you will regret moving out of your group because trying to make some people see reason is a waste of your time.
You might as well yell at a baked potato.
No manner of education, class, or how well your argument is constructed, or the facts that support them are stronger than concrete, you will be shut down because people don’t like to be wrong, even when they are wrong. To some, it’s more important not to lose face instead of being accountable.
This week Belle Gibson was in the media again with a feckless interview in the Australian Women’s Weekly. After lying about her cancer for a long time, and making money from this farce, she now wants our sympathy. Apparently sympathy beats accountability on the web.
Following anyone blindly on the internet is what makes people like Belle Gibson successful. The ‘tribe’ mentality, the ‘community’ turn into bullies and soon, those who ask questions or ask for evidence or clarification, are harangued until they stop asking anything of anyone, because they are afraid of the repercussions.
I bought Belle Gibson’s app last year, then I Googled her. I took one look at her artful photos of herself and red flags wildly waved. ‘Bullshit she’s had cancer,’ I thought. I never opened her app again. It promised a lot, it delivered very little.
To all appearances, being sad means you don’t have to own your mistakes, intentional or otherwise.
“Don’t be mean, she’s sad,’ people said about Belle. Ha. People are stupid. Really stupid sometimes.
Sadness trumps the law. Wanting to do the right thing, trumps exploitation.
A friend said to me tonight, “Just because something’s got a hashtag doesn’t mean that you should just passively assume it’s legit.”
Ask questions, follow-up, do your research, make your own mind up and never, ever be afraid of speaking out for those who can’t.
I’ve done this for years and I will continue to in any way I can.
This is making a real difference, not grandstanding and using the vulnerable to promote your app, company, business or brand.
That isn’t charity. It’s unethical profiteering. The most generous philanthropists I know never tell about their donations. Not a single word.
You know what that is?
You know what isn’t?
Anyone else who refuses responsibility and then gives us the heroics and histrionics as a response.
There’s a world of Belle Gibson type bloggers out there, shilling a silver bullet for whatever malady they have. A world of people willing to follow her and not ask questions, because they are afraid of the answer they don’t want to hear.
Fear makes people not ask questions. Fear of illness, fear of medical intervention, fear of dying, fear of being bullied, fear of being called names, fear of being ostracised from the tribe.
I left the tribe years ago. My self-worth isn’t reliant on likes and followers.
Self-actualising people ask questions. They stand up to the weak, they step in when people are overstepping their boundaries . (If you want to know if you’re self-actualised, read here. I’m sure you are. The readers of my blog tend to be the top three of my list, with a few interesting arty types who come hang with us for the spirited debate and Goon and Coon.)
So yes, that’s what’s on my mind. Long read.
If you can’t be arsed absorbing this wall of text, I’ll do you a TLDR.
TLDR: Internet = highschool. Belle Gibson owes me $3. Only self-actualised people allowed at this table.