It is just sad that many of you, who read my blog post, don’t speak Dutch. Though, I hope that you have encountered the baffling videos Dutch influencers and artists posted on their Instagram last week. These artists stated in their recordings that they were against the way the Dutch government was handling the Coronavirus. With the hashtag IKDOENIETMEERMEE – which means ‘I no longer participate’ – and the quote “Free the People”, it seemed like these artists wanted to start a revolt against the current rules and policies. However, apparently, each influencer meant something else with this hashtag.
Bit confusing right?
Right. A lot of questions were raised after this new trend emerged: “What do they mean with ‘I no longer participate?’. Does this mean they stop following the 1,5 meters rule? Does this mean they will throw parties? Does this mean they will cough in their hands instead of their elbow? What does this mean?
What is dangerous about these kinds of situations, is that these artists are influencers. They carry out an example. When these people are unclear about what they state, followers will think ‘I no longer participate’ means all the things named above. And followers copy what their idols do, say, or believe, which can in these times be a dangerous thing.
Artists such as Famke Louise and Tim Douwsma were given the opportunity to explain themselves – as this was really needed – in Dutch talk shows such as Jinek and Op1. Instead of creating room for discussion, they were stubbornly repeating themselves without listening to what experts, who were also invited for this broadcast, had to say about it.
Please watch the broadcasts below.
Luckily, within a couple of days, it was clear that this ‘revolt’ wasn’t thought through. After these artists were confronted with a countermovement of other influencers, doctors and experts they realized that the usage of this hashtag was not that clever. They withdraw from the hashtag and removed their posts.
Just to get this straight, I believe that freedom of speech is incredibly important. We all need to be critical. It is the basis of our democracy to ask questions concerning the government’s policymaking. I believe when you have many followers, it is crucial to consider your influencing abilities. When telling a story, everyone carries a responsibility to use correct information. Especially people with great influence need to understand they cannot just throw their opinions out there on the world wide web. Especially when what they say could be misleading, wrong, or is based on incorrect facts.
When we want to make a statement, change the world, or create room for discussion, we need to do this correctly. Thoroughly. We need to investigate and use sources. This applies to everyone on the internet: consider the source and do not simply copy what influencers post on social media.
And when we make noise, listen. How are we able to make substantiate decisions if experts who give advice won’t not be heard? My advice: ask questions but do this critically.