I don’t remember exactly when it was, or who exactly said it, but I once heard someone say that the problem with this generation is that we think our opinions matter. I heard this in passing a while ago, but for some reason, it still stuck with me. Apparently though, that person was not the only one to think this is true. After taking a dive on Google, I stumbled upon this subreddit thread where the creator expressed that social media makes people think their opinion matter too much. And there were some people who also agreed with him in the comments.
We live in a new age where everything that we do and say and think is documented and, most of the time, shared with other people on social media platforms. Sharing our opinions online has gotten to a point where people could make a career off of it. I mean, look at what’s popular on YouTube. There are hundreds of creators who make commentary videos about social issues. User @ObviousQuality in the reddit post above used racism as an example. When people notice that their opinions are getting a lot of likes or a lot of people in their comments agree with them, they start to think that their opinions are absolute truths, or at least other people start to think their opinion are absolute truths. I started to wonder if that also applies to those commentary creators on YouTube.
I am myself an avid watcher of commentary videos and I’m also subscribed to a couple of commentary channels, so I’m not trying to say that I’m opposed to commentary entertainment. What I started to notice recently though, is that the bigger a creator’s audience is, the more their audience start to subconsciously put them on a pedestal. For example, there is one YouTuber called D’Angelo Wallace who gained a massive following after making a commentary videos on the drama that happened between beauty guru’s Tati Westbrook and James Charles. There were tons of people who liked the video, and D’Angelo gained a pretty big following of people who supported his commentaries. Mind you, this is someone who was not very well-known before and is not an expert in anything as far as I know, but was able to attract a lot of people just by expressing his opinions. After several of his videos were positively received, he started to gain a reputation as a “cancellation catalyst, pouring gasoline on outrage directed at internet stars” (Insider, 2020). And there are a lot of other creators on YouTube who do the exact same thing. While there is a positive side to these kind of videos, there also exists the risk of (miss)guiding your audience into sharing your opinions, and presenting it as absolute facts. D’Angelo Wallace has been very clear that his videos are solely his own opinions, and that he wants people to realize that he is not the beacon of absolute objectivity. However, I do feel that because of his growing audience, he is sort of put on a pedestal when it comes to critiquing other YouTubers or talking about other social issues.
In my opinion (haha), I don’t think there is anything fundamentally wrong with our generation expressing our opinions more often. It think it’s actually about time that we do; we should especially be more critical and vocal about injustices that exists in our societies. However, I do realize that there is a risk of putting big commentators on YouTube or other platforms on a pedestal for their opinions. Most of the time when someone is always so well-received by the public, we forget that they could and should also be subjected to critique if necessary.
Subreddit thread “Social media makes people think their opinion matter too much”. 2018:
Insider article The era of A-list YouTube celebrities is over. Now, the people cancelling them are on top. 2020: https://www.insider.com/dangelo-wallace-interview-youtube-shane-jeffree-tati-drama-channels-2020-9
This is a great blog! What I personally think the problem is, is that people tend to only be subjected to their own opinion, which leads to the phenomenon of seeing their own opinion as absolute truth. This is an effect of the algorithms in social media, which control exposure in a way. But I do think you made very good points on how we should be expressing our opinions, but also be open to critique, because no one is perfect.
The undeniably eye-catching title of this piece is what drew me to it. The ability to get an idea out to people inflates the importance we think our comments possess. At the end of the day, we all want to believe that our opinions matter and it’s often difficult to process the fact that -in some instances- our opinions just don’t. Quite humbling! One of the largest things that this post highlighted to me was the need to be critical when viewing an overwhelming amount of opinion-based content. It may be all too easy to see the agreeable sides to an argument or viewpoint but by being a little more sceptical and questing of what we read, we can hope to utilize the availability of information that the internet provides whilst not being swayed by bias or doctored judgments. I also haven’t seen a blog post utilising discussion on Reddit, so that was especially refreshing to see.
Incredibly fascinating blog post! I agree with you about how sometimes people blindly accept the opinions of others, and regard the opinions of others or themselves as the absolute truth, and that we should be a little more critical, and open to constructive criticism. I think one of the main issues (as you have already mentioned) is that sometimes we idolise people on the internet a little too much, and we believe whatever opinion they have about a certain topic.
I also agree with your point that everything we do and say can be documented via social media platforms, and how it is much easier now to share your opinion with the public. In a way, we are more exposed to feedback whether positive or negative, when we share our opinion on social media platforms.
Very fun to read! 🙂
I definitely think famous youtubers and just famous people on general are being put on a pedestal way too much, even though in the end, they really are just regular people who happened to gain fame over time. This doesn’t make them more knowledgeable in anyway, but somehow the internet seems to think it does.
I also often notice how whenever youtubers share their opinion about some random video they saw from a way smaller youtuber, that the big youtuber’s fanbase goes to that channel purely to harass or make fun of the smaller youtuber. Even if the big youtuber specifies not to go and harass them, people still feel the need to do so and repeat whatever their favorite youtuber said like an echo chamber, which is honestly really sad.
Though I definitely think that these youtubers should be allowed to make opinionated videos about others, I hope people will stop using it as an opportunity to harass others.
I enjoyed reading your blog! The famous or well-known influencers on different social media platforms have a certain influence on societies. For instance, the Youtubers that record and share their everyday life, clothing style, beauty standards, and so on have bigger opinions towards some topics. Some young girls will follow their fashion trends and style and thus buy more clothes and makeup products. This somehow brings up and leads all the marketing approach to relate to the influencers. Some companies will then sponsor them and give them the discount code for the followers to purchase more. In other words, the influencers collaborate with the companies and they have the win win situation. which is crazy right?!