Social Media serves as an encyclopedia for following the content you are seeking. Whether you are following activists, influencers, creatives, and many more, are you diversifying the content you are consuming?
For some, Social Media is one of the biggest influences we have in our modern-day society, from reading the news to following their favourite activists, finding support groups, discovering simple tutorials, or learning new recipes to shopping. It becomes a one-stop-shop within your fingertips. But, what happens when the content you follow is similar across the board, and you are only consuming the same POV?
Sometimes it takes us beyond our comfort zone. Social Media offers an expanded version of our reality that takes us into globalization; it gives us access beyond the walls that we frequent, inviting us to push ourselves into the unknown. And while being compelled, we can further understand more about the struggles other minorities are going through and the wins of ethnic groups fighting for their rights; it helps us understand why certain events happened. It allows us to keep ourselves grounded, although sometimes it works against us; nonetheless, you will also find a community that crushes those accounts that sell us a manufactured story. While the downsides of following certain social media accounts can alter our mental state, you can also find positives in it.
Let’s go through some examples.
Cooking. Basic but undefeated one of the most diverse skills.
Imagine yourself following the same cooking account; obviously, it does not take away -the fact- that account is the bee’s knees, but as humans, we have our opportunities. Following a diverse number of chefs or cooking-enthusiast can help you achieve numerous possibilities. Think about it as cooking white rice. Although white rice might be simple to make, living my adulthood in such a diverse city, I learned that every country adds their little special into the process. Some cultures like to add onion chunks to their boiling water; some like to add salt and garlic powder, and so forth. It is really up to what your taste buds are in the mood for, but it does not hurt anyone to adventure in the kitchen with the same meal -just- different processes or ingredients. Would you keep using the same condiments and spices over and over again? The short answer should be no (but no shame if you think otherwise).
Like cooking, the fashion industry follows a metaphorically similar suit with its unique recipes for spiciness by combining textures, colours, and layers.
Fashion serves its crowd. Does not feel as if you belong in your style? Maybe it is time to follow all of those accounts that inspire you (and beyond). Are you living on a budget? Many accounts dedicate themselves to looking luxurious on a budget; there are also thrifters, those who can help you find a good deal, and others who help you reorganize your closet and revamp what you have with a few tricks. Or maybe you are the total opposite and enjoy luxury goods. What if you want someone who dedicates themselves to reviewing items you are planning to buy, a watch, a limited edition bag? You would not automatically buy it just by hearing one review. First, you expand your research, maybe direct message them and visit the store to compare the reviews with or expectations, or buy it online!
What about you are more environmentalist and like to support ethical brands that resource responsibly and practice fair trade? Maybe not all accounts will give you a one-size-fits-all. You will stumble with some of those accounts that may look like it has it all figured out, but in reality, being conscious about the planet and consumer behaviour is under extensive research. Some accounts prefer to focus on one particular topic and master the art of staying current with the latest news and development. In some cases, it is best to follow accounts that go deep into a singular topic; and guide you through the solutions and how can you partner up to be a voice of change in your social circle.
How can you diversify the activists and ground-shakers you follow to help you broaden issues and solutions?
I was listening to one of the feminist podcasts in which the host talks about the importance of keeping a diverse account following. There is a broad scope of topics discussed within the Feminist Movement, including patriarchy, objectification, sexism, oppression, aesthetics, and opportunity. From all of those topics, the influencers you follow might discuss one or all of them. But have you asked yourself if the accounts you follow teach you the same version of feminism, or are you learning something new? Feminism evolves by the second, opening new issues to discuss, breaking the movement even more, depending on the political party you believe. Although you might despise politics, these play a significant role in how minorities and the hard-working class are protected or affected.
Although feminism has the same meaning across the board, it never gets the same results from an ethnic group-to-ethnic group, from sexuality to sexuality, and so forth. As a cisgender Hispanic woman, I learn my advantages and disadvantages by following other ethnicities and learning about their struggles and wins. It never comes down to comparing yourself and pointing out how you are better than others, but taking advantage of your privileges and helping those less fortunate. Keeping a diverse following will take you to new horizons you never knew existed or were even possible within your understanding.
Knowledge is power, and how can you add to that power if you only fuel it with the same sources? It all starts by acknowledging what and where we are learning the things we do. Why listen to the same jokes on repeat when you can be following multiple accounts with several other fantastic parodies? Maybe in your case is not all about comedy but national news, and then you ask yourself if the news channels you follow are biased and trustworthy or do they have a political agenda behind them? There would never be a wrong-or-right answer, but it is always a shame not to give ourselves the chance to broaden what we are feeding ourselves from social media.