My Opinion about Dr. Phil On Meeting Today’s Cinderella as a Social Media Influencer
The race for cheap, unearned attention is a race that can’t be won. As soon as someone gains the lead, someone else will lower their standards and take a shortcut to get even more. The players have already surrendered their self-esteem, so it’s simply an escalating hijack of trust. And so we have dark patterns, once-respected media outlets with shameless headlines and an entire industry based on click bait, come-ons and trickery.
Well, Dr. Phil, as a psychologist and an arbiter of our society, seems to be taking another look at social media impacts. Recently, Sept. 12, he had a show called Desperate for Insta-Fame. He introduced a 21-year-old woman called Jessy who spent over 11 hours a day researching, planning and taping outrageous content for likes and follows.
There she sat with long black hair, heavy eye makeup, lacquered lips, expensive cut-out pumps with Cinderella glass heels, and long fingernails curling into glossy arcs with sequined flower details…very exclusive, waving them in front of Dr. Phil.
She was proud to have 100,000 Instagram followers who looked forward to her posts, the more offensive the better. She bragged the more stupid you act, the more views you get. Her motto is "Do What Others Won’t Do" like stealing a sandwich off a customer’s plate and running away on video tape. It’s the shock value where people “hate to love you,” she explained. My head spins, is this the be-nasty fuel, the ignition on social media?
She bragged about her celebrity status standing out in parties and hooking up with guys but only if they had more followers than her. Then her Tweeter and Instagram were temporarily shut down because of racist tweets which were reactive to other posts not personal at all she said. But her despair had hit the worst possible tragedy from making 500K dollars, as claimed, to living off food stamps with beautiful fingernails and shoes. She was “nothing without her followers.” But exactly, who are these faithful subjects with nothing better to do than watch fools making fun of themselves?
When faced by a life counselor who outlined the values of being yourself but only better (title of his book), she dapped away a few tears saying she didn’t have much parental guidance or friends.
Dr. Phil asked her to do one thing every day over 5 days to turn her life around. The advice was to go to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter and serve lunch to people who truly had nothing and no excuses.
I don’t know, Dr. Phil, if serving people as a scullery maid will enlighten her potential in the real or virtual world. Can her brain ingrained with so much self-flattery and disrespecting rights of others over years on social media be changed with a few hours of volunteer work?
We are all familiar with Cinderella, a poor mistreated girl who finds her dream through magic fairies turning pumpkins into royal coaches and a glass slipper who wins the hand of a prince to live happily ever after. But what about the magical domains in today’s changing world especially for young teenage girls?
Certainly, social media dominates the landscape and celebrities rule. We are socially engaged to a new princess or prince called the influencers who oversee some of the largest gatherings found on YouTube and Instagram. We admire and trust them to buy their choices of fashion, food, entertainment, sports, colleges or favorite restaurants.
For example, a top You Tuber with 100,000 loyal followers or more can expect to generate thousands from advertisements by plugging their favorite products or stores. An Instagram user with 100,000 followers can command $5,000 for a post made in partnership with a company or brand.
There are three points here. One, as consumers, we have always followed trends or word of mouth recommendations. Two, what kind of consumerism is based on the flagrant and outrageous behavior of a selfie brand that says I am so crazy but respect me, like me and follow me? How does stupidity become a trend? Third, there is no doubt that social engagement and personal information are today’s currency, easy to collect and manipulate.
However, the big question is how fair is this to vulnerable teenagers as to what to like, where to go and who your friends are; not withstanding these bizarre selfie-jesters who juggle craziness for viral fame by stealing sandwiches or licking ice cream containers in supermarkets.
As a retired teacher who understands the learning process, I can only shake my head at the lack of basic subject matter for teenagers, especially girls, about the power of social media and how to contain its forces for personal growth and development, not distraction, amorality and futility.
In my opinion, we need far more serious intervention to reset social norms than a week of KP duty to win the battle. To that need, I wrote an e-book Teen Girl Faces Time in the Sand for three main reasons:
1. How to stop social media from taking advantage of a rash and brash teenage brain still in development
2. How to start looking at value of Time and power of choice as a superpower tool to avoid making bad mistakes that may affect the total Timeline
3. How to use symbols to better discuss what it means to grow up in a mass media world personified here as a Giant Clown Face of epic proportion
What is your opinion about this modern day Cinderella? Do you think that Dr. Phil's solution will get results? What do you think can help this young woman?
I look forward to your opinions and comments...always important.
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Excerpt from Teen Girl Faces Time in the Sand:
Today the real tragedy with young people is how to overcome the huge problems created by a Giant Media Monster; like a Medusa manipulator using her vast army of words and images to twist, to seduce and undermine the ability of people to think critically and freely. It's like a vast army of fake selfies attacking what's good and normal.
The great personal tragedy is made worse because most young people do not use their real characters to take offensive action but rather create their own fake Selfies to closely reflect what the Media Monster promotes. These are soldiers on the same side with the same goals which means the Monster wins every time. Like I said before, the Monster has no regret for what it is doing; it will never apologize if you keep liking her artificial ugliness again and again.
PPS: I am always looking for podcast interviews.