Kanye West Speaks Out Against Social Media Pressure
Rap superstar Kanye West is known for his often-questionable statements and behavior, but he may have shown a different side of himself with his argument against the pressures of social media.
In a few new posts online, West called on Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and others to end the pressure and stress of likes, comments, and followers on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
“There are people who are committing suicide due to not getting enough likes. Seeking validation in the simulation,” West wrote. “Speaking for myself I personally want to participate in social media with the option of not having to show my followers or likes.”
Indeed, many studies have proven that social media use is linked to increased depression and anxiety. Aside from comparing the quality of their lives to those they see on screen, it’s inescapable that many users judge others based on their followers and stats through things like a verification check.
West compared this to judging someone by what’s in their bank account or how big their (genitalia) is.
“We should be able to participate in social media without having to show how many followers or likes we have,” West continued.
Although it seems unlikely that one major celebrity’s opinion can influence an online powerhouse, Twitter CEO Mark Dorsey did respond to West’s comments just a few hours afterward.
“We’ve been thinking deeply about the follower and like counts, and what that incentivizes,” read a message to Kanye from Dorsey. “We want to change. What made sense 12 years ago doesn’t make sense today. At least for us. Us making that number bold and big incentivized people to want to increase it, and feel bad if they couldn’t. That’s not right. We want to incentivize contribution to the global conversation and consciousness.”
Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have certainly made changes throughout their run, as any business would—to better suit their clientele’s needs.
Although there is an argument that knowing the number of followers and traffic a person receives on social media is relevant from a business standpoint, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be public knowledge, as much of it currently is.
There is also the case that receiving likes on a post can merely be an innocuous gesture between friends or likeminded people, to communicate and solidify existing social bonds. But again, maybe only the receiver of these actions could see this information, omitted from public view.
How would altering these kinds of actions affect our overall experiences on social media and what we’ve known of it?