We were to organize an event last year and we had a line-up of trainers for the event. One of my colleagues had been selling the concept of the event to someone who asked, “Aside so, so, and so on the bill, who among the rest can train me?” I found it quite disrespectful, and an attitude of sheer pomposity. I didn’t find it that way because it was our event, but because our generation is fast exchanging the idea of influence with sheer “likes” on social media.
In the mind of the fellow, what he/she was trying to ignorantly communicate was that, “Because the rest of those on the bill don’t make noise on social media, they know nothing to teach him or her.” How myopic!
I was at the book launch of my very good friend, Cherubim Mawuli Amenyedor, when Dale Quist, also a speaker at the launch, told us that a friend of his takes all the time in the world to analyze the number of likes someone has on a post within a certain space of time to tell how influential that person is. While I found it quite funny, I thought it was interesting and an indication of how much we are fast losing the meaning of influence. Another friend told me recently of how someone who raised similar concerns I raised recently on social media was being ridiculed because he had only few likes on that post.
I want us to see things from this perspective; the number of likes I get or you get on a post has nothing to do with your influence. We see senseless posts attract thousands of likes and yet very good ones have almost none. And I don’t know about you but I have encountered more people telling me how a certain post I wrote had blessed their life. In fact, there have been times they will remind me of what the post says and yet I forgot; yet interestingly, these people never “like” your post.
Here’s what I am driving at: if we want to use the number of likes to measure influence, then most of us shouldn’t be doing what we are doing. For some of us, social media only comes as an add-on to what we have been doing years ago. When I started writing articles that received commendation from my colleagues and hostel occupants, I had no social media account, and yet I was still influencing lives.
For many, they have more doing on social media than in real life. If social media is no more today, there will be nothing left for such people. We have heard of how people will call others asking if they saw a post they made; if they did, then they should login to like it for them. How pathetic! How can you then possibly equate “likes” to influence? Social media is only a tool to leverage for more; it is not a replacement of real influence!
Influence is influence; you either have it or you don’t. Social media “likes” have nothing to do with that!
Writer: Jonathan Adzokpe
-Lecturer, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
-CEO, Hetura Books
-Author: Realities of Life After School