You Only Live Once!

Do you have a bucket list? In this day and age of YOLO (You Only Live Once) it seems that every other social media post is about the travel.  Open any social media channel and you will see an avalanche of beautifully curated photos highlighting someone’s travel to one beautiful place to another.  From the turquoise waters of Maldives to the snow-capped mountains of Mt. Everest it looks like the whole world is a treasure waiting to be explored by intrepid travellers.

What makes this possible? Surely the rise of social media and it’s capability to provide a platform for the average Jane and Joe had a lot to do with it. The meteoric rise of the Instagram Influencer can vouch for that. For generations before the distribution of media content was limited to the traditional channels of print, television and radio. Currently, you can broadcast from any or all social media platforms of your choice. This gives us unprecedented access to an audience across the globe that transcends barriers of language and societal norms.

This is its greatest strength, but also its greatest weakness. With all the information that flows day in and day out it can be hard to sift wheat from chaff. How do we know that this one or that one is a great post to read? How do you know that this blogger is citing reliable information? With the recent controversies plaguing popular social media influencers what was credible yesterday might not be well thought of the next day. Remember the farce that was the Fyre Festival? Touted as the next big thing and endorsed by a host of top tier celebrities. The crash and burn of this much hyped festival was a lesson for the ages.

It is all too easy to get lost in the sea of endorsements and reviews disguised as objective information. This is the downside of all that information coming at you at hyper speed. For good or for bad one click is all it takes and news is sent out to billions of possible viewers.

This possibility of misusing this power has some of the biggest social media platforms under fire. Recently the government has taken a closer look at the partnerships and earnings of Instagram endorsers. On the other hand Facebook has had to deal with a lot of pressure over the proliferation of fake news and its impact. This is not something that is affecting just one state or even one country but it is something that has the ability to impact situations across the globe. The great news is that these social media platforms are aware of the impact on society and is partnering with local communities to stop the harmful effects. On the other hand this is a work in progress and although they have made progress there is no one sure fire solution, at least not yet.

So the next time that you are looking at what you think is a great post to read you might want to fact check the story to make sure it doesn’t lead you down the wrong trail.