I’m not going to lie: I love social media. I get excited if more than a few people favorite my tweet. I love finding the perfect filter to complement the selfies. I use social media for fun. I post pictures of my dog, my friends, and the particularly #instaworthy smoothie bowl I picked up. Sometimes I share photos or articles on current events that I find particularly thought provoking.
But that’s me. My couple hundred followers will skim through my content, maybe leaving a like or a comment in their wake. That’s it. My scope on social media is small, especially compared to big name celebrities like Selena Gomez – the most followed person on Instagram.
After the infamous incident involving Kim Kardashian, a Kanye West phone call, and fellow squad member Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez took to twitter to defend her friend. Surprisingly, she caught a lot of backlash for this one particular tweet.
There are more important things to talk about… Why can’t people use their voice for something that fucking matters?
— Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) July 18, 2016
Fans were angry, saying that Gomez was being a hypocrite. They accused her of not using her voice or fame for anything particularly important either.
That brings up an interesting point. What is the girl with the most Instagram followers posting that keeps fans so engaged? That keeps them coming back and liking her posts?
Her timeline is full of pictures with her fans from various concerts, glamor shots from magazines, flawless selfies, and promotions for her Revival tour and new music. In the entirety of 2016, not one post was dedicated to any social issue, charity, or cause.
But what about her BFF Taylor? It’s almost same story. The only posts with any substance on Swift’s page in the past year was her message to the families of the victims of the Orlando shooting in June, and a photo of herself in France following the attacks in Paris in November.
Swift’s mantra has always been feminism.
“So to me, feminism is probably the most important movement that you could embrace, because it’s just basically another word for equality,” she said in an interview for Maxim.
Despite her stance in the interview, the exclusivity of Swift’s Instagram feed and her not-so-secret feud with Katy Perry suggest a different tune. The lack of support from Swift on social media makes it seem like feminism wasn’t so much a message, but a world to throw around to get attention.
Other celebrities don’t have qualms about sharing their opinions. Leonardo DiCaprio fights climate change with his Instagram presence by posting pictures of animals that have been impacted.
Vampire Diaries star Ian Sommerhaulder alternates between swoon-worthy selfies and promotional pics for his own charitable foundation that raises funds for environmental education and preservation.
Emma Watson looks flawless in all of her pics but hey! She isn’t the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for nothing! Some her posts focus on shedding the light on the amazingly talented women in her life.
So is what Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, and countless other stars doing wrong? Should they be taking fewer selfies and sharing more important articles? Is their silence on social issues a bad thing?
While I do believe that stars have a responsibility to use their fame and followers for good and to spread positive messages to their followers, I don’t believe that there is one specific way to do that. Emma Watson empowers her followers by encouraging them to pick up books and educate themselves.
Taylor Swift’s timeline of selfies and photoshoots could empower someone else to believe that there’s nothing wrong with sharing a picture of yourself and loving it for no other reason than the fact that you look bomb.
Maybe Selena’s action shot from her tour inspires another girl out there to pick up an instrument and keep practicing.
So, Selena’s tweet earlier this year didn’t go unnoticed or unheard. While her fans may have been angry at Selena for not talking about what they wanted her to talk about, they may have missed the point:
Promoting love and self-acceptance in a world that is constantly trying to tear you down is it’s own form of empowerment. Sometimes, all you need is a picture of a girl in a sparkly dress or a selfie with a weird looking cat to remind you that everything is going to be ok.