I’d like to start out with a framing story by Dr. Seuss: The Sneetches. This story is not as popular as some of Dr. Seuss’s other books so I am going to give you a summary, although I highly recommend reading the whole book.
The Sneetches are a society that lives on the beach. Some Sneetches have stars on their bellies and some do not have stars upon thars. (Seussism) The Sneetches with the stars on their bellies have frankfurter roasts on the beach and if you don’t have a star, you are not invited to the party.
One day Sylvester McMonkey McBean, the fix it up chappie, came to town with a machine that could put stars on your belly – for a fee of course. The Sneetches without stars lined up to go through the machine and popped out at the end of the conveyor with stars on their bellies. This made the original star belly Sneetches very upset, how could they tell who to invite to their exclusive parties?
Well, of course Sylvester McMonkey McBean had a solution, the machine could take OFF the stars as well. Soon the Sneetches spent all their money putting stars on and off their bellies. No one knew who was who but Sylvester McMonkeyMcBean, amused at the folly of the Sneetches, said “you can’t teach a Sneetch” and left town with all of the Sneetches money.
The Sneetches greed and need to be better than others caused their whole system to crash and in the end, they were all the same.
The Sneetches is an allegory for discrimination and I have been thinking about it as people continue to talk about influencers and classifying people as they see fit. Why are we so fixated on our social scores, number of followers, and mentions? Why are people being called influencers? What are the other people? Non-influencers?
I, for one, don’t want to be judged on a score, a floating algorithm or any arbitrary number. I’m not an influencer or someone to suck up to because you think it might help you. I’m a person just like you. Putting people on a pedestal is not healthy.
I urge you to think twice before taking all the social media influencing scores, grades and numbers too seriously. Think independently and be aware of your thinking. Don’t behave like a star belly Sneetch and think that you are better than someone else based on your number of followers, score or grade. It is a very slippery slope. Putting people into this box or that box is judging them.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” Albert Einstein
What do you think of the constant discussion of influencers?
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