Social Media Hierarchy by Xavier Jones

Just as there are hierarchies in the echelons of politics, families, business, religion etc., there is also that which exists on social media. However, this last one is without doubt the most unstable as freedom of speech finds itself in the most awkward of positions. On one hand, people claim to believe in it because it allows them to say things that would make the token idiot of any sitcom seem like a learned person. On the other hand, it is not appreciated as soon as a sufficiently thought-out statement is put forth. Instead, these thoughts (and that is not using the word loosely), especially when they come from public figures, with their varying degrees of influence, are met with one question and/or outburst signifying that the triggered has reached the limits of their ability to engage in a constructive dialogue (well, as constructive as social media comments sections can be in any case). The question “Who are you?” is never a question of genuine interest. It is merely a helpless attempt to dismiss someone that either has more influence, or has a greater claim to being heard in the controversy that has got everybody talking. It is a remark that only begs for attention when one feels threatened, or, as is often the case, has nothing of their own to say. It is a comment that pretends to assert a reputation, but is only internally sorrowful recognition of one’s prior (and soon to be restored) obscurity.

While the question previously referred to is nothing but bait to boost the relevance of the inquirer, the statement, “Stay in your place” is certainly the most absent-minded of the two utterances. This outburst dares to invoke the right to free speech, only with the intention to silence that of someone else. The person who utters this statement is not genuinely concerned for the merits that a person has to speak on any given subject—because they are likely as uninformed and/or unqualified to hold discourse on the topic—it is merely to assert (falsely, more often than not) that only they are competent enough to render a judgment with a wisdom surpassed only by that of King Solomon. And therein lies the instability of the social media hierarchy, people try to pull others down from the top of the totem pole that is glistening from the cold sweat of those grasping all relevance as if it is the only thing they have to live for before being buried alive by other strangers equally frantic to engrave their name in the sand that the tides of controversy and scandal will wash away before the cycle begins again.

Now to answer the question and reply to the statement that will be addressed toward me. Who am I? I am the one whose words you felt the need to read. Should you desire that I stay in my place, I am a writer, so I’m where I belong.

Leave a Reply