This week, Kanye West has expressed his desire to participate in social media without showing his followers or gaining likes.
Although this may sound crazy, part of Kanye’s reasoning actually has some rationality. He states that having thousands of likes and many followers almost makes some feel god-like (probably himself), whilst leaving others to feel worthless.
Kanye believes that users should be given the option of what they want to show and when they want to show it, he proposes an ‘on/off’ button which would give the users more choice.
But why? Kanye has 28 million followers on Twitter and 3.6 million followers on Instagram. On average he gains 50 thousand likes on a single Tweet and up to 400 thousand likes on an Instagram post!
West infers that the current mental health problem is down to the fact people are seeking love online and not always getting what they want, but worst of all comparing their online prosperity to others.
He goes on to explains that the CEO’s of social media platforms have a duty of care towards their users and need to find ways to stop people from craving validation online.
However, this is not a new idea, Ben Grosser, a professor of new media at the University of Illinois came up with an invention in which he called ‘Twitter Demetricator’ which does exactly what Kanye describes, a platform where you can only view a user’s content without commenting or liking.
Grosser claimed that this new innovation would stop users seeking validation and comparing themselves to others online. Additionally, Grosser found that people could shape their own opinions about certain content without being misconstrued by others.
Could this be a new way in which we use social media? Should we have a choice of when went want to seek validation? And could this rest from online validation improve people’s mental wellbeing?
Do the CEO’s of social media platforms have a duty of care towards their users?
It remains to be seen but dare I say it, there could be method in Kanye’s madness…