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Person or Profile?

By Daniel Francis

In late 2020 when I was working on my second book, The Millennial Experience: 30 Stories of Hope, Growth and Success, I wanted one of the stories to focus on this idea of ‘cancel culture’.

For those who may not know, cancel culture refers to a culture in which those who are deemed to have behaved unacceptably or inappropriately are boycotted or shunned.

The judge, jury, and executioner are the social media community, and facts do not always play a role. With the viral nature of negative posts on social media, when you are cancelled it typically circulates everywhere and quickly.

So, whether right or wrong, it spreads everywhere. Persons have been cancelled for things they have said, done, or posted whether in the present or the past.

I think cancel culture is a double-edged sword. For those that are doing wrong, it is a great avenue to expose their misdeeds and bring some sort of justice where there is none to be given, for example, loss in business. On the other hand, there are many cases of innocent people being accused and their names being dragged through the mud as a result.

When doing research and preparing for the story in my book, I reached out to a local influencer who was recently the target of cancel culture and what she told me was quite alarming.

In her altercation, there was a misunderstanding about a piece of work that she put out through her business. An artist believed she was trying to profit off of their work and accused her of stealing. Before she could explain the situation, the entire thing had blown up on Twitter.

I do not know if you are familiar with Twitter, but scandals get picked up quickly on that platform and spread like wildfire. Before she knew it, she was being bashed by strangers for being a thief but that was only the beginning. She received threatening messages from strangers even to the point of death threats. Her family members were also being targeted on social media, and as you can imagine, her business took a hit all over a misunderstanding.

She was understandably distraught and eventually, the misunderstanding was cleared up, but the damage had already been done. More so the mental hit she experienced was the hardest. She was not accustomed to people saying such terrible things to her and it took a toll on her mental health.

On social media, it is quite easy to forget that behind each profile is a person. The impersonal nature of social media emboldens many to say things they would never say if face to face especially when outraged. Yet the ferocity of what is communicated is still felt by the receiver.

As the world changes and we go from era to era, this era of social media presents a way for us to connect with anyone and everyone, yet the impersonal mechanism has created different pockets of negative and positive behaviours in those that use the technology.

I fear that my generation and the generations coming will lose empathy for people based on this online mirage that gives the perception that they are speaking to a profile, not a person.

A profile can be more easily perceived as intangible and demonised by the machinations of what is said on the platforms and also what is created in our minds based on our impressions of what we see.

However, we must always remember that there is a person behind that screen whose life can be changed forever by what happens online. All to say think twice before you share that negative post accusing someone of something without many facts or send that harsh message to someone whose point of view you do not agree with.

At the end of the day, there is someone on the other side of that profile and we must learn to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.


Daniel Francis is a millennial helping other millennials. He is a two-time author of the books The Millennial Mind and The Millennial Experience, and an entrepreneur. Over the past four years, he has served as a Personal Development Coach whose work targets Millennials and helps them tap into their full potential. He is also a Self-publishing coach and has guided hundreds on self-publishing their book successfully.

IG: rebitlimited

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Email: themillennialmind2020@gmail.com

Website: rebityouth.com