As August draws to a close, the topic which has stood out for me this month is diversity – or rather the lack of it, within the social media genre.
A vlog with too much talk
At the beginning of this month, I received an alert from one of my favourite social media creators Kristabel Plummer of I want you to know fame, over on Instagram stories. She had received a comment her on one of her vlogs which inferred she had an issue with her YouTube channel.
I immediately headed over to Kristabel’s YT channel to watch the vlog and then read the comment in context. Here’s the vlog –
Below is a transcript of the comment from Lilly C –
Got this suggested. You’re lovely but you talk too much for my liking..not to take this as a negative, but personally I enjoy more vlogging and less talking. And your travel partner looked lovely
Confused as to how it’s possible for anyone can talk too much on a vlog, let alone one of the best UK vloggers on YouTube, I read and reread the comment. Then it clicked. This was not intended to be a fair and reasoned critique, rather a passive aggressive attack and veiled attempt to silence a popular YouTube voice.
It appears that Lilly C is a dummy YouTube channel – which in itself is OK, and personally I have no issue with. But not if the idea of this possible holding account is to deliberately cast shade within the safety of anonymity.
After much thought, I decided that I couldn’t let that comment go without a response from me …
Lilly, your comment appears as a worrying attempt to ‘silence’ a popular and gifted vlogger, as opposed to a fair and sincere critique. Sade I agree looked lovely, as does Kristabel I’m sure you will agree. But their looks, with the highest respect to Kristabel and Sade, are not the subject matter of this particular vlog. Why focus on their ‘looks’, without one mention of the actual topic of the vlog?
The answer of course is because Lilly’s motives were not entirely honourable. Either that or the Lilly is a victim of this incessant need to place beauty at a higher value than the content of a a person’s character. And yes, I am challenging Dr. Martin Luther King. Now he was a person who talked a lot … a lot of sense which still inspires and comforts millions of people today.
But is there more to this?
Hello World, Goodbye Diversity
Hello World – is a social media event which is due to take place in Birmingham, England in October. Here’s the tag statement –
HelloWorld is an epic four hour, immersive live show like nothing on Earth. Two identical performances on the 28th and 29th October at the Birmingham Genting Arena, bring the world’s biggest Social talent and you together under one roof for an unforgettable, shared experience.
Just a quick glance at the list of announced talent, highlights the complete and total lack of diversity across the board, of an event called “Hello WORLD!”. The version of the world as promoted by the event, doesn’t seem a million miles away from the world a mad man once imagined, which of course was one of the major causes of the outbreak of World War Two.
With so many talented bloggers from all walks of life, faiths, religions, sexual preferences, genders, etc, and in such a diverse city as Birmingham, arguably the most diverse city in the UK second to only London, it is difficult to create a convincing argument as to why the talent is so white, male, heterosexual, middle-class, able bodied, with an average age range below 30 and from bloggers mostly from the world of beauty and fashion.
When our collective attention is being directed towards such a narrow field of talent, representing such few fields and even less voices, it is no wonder that in 2017 we still fighting for equality?
If, in the era of globalisation, social media influencers and power houses can’t manage to organise a truly diverse social media event, with all the technology at our disposal, then we are all in more trouble than we think.
Dreams of a White Christmas
Many of the UK’s most celebrated social media talents also tend to have 1 thing in common – the support of an agency. At the risk of mentioning the C word when we’re still enjoying Summer, last Christmas a number of famous UK bloggers, who are represented by Gleam Futures, were treated to a pre-Christmas bash hosted by the agency. Here’s a video highlight from one of Jim Chapman’s YouTube channels, who is represented by Gleam.
From the huge number of bloggers, vloggers and staff at the venue, how many people of colour did you see?
Again, where is the diversity? How come a British, London based agency have so obviously failed to include a diverse range of social talent? How is that even possible? While we the audience are distracted by all the fun and jollies of the Christmas party trying to spot our favourite bloggers and vloggers, the subtle yet very loud message we are simultaneously receiving is that diversity is not a priority at this, or any other social media gathering. If people are being excluded from the party, how can we ever hope to create an inclusive social media network?
The irony of the title of Jim’s video is sadly all too apparent.
Note, many of the social media talents announced for the “Hello World” event are represented by Gleam Futures, including of course Jim Chapman. Dipping from a shallow pool of talent, will result in lack of inclusiveness.
What do you think? Is social media an accurate reflection of society, or a subtle promoter of far right ideals? Please comment below.
Thanks for reading.