Article in brief: the article covers how in today’s society, people don’t need to have any educational background, or be an expert in anything, to be famous. They simply need to be “popular” on social media and are automatically perceived as role models despite them having nothing to earn being so influential.
February 11, 2011 – was my birthday, it was also the day Hosni Mubarak came tumbling down. It was also the time period when Sultan Saood Al Qassemi was hailed as the go-to person in the UAE for updates on the Arab Spring and Twitter was booming in the region.
Sultan is a dear friend of mine. A man I respect and someone I call my brother. I can wax lyrical about his accomplishments and his noteworthy articles and contributions to society. One can even list out his educational background and his role in the arts scene, political, journalistic and community contributions. He is a role model. He isn’t “popular” and doesn’t pose and pout for popularity.
The same can be said for founder and editor in chief of our e-zine, Iman Ben Chaibah, who is also a dear friend and sister. Having started an online magazine that has now transformed into a publishing house, Iman has grown Sail in the last five years. An IT professional by education and now a contributing lecturer in a notable university in Dubai, her contributions are vast in the community and even though she isn’t one of those Emirati girls who pictures her back for Instagram, she also doesn’t pout and pose for popularity.
My list could go on and on, and a special mention to those we have lost such as Giorgio Ungania and Thamer Salman who have done so much for the UAE and beyond, and are known in the intellectual circles of our community and society but yet they don’t influence movements.
This is what I mean before anyone goes on a rant, all those I have mentioned above worked hard to get to where they are and have achieved things and were visionaries before we could even think of things like TedxDubai or online publishing houses. However, they influence like-minded people and not the masses.
The masses unfortunately are influenced by the local versions of the Kim Kardashians and although I am disappointed for having used her name in my article, her global power especially over social media is undeniable to the point where even educated and intellectuals use her name or her power as a person to compare. She and others like her are by no means on the same level as people who have worked hard to achieve success, and it’s a shame that today young girls are influenced by the likes of her. A young man went to extreme measures and paid over $150,000 to look like Kim, and the only thing she’s famous for is using her body and her bimbo sense to gain popularity.
So my question is: are we doing the right thing by using social media as a tool to generate publicity for anything? Are we empowering young people to think they can charge a minimum amount of 10,000 AED just to appear in a place? Are we diminishing the importance of the roles people play in media, politics, education, business and others by giving importance to social media bimbos?
What has Kim and co done to deserve being called role models? What role does she play? And what model do they follow?
What does it take to gain high followership by the masses or are we counting quality versus quantity? In this case, I want the masses to follow the likes of Iman, Sultan and others who make a difference in our societies and communities with their contributions and sincerely hoping that this piece makes its round around the masses.
Aida has more than a decade experience in the communications, and mastering ceremonies field, she worked in private and public sectors, and now heads the Stakeholder Communications in Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing in Dubai. Aida was a columnist in few of the local newspapers, a TV co-host of a community talk show, and cofounded with friends a community platform: “Promise Of A Generation”.
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