As a young adult, it is almost impossible to escape the effects of social media. No matter how many experts warn about the dangers of social media, it seems that Gen Z cannot give it up; they’re addicted. With that comes the mindset that social media is only harmful to some but not all. Yet, I feel that the true problem of social media lies with the popularity of “cancel culture.”
How cancel culture works
Cancel culture is society’s role in deciding that a person’s actions or statements, in the past or present, are unacceptable. The internet then floods that person’s social media accounts with hateful messages, warning others not to engage with their content. This idea of “canceling” seems to be more popular now than ever, especially in the rise of the popular app TikTok.
My personal experience with this phenomenon has strictly been observing it. While I have never directly participated in it, I realize that it does affect me. Watching a video about a person’s scandals, whether it is petty drama or a more serious offense, is a topic of conversation among peers. I have found myself drawn to it. It’s almost addicting– watching a person of higher celebrity status lose their platform overnight. And the younger generation can’t stop watching.
Cancel Culture has also gained a reputation as a controversial subject. Agreeing with it can cause you to be seen as hateful but proactive in fighting various social racisms. On the other hand, disagreeing with it might make you seem passive and almost a supporter of an influencer’s wrongful behavior.
The origin of this idea to “cancel” someone is unknown, but the popularity of it can cause this “movement” to be seen as something bigger than itself. Perhaps it is the idea of a non-celebrity group having the power to ruin someone’s career or the idea of heroics in a society filled with injustices that give cancel culture its weight. People can often feel powerless in a society seemingly run by social status and taking back that power through the downfall of others is an intoxicating idea. Either way, cancel culture fosters destructive behaviors.
Whether you agree or disagree, I think the internet can conclusively say it has a large effect. Social media is consistently a scary place and knowing that anyone can be canceled by millions is nerve-wracking. Cancel culture appears to be here to stay, and whether it cleanses the internet or inspires more hate is unknown.