Monday, May 16, 2022 | Shawwal 14, 1443 H
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The impact of irresponsible social media influencing at the time of COVID-19


Every house is a sanctuary. The gates serve as the protective barrier that let the outside world out, keeping strangers away from the sacred place where you and your loved ones are most vulnerable.

Imagine that you left your house for a day to run errands. In your family’s absence, somebody, a familiar face commanding huge following on social media fell in love with your front house. She thought it would look nice for her Instagram. She held an impromptu photoshoot — your well-framed pastel blue door becoming a backdrop for her OOTD of the day.

When you arrived home, your neighbour eventually told you that people were by your front yard taking photos. It wasn’t a big deal at first — that was why you painted the gates exactly as you did — because you wanted people to look and fall in love with it.

But then other people started coming days after. In the beginning, it’s just one or two. But they kept coming day after day, the number getting higher by the day as your gate is plastered on social media account one after another.

Then the panic started to set in. Your mind trying to comprehend the threat that was brought right at your doorsteps.

These people are not wearing masks. And just like the social media influencer that was on your doorstep a few days back, they too, are taking photos, lounging, appreciating — coughing, leaving behind them particles that can infect your family.

During the time of corona, you’d been keeping yourself and your family in. You don’t want to be part of the increasing number of cases or another body count on the death list. But while you stay in, here are droves of people seeking your home out, to take a selfie by your front gate and with them, they bring a threat — the very one that your family is trying to stay away from and survive.

The plot of this story seemed funny on the surface. And on other days, better days without the virus threat, it would have been partially welcomed. In fact, you would have been proud of the popularity of your house and your front gate.

But it’s a real-life story with real-life consequences. A family in Al Bustan Village is now living under constant threat of the virus because one social media influencer used her influence in the wrong way.

For the influencer, it was just a spur of a moment, a post that she would probably forget as she moved to the next outfit of the day and the next destination. She was all smiling on the photo, not even a mask in sight. Because of her fresh content, she got the likes she wanted not understanding that she left behind a family terrorised and living in a nightmare because of the constant barrage of unwelcome visitors who wanted to take the same photo she had. Most of them don’t wear masks and most of them a potential carrier of the virus.

It has been said many times that great power comes with great responsibility. In the time of COVID19, social media influencers even have a greater responsibility to be sensitive, to help educate the masses of how to stay safe because the problem we face today is not a joke. When you prioritise a selfie over safety, then there is definitely something wrong with your thought process.

As a social media user, you will, one day, come across this photo of a beautiful Mediterranean house in Al Bustan Village. It has a beautiful blue-painted door and windows reminiscent of the houses in Greece.

You’d come across the photo of this influencer too, smiling, not a care in the world. You would think it’s a cool photo and you too would want a photo just like it. If you are tempted to also take a selfie right at that very same doorsteps, remember that there is a family inside that is threatened by your mere presence and the possible harm you can inflict on their family.

And before you lounge or click that next Insta-worthy photo, think what you would have felt if it was your house and you are looking out and see strangers, all potential carriers of the disease, casually ignoring the privacy of your home.

Think of your own children or your parents and ask yourself, is one photo really worth it to put a family at risk? If it’s not, then leave that blue door alone. Come in another time — a better time when the virus is no longer the problem and you are no longer a threat.

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