Social Media & the rise of Celebrity Worship Syndrome

A few years ago I wrote on the impact Celebrity Worship Syndrome (CWS) was having on people.   Whilst the syndrome has been around for a while the impact social media has had on its increase cannot go unnoticed.

Prior to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like, the only access to these celebrities’ was through television interviews and what we read in magazines.

Now nearly every celebrity has a social media account on nearly every platform you can think of. We have more access to them than we ever did. We see their lives unfold almost instantaneously. What they are doing during their day, what they eat, what country they’re in and most of the time a sneak peek into their homes.

We know that CWS is when a person becomes attached to a celebrity’s personal and professional life, finding commonalities between their life and the celebrity and creating a psychological bond with that celebrity.

This vast array of information has perhaps led to an intensifying of CWS. The access we have been granted by most of these celebrities has allowed for fans to have a sneak peek into their world. However when it comes to someone that has the syndrome this sneak peek may hold more to them than just a tiny glimpse.

The more they post on social media about their daily lives the more we find ourselves having a connection. Sure for most people we would think ‘oh isn’t that nice, I do that too’. However for people with this syndrome they develop a more personal relationship, finding commonalities and connections that most of us would not have considered.

Dr Mark Griffiths – Professor of Behavioural Addiction at Nottingham Trent University claimed in an article in the International Business Times that he believed that social media has contributed to the rise of the syndrome as celebrities can interact with their fans regularly via their social accounts.

To it’s extremes it can lead to fans stalking their favourite celebrities everywhere they go. An example of how social media can encourage fans to track down celebrities was given by a Justin Beiber fan earlier this year when the singer visited Australia. Miss Del Rosario said in that article “You can find hotels and such from looking at the details in the background, listening to what’s happening, and the signs.” This is a perfect example as to how easily accessible celebrities have become via social media.

In another article psychologist Meredith Fuller suggests that the influx of information regarding celebrities that we now have access to has made our obsession with celebrities more extensive. She even goes on to say “We get a lot of our identity from them. We get visual clues of these glamorous lives and a little bit of us wants to imagine we lead [the same life]..They’ve got the money, contacts, parties and amazing clothes, so we want to relate to them.”

Whilst for people like Miss Del Rossario who knows when to respectfully stop following people like Justin Beiber, this is not always the case with some people.

In recent times the extremes of peoples celebrity obsession has lead to the murder of former US voice contestant Christina Grimmie who was killed after a concert by a deranged fan. The killer stalked her social media accounts and followed her every move.

Whilst Kim Kardashians Paris fiasco was not related to CWS you can see how the dangers of these celebrities playing out their lives on social platforms can present it has lead to people knowing where they are, what they are doing and the valuable items celebrities have with them or in their homes allowing them to be exposed to many different attacks, whether it be fans stalking them or being robbed and their lives being put in danger.

Whilst social media is a great tool to have your voice heard and your brand promoted it has also created a platform where for some interaction with celebrities and their lives can sometimes lead to a blur between reality and how much we invest our emotions into their world.

Social Media: We’re Spending More Time On It Than We Actually Realise

Have we become slaves to social media? If you think about it how long have you spent on your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook today? Yesterday? All of last week? Don’t feel bad, we all do it and don’t realise how much time were actually wasting doing it rather than getting out and enjoying our selves or relaxing. When you add it up it accumulates to a few hours a day.

Now, before you presume that I hate social media – I don’t! In fact I think its possibly one of the greatest technological inventions of our time. But, I do think that perhaps its consumed us more than we realise and perhaps taken away from our  experiences and also down time that could be used to do other things.

There results are staggering to say the least, according to Social Media Today :

On average people will spend nearly 2 hours a day on their social media accounts- 116mins a day to be exact! This amounts to an astonishing 5 years and 4 months over a lifetime.

The bad news is this figure is set to rise. If you think about it you probably don’t even get 2 hours to relax during the day. You know that thing where you just sit back and do nothing, not even stare at Facebook. 

So with this in mind what’s happened to us? Have we completely forgotten how to live without social media? Our lives have become so intertwined with our social media obsession that it seems we can’t manage to put or phones or tablets down. Everything we do is recorded, posted and expressed on these channels that we’ve forgotten to take a step back and appreciate what’s actually happening around us.

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Image: Pixabay

I mean for instance, I’m fairly confident to say that nearly everyone who’s attended a concert has either been snapping photos, recording or streaming live on their social accounts (I’ve done it too!).

There was a time when we used to be so enthralled with the show that we wouldn’t have considered pulling out our phones and uploading content to our accounts. Nowadays we can’t help but dodge the line of phones held high blocking our views of the stage as people simultaneously stream and record their experience. But can you even call it that anymore? Is it really an experience that we’re having? We’re all looking at the recordings on our screens rather than actually looking at the artist who is right in front of us.

We’ve become so obsessed with “checking in” and showing everyone where we are that we don’t really give it all our attention and enjoy the moment. A few years ago I wrote a piece for The Scavenger, on how social media is running our lives even at the dinner table. It was all about the “check in” and conversations we were having with our friends on the social channels rather than conversations with our friends at the table we were sitting at.

This is much of the same argument. We’re so focused on “checking in” than actually “checking out” and enjoying what was happening around us.

Don’t get me wrong I love Facebook as much as the next person and I can’t deny that. It has helped people connect with each other all over the world and made families closer. What my argument is, is that perhaps we need to put down the apps and start enjoying our surroundings a bit more and take in what is actually going on in our world not just what we’re seeing on our screens.

At the end of the day we need to get back to basics. Stop, put down the phone or tablet and enjoy what’s in front of you, otherwise you could be one of those people who has literally wasted over 5 years of your life starring at something through the small screen when you could have been staring at it directly and appreciating the moment.

 

Killer Fashion: The health risks we choose to ignore all for the sake of looking good.

We all love fashion, however the lengths we go to to look good can at sometimes be painful and damaging to our bodies. Tell that to my feet at 4am on Sunday morning after a night of dancing and they would agree with you!

All throughout history from the most primitive of cultures to the most affluent, looking good has always been an important part of society. The lengths women have gone to in order to make themselves look good will make your head spin.

In Africa tribes such as the Mende people of Sierra Leon, believed that the Neck Ring worn by their women is the epitome of beauty. Each to their own I say. Although it looks pretty, this piece of jewellery stretches the neck and causes severe damage. Yet, to the women of the Mende Tribe this was a symbol of sexuality, wealth and high status.

In China the practice of foot binding began in the 10th Century during the Tang Dynasty. Young girls from the age of six had their feet bound in bandages and broken so they couldn’t grow. This practice lasted for nearly a thousand years.

Why would you do that? Well, according to an article by Carrie Kellenberger this was done because small feet were a sign of prestige, beauty and wealth.

In today’s society women may not be as extreme in their attempts to look good, I’m not talking plastic surgery- because there have been some cringe worthy moments! I’m talking about high heels. For most women wearing heels makes us feel sexy, our legs look longer, slimmer and let’s face it they make any outfit look great (even a potato sack). Who doesn’t want to look like a glamazon straight off a runway?

In spite of this- now lets be honest with each other, wearing high heeled shoes isn’t the most comfortable thing, even Lady Gaga wears joggers when she’s not performing. If it were, those fold up ballet flats wouldn’t have been invented and tucked into our clutches.

I’m the first to say I love waring my heels.   But whilst they look good they aren’t that great for you. Long term wear- I mean wearing them all day everyday, impacts your feet, ankles, calves and hips as well as severely impacting your spine and knees.

In an article featured on the spine universe , Dr Christina Lasich wrote “the spine is very vulnerable because it has specially designed curves that evenly distribute your weight. High heels alter these curves. Eventually, this poor posture places too much uneven wear on the discs, the joints, and the ligaments of the back”

Think that’s bad? Ok well here’s what it does to your knees wearing them frequently puts extra strain on the inner sides your knees, making the wear and tear accelerate which then causes osteoarthritis.

I can go on but you get the idea. My point is that whilst we all want to look good, we should also be aware any health issues that may arise when your body is constantly put in an unnatural stance.

Don’t worry I get it , we all need to look our best especially if you’re working in a corporate environment. If you work in an office and have meetings then have the heels by your desk and ready to go but wear them only when you have to. Ballet flats come in all shades and designs and are comfy. Plus no ones going to look at what shoes you’re wearing when you’re sitting behind your desk.

So before you go taking your heels to the nearest charity bin- it’s OK, you don’t need to! Just remember to give your feet a break from time to time.

 

Job burn- It’s real and can be doing you more harm than good.

Ever thought “why am I still in this job, and how do I get out?” I have. Now, I’m not saying that everyone will experience this in the same way as I have but I think its important for people to know that the realities of not liking your job can lead to serious consequences. So when I started to look further into this before I made my mind up to leave I was surprised at what some of these consequences were. I mean you don’t like your job- so who does?! Toughen up and live with it-right? Well, no not exactly.

The stress of being in a job that’s not your career plan or that is draining can take its toll on you physically and mentally. Lets admit it, most of us have experienced this to some degree, unless of course you are living your dream life and career-if so we’re green with envy.

For most though, not liking your job can actually affect your health. Yep that’s right! Not liking where you work or even what you do can be detrimental to your health. For me it became such a mundane task that I used to stare at my screen and nothing would literally compute. Not only that, there was the feeling that this job was going to get me nowhere–at least not in any career path I wanted to be in. And believe me my decision to leave was not based on a whim; we’re talking months and months of having the same feelings.

According to the Indeed Job Happiness Index 2016 Workplace Happiness World Wide, Australia ranked 11th in the World out of 25 participating countries and a sample size of 10 million employees. Whilst we’re doing better than number 25 Belgium-if anyone was curious, the report does show that most Australians are not happy with their jobs.

Another survey conducted by Survey Sampling International on behalf of Seek saw out of 4800 participants half were unhappy with their jobs.

For a majority of us the most common reasons for not taking the risk of changing employment comes down to things like mortgage repayments, no time to job hunt-you know life! Also not having the skill set or qualifications to do what we really want or we just don’t know where or how to start looking for the career we desperately want to have.

However, not doing anything about it will all eventually lead what is known as it job dissatisfaction. That feeling you get when you find yourself staring at the computer screen and no thought process will drag you out of the chasm of empty thoughts you’re currently in.

Job dissatisfaction and emotional stress can be brought on by “job burn out”.  Trust me I’ve been there-it’s not pretty! Job burn out can lead to you feeling exhausted emotionally, physically and mentally. This can then lead to negative thoughts and feelings that can leave you feeling a sense of hopelessness and can lead to further implications including health issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease and depression.

The causes of job burnout or work related stress can vary for each person. A few main reasons for these causes can be:

  • Organisation culture
  • Bad management practices
  • Job content and demands
  • Physical work environment
  • Relationships at work
  • Change of management
  • Lack of support
  • Role conflict
  • Trauma

These are some reasons that its time to make a change, there may be others that will vary from person to person.

If you’re unhappy and can recognise some of the above reasons, and you can leave the current position you’re in then do so. I saw a sign in a café once that read “the fear of failure cripples dreams”. Staying in a job that isn’t doing you a world of good career wise, mentally or both is not going to be great for you in the long run.

Alternatively, if you can’t leave but can get a ‘career break’ from your employer, then that’s also a good starting point to give yourself a chance to try something different. At least you have the safety net that you can return to employment.

Taking the plunge can be scary, but what’s scarier giving something a go for fear of failure or staying in the same day to day routine that you have absolutely no passion or enthusiasm for?

Your body and mind are in cahoots with each other so make sure you listen to them.

Everybody Needs A Little Customer Service Experience.

Now I’m not talking about actually receiving good customer service but rather working in customer service. Yes, thats right ! Working in customers service might actually do you a world of good when it comes to your people skills.  And also perhaps make the world a little nicer if everyone had some experience in the industry at some point of their lives.

Coming from a predominant customer service background I’ve had to deal with all types of people, whilst most are pleasant there are the fair few who are rude, obnoxious and down right disrespectful. If you’ve worked in customer care you’d know the type; the customers that are unpleasant from the get go.

Now I’m not saying that people shouldn’t get upset when something goes wrong. I do, and of course I’ll complain about it.  I’m saying that there are people that need to learn a few lessons in communication because of the way they speak to others.

Working in the customer care industry changes the way you respond to people. It  makes you realise that there is a person (with emotions, just like you) on the other end of that phone. As Summer Beretsky who’s had experience in the industry points out “despite our (occasionally) robotic voices, we’re humans”

Let me give you an example. I had a customer swear at various staff members because his delivery did not arrive complete. Fair enough I hear you say, well yes and no. Believe me when I say each person that spoke to him was courteous and willing to assist as best they could. It got to the point where no one could talk to him as he was swearing and screaming and wouldn’t let anyone get a word in edgewise.

Eventually after speaking to (by this I mean swearing at) a few of my team, who basically gave him the same answer and tried to assist without escalation, he got to me. I was a supervisor at the time so it got to a point that someone with ‘authority’ had to speak to this person. Again, I gave him the same answer that everyone else had given him (it wasn’t going to change, the customer isn’t always right).  I tried to explain the situation to him as calmly as I could. Well, he swore at me too and then proceeded to do the same to my manager.

Now if you think thats bad, imagine hearing this day in day out, not by everyone that speaks with you, but it’s enough to make you think whatever happened to good old fashioned manners?

Again, I get it when something doesn’t go right you need it fixed pronto!

My point is customer care representatives deal with a lot of angry, rude and obnoxious people (one of the reasons for the high turnover rate in the industry and also the grumpy customer service person you’ve currently spoken with-perhaps!).

When you’ve worked in the industry and you’ve listened to the way some people speak to others (not with others, because that would constitute a conversation), I can guarantee you you’d be appalled. As the saying goes ‘you wouldn’t speak to your mother like that’.

A stint in customer care especially in online retail or a call centre will inevitably make you aware of how people treat others, and how you in turn treat people.

This is just an opinion and I know most people are nice. But, I have to argue that working in the industry does give you better people skills. It allows you to develop patience, understanding and confidence to deal with stressful situations, as well as the ability to think outside the ‘box’.

Worst case scenario (if you want to call it that), you end up walking away with a realisation that if you don’t want to be spoken to like that, then you wouldn’t speak to others in that same manner.

FOMO:When You Just Can’t Say NO!

Our daily lives are so busy lately: work, family commitments, household chores and the like all consume much of our time. Even when we are to the point of exhaustion there is still that dread that if we don’t attend that party or dinner with friends we are going to completely be disconnected from what’s going on. That deep dread that if you miss it, you’ll also be missing on out something important.

The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a common feeling to have and as much as we like to pretend it doesn’t happen to us, let’s face it- it does or has to some extent.

Anxiety can vary between extremities and can also manifest in a variety of ways. FOMO is also classified as a type of anxiety and whilst it may not lead to panic attacks or other symptoms experienced by those that suffer anxiety it still impacts people and how they live their daily lives.

Dr Dan Herman identified and gave the experience of FOMO the name in 2000. According to Herman, the definition of the disorder is a fearful attitude towards the possibility of failing to exhaust available opportunities and missing the expected joy associated with succeeding in doing so.

To one extreme or the next, each and every one of us at some point in their lives has experienced this sensation of having to attend every outing, work function, and gathering we are invited to. That niggling though of “if I don’t attend this I might miss out on networking opportunities”.  Or worse yet “my friends will be talking about this for weeks and I’ll have nothing to contribute to the conversation”.

You may feel tired or you just don’t want to really go, but at the same time you don’t want to miss out, so instead of replying NO or UNABLE TO ATTEND to our Facebook and calendar reminders we reply YES. And god forbid you miss out on that mid week dinner with friends – which you know will end up being a late night. Good luck the next morning when your alarm goes off at 6.30am.

FOMO according to Linda Sapadin, is a type of anxiety that affects everyone from children to adults. The anxiety can also stem from social media where the knowing that people are going to attend an event and brag about it might just be too much for some and they commit to going – whether they really want to go or not, because everyone else is.

Is there a way to stop this form of anxiety from taking over your life and basically running you to the ground with exhaustion? Yes, as Spading mentions, “You can’t have it all. You have to say no to some things in order to say a meaningful yes to others”. The remedy is as simple as it sounds.

Take the time out think about what’s really important to you, is it the party everyone’s talking about- but you don’t really want to go to, or doing what you actually want to do whether that’s relaxing at home or going to the gym?

At the end of the day you can’t go to every party, event, and social gathering you have been invited to. Saying NO to a few here and there will not kill off your social life, however it will prevent you from ‘burning the candle at both ends’.

This is a type of anxiety and whilst some anxieties can be overcome with some simple techniques, if you find that you do need help, talk to your medical professional so that they may offer you some assistance with ways to get it under control.