Are You Woke or Are You Awake?
In recent years, our country has entered “woke” culture. But what exactly is it, and how does it apply to our lives?
Woke culture, in a nutshell, is about opening our eyes to things we were once blind to. It is about uncovering the hidden aspects of our history and society that have hurt others. And it is about holding ourselves to a higher standard of knowledge and behavior than in the past.
At its best, woke culture has helped many people understand the very real hurts and grievances of people who have not traditionally held power or influence. And this is a good thing.
As tragic as the George Floyd murder was, for example, it became a catalyst for woke culture to showcase to America the pain, suffering, and disadvantages of black people – writ large. It showcased the disparities in the criminal justice system blacks face as well as the disparities they face in countless other arenas of life (can anyone really argue with the fact that it is wrong that blacks get 50% less call backs to work interviews because they have a “black sounding name” even when they have equivalent credentials as whites)?
But woke culture also has its excesses. It also has its downsides. It also has its blind spots.
At its worst, woke culture can promote political correctness to a fault. It can impose its ideology of “canceling” those it disagrees with. And it can get wrapped up in forever being offended at various things to the point of self-indulgence.
It has, for example, criticized prominent – and beloved – authors who cite objective science when discussing their views on controversial topics. It has even burned these authors’ books and attempted to cancel them because they did not conform 100% to their unscientific beliefs.
We can do better than this.
It is time for us to move from simply being woke – with its emphasis on strict pop culture conformity – to being “awake.” But what do I mean by this?
If we want to become awake, we will have to start embracing the whole truth, not just part of it. If we want to become awake, we will have to start embracing all diversity – of people and of opinion and of ideology – not just certain types of diversity. If we want to become awake, we will have to move away from always being offended by someone or something to always loving those people and things that offend us.
You see, being awake is not a repudiation of wokeness – it is a transcendence of it. It aims to take the best of woke culture and marry it with the best aspects of ourselves (not just the most hurt or offended aspects of ourselves).
We don’t have to accept the limits of woke culture as it stands now; we can demand that it lives up to the best of itself.
It’s Time For The Real Influencers To Rise Up – Part 2
In part 1 of this series, we discussed the differences between superficial influencers and substantive ones. We saw that the former aims to distract while the later aims to empower. In part 2, we’re going to outline a few steps upcoming substantive influencers can take to rise up and build the platforms they need to get their message out. When they do, they will become the real influencers society needs, not just the superficial ones pop culture rewards.
Here are 3 ways substantive influencers can build the audience they need to get their ideas and insights out to the world:
- Substantive influencers can start to build their own platforms inexpensively through tried and true formulas. Even though gaining social media followers or huge email lists might seem intimidating at first, it isn’t as hard as it looks. There are in fact formulas substantive influencers can use to do it. Free resources like Overdrive carry e-books and audiobooks filled with literally thousands of free books that demonstrate step by step how to 1) grow a blog, 2) build an e-mail list, 3) increase follower counts, and more – and how to do it in a substantive way, not a superficial one. These formulas have been used for a very long time by some of the most successful influencers (who don’t play the superficiality game) and can be used by anyone who wants to become a substantive influencer.
- Substantive influencers can leverage other people’s platforms. There are many people who have built large platforms who are looking for original content from would-be substantive influencers. But why are they looking for it? They are looking for it because they want to provide value for their audience and, in many cases, want to help up-and-comers who are eager to say something unique and empowering that will help other people. Substantive influencers can do this by contacting those with large platforms and asking to write for their blogs or offer a webinar – or some type of other free resource – so that unique insights can be received by audiences who are craving something deeper.
- Substantive influencers can truly arise by focusing on the long haul. Despite the fact that we currently live in hashtag culture, most substantive platforms are not built on going viral. That is, most are not built to be turbocharged by superficial internet culture. In fact, they are built in the opposite way: step-by-step, leveraging formulas and small progress daily that collectively builds to something large over time. This might seem difficult to do because it will take a long time, but substantive influencers can realize that the time will pass anyway so it might as well be used wisely and productively.
By employing these 3 simple steps, it is possible for substantive influencers to rise up and build their own platforms if only they’ll follow the formulas that work – and if only they’ll do it for the long haul. If more and more of them do, they can provide a better alternative than the superficial influencers because they will be empowering their followers, not simply distracting them. Are you one who will step into becoming the real, substantive influencer society needs you to be? I’d love to hear from you, so leave your comments below.
It’s Time For the Real Influencers To Rise Up – Part 1
I was having a conversation with a brilliant friend about amazing people we knew who had a lot to say but no platform to say it. My friend, who went to Harvard Business School and who is very successful, said that this was one of the saddest aspects of modern society.
I couldn’t agree more.
The more I interact with celebrities, influencers, and people who are followed by lots of people, the more I realize that very few of them have something original to say. Now this is not an attack on their intelligence, creativity, or character in any way; it is simply an observation that those with the biggest platforms in America often do not have the most unique “voices.” (There are, of course, exceptions to this but the exceptions do not disprove the rule.)
I’ve written extensively on what having a unique voice entails before, but here is a quick recap: having a unique voice is when we express our authentic, original, and breakthrough insights and ideas that help other people’s lives get better.
But so few who have the largest platforms are actually helping people’s lives get better in real and concrete ways. And the reason so few are doing this is because their platforms are not based on having a unique voice; they’re based on showing off superficial spectacle.
In today’s age, the average kid wants to be an influencer more than they want to be a doctor, lawyer, actor, or even entrepreneur. The average kid wants to soak up the online likes and applause because they are witnessing that that is where the greatest rewards are – in the superficial.
Our country’s youngsters see that to become an influencer you don’t need to have business ideas that could help others; that you don’t need to have profound wisdom that can be the ingredient people need to overcome obstacles in their lives; and that you don’t need to really be successful by any conventional standards in your life. They see that all you need to do is to look cool, to show some skin, to dance or make a funny video, or film yourself playing video games.
And because they see superficiality being rewarded with huge platforms, they desire this superficiality for themselves.
But where does this leave other people who refuse to play this superficiality game? Where does this leave people who have something important to say but who don’t yet have followers to say it to?
Although we have seen the rise of the superficial influencer take over the internet, there is still hope for substantive influencers to arise who will use their platform to empower others – not distract them.
In part 2 of this series, I will outline some key ways for how substantive influencers – the real influencers – can step up to the plate. They’re needed now more than ever.
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