The #relatable factor

By Apple Parry

The mass production of relatable content is discouraging genuine opinion.

A few years back, the term “relatable” became a popular saying. People involved in social media started to become more and more “relatable.” But like all things that start out good, the mass locals with follower mentality overdid it.

This led to an incredibly boring cast of YouTubers.

But other than this new “typecast quirky” that happens to actually be very, very extremely normal, my main concern is the lack of self-cultivated opinions.

This need to be relatable to everyone is impossible if you also want to be a unique person with original thoughts.

We are told as kids that being different is great, but as we grow up we learn to realize that we can’t be too different, because not everyone will like us.

Grow up even more, and realize that you can’t be liked by everyone. You can’t relate to everyone, and you don’t need to.

Relatability should not be this mass-produced entity, it’s not a personality type. A person would have to become a chameleon in order to fit in with everyone. If you change yourself to please others, you will never be pleased with yourself.

Relatability should be a unique thing, not something as easy as drinking coffee every day, or putting on lip balm. The bar is set at an incredible low; am I relatable if I brush my teeth twice a day? Is that really what you bond with your friends about?

Uniqueness and quirkiness are both seen as relatable, so the cycle of conformity and the band wagoning continues.

The best example of this is the up-and-coming YouTuber, Emma Chamberlain. Sister Squad member has recently gained an inordinate number of subscribers on YouTube, due to her uniqueness, when compared to the majority of popular vloggers.

Chamberlain was quickly recognized as a more realistic voice for this generation, due to the sardonic tone of her humor. She quickly became the next “person to watch”, and compilations of her being “relatable” were seemingly being mass produced.

But here’s the thing about relatability: it should not be easy to relate to someone or something. In order to appeal to more people the definition of “relatable” has been broadened, and in turn, over used and in my ears, it means nothing.

Relating to a person used to be a mentally intimate thing. Two people who had weird experiences that are eerily similar, finding each other, and feeling less alone because of it.

The societal praising of relatability has led to blind following. This is where the band wagon effect comes into play. If your favorite social media stars love something, you are more likely to blindly agree with them, in order to be relatable to the people you like.

Having your own educated opinions will open up the opportunity for more interesting conversation. Instead of connecting with someone based on a tweet you saw, you could have an educated, formed opinion, and stand by that.

Being understanding and agreeable is not necessary all of the time. Take a break.

We have allowed the value of opinion to diminish. A neutral standpoint may keep you drama free, but it gets boring fast. I’m not telling you to have an opinion on everything, because that would require intensive research, and might get annoying.

But please, think of yourself as someone worth listening to. Create and cultivate your own opinions without the sway of others, especially the elusive influencers you think you know.

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