September 17, 2021

Cancel Culture in Social Media: Productive or Not?

By Chloe Gile

As social media activity rises, so has the concept of “cancel culture”. Nowadays, it seems that you can’t hold a platform on social media without being cancelled at least once. The concept of getting cancelled can be defined as the withdrawal of support from a person who has done, or said, something deemed “socially unacceptable”. This idea may have started off as a joke, or a genuine effort to raise awareness surrounding an influencer’s undeserved platform, but at what cost will we decide enough is enough?

During the pandemic especially, there has been a spike in cancellations. The Times Now News explains in great detail how the excessive amount of time spent at home during the past year has given people more time on their hands to worry about what other people are doing. We have gotten to a point where there is no room for opinions anymore and if everyone is not on the same page (which would be impossible) there is a high chance of being publicly shamed on the Internet.

Believe it or not, this sense of cancellation in the social media world is not exclusive to influencers and celebrities. This issue has extended to actively cancelling people in our communities, places of work, and even college campuses. For example, over the past year, the University of Oregon has been presented with multiple social media accounts created for the sole purpose of reporting, calling out, and “cancelling” other college students for not following the current COVID-19 guidelines. Although the accounts were created from a place of concern for the Eugene community, and had a pure desire to prevent the spread of the virus, things have gotten ugly.

Accounts like these are no longer informative, helpful, or impactful. They are surrounded by malicious intent and have curated unnecessary drama throughout the community. Unfortunately with the number of COVID-19 cases in Oregon rising, something does need to be done to combat the inevitable spread, but social media cancellations have just become a distraction to the real issues at hand. Do people think that these posts will motivate students to reform their actions, or instigate them to act out even further?

This stands for other issues in the world as well. When change is necessary, is the best thing to do focus on de-platforming the people in the wrong, or make positive efforts towards change within oneself and the people in your own circle? Depending on the scenario, it could go both ways. There are instances when a person may not be worthy of anyone’s support anymore, but after a year of the social media world being set in this mindset of cancellation, you would think people would grow tired of cancelling others and experiencing no real change to the issues at the core.

5 thoughts on “Cancel Culture in Social Media: Productive or Not?

  1. Chloe, I really enjoyed your post. I love how you brought up those accounts that are related to the university. I honestly think they were intended to help people but in reality that would never happen. Cancel Culture is so prominent in social media that you can barely put out an opinion without being criticized somehow. With the Covid-19 accounts, it is sad that the cases are rising but trying to change that through social media is not the best way. To answer your question, I think that these posts are now just motivating students to make those commenters mad. It is a sad reality.

  2. I loved the covid campus account. Specifically, it was interesting to read other students’ testimonials about how they were being treated by the university. Cancel culture is so fascinating because of how fast it can reach people, thanks to social media. I think these posts can help keep people in line but at the end of the day, I believe they can do more harm than good. Not everyone will see these posts and think about the safety of our community, they will take them as personal attacks.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this! The idea of “canceling” is so broad and your example of the UO’s “cancel culture” with this Instagram account shows how almost anyone or anything is prone to be canceled sometime. Most people assume and only think of cancel culture being brought up on social media, which is true, but especially with recent events you added, goes to show that cancel culture can also exist on an “in person” scale as well.

  4. I loved that you provided the examples of how the university has faced cancel culture and the accounts that have emerged with the malicious intent to “call out” certain groups on campus. Sororities and fraternities are one of the largest groups on campus, and they get a lot of criticism for not taking the pandemic seriously. While I believe this to be true, only to a certain extent. It is easy to throw criticism at Greek life, but smaller groups, organizations, and unaffiliated individuals are also failing to take the COVID guidelines seriously. However, because they are not part of a larger entity, they are not “called out” on these social media accounts.

  5. Cancel culture is always very interest to me because I find it difficult to see the ultimate goal of it. I really think people should be held accountable and that bringing things to light on social media is beneficial. I don’t think cancel culture really solves a problem but just creates more anger. That’s just my opinion but there is a huge difference between holding someone accountable and then just completely going after them and not letting them learn.

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