This month, The News’ Behind the Facade series is focusing on the impact of social media on our youth. Today, Aspen Bruce talks to social media content creator Gennady Sharpe about the importance of being self-reflective.
Self-awareness, ownership and consideration are the aspects that influence what content is posted online by influencers.
Wanaka-based content creator Gennady Sharpe acknowledged the importance of being self-reflective.
‘‘I think it’s really important to take ownership of what you decide to put out there.
‘‘I will never post about a topic that I don’t fully understand and the things I fully understand is when it comes to domestic violence, but I’m never like ‘let me help you’. I know the avenues to direct people to,’’ she said.
Ms Sharpe has used her platform to connect followers with the appropriate support networks when they have disclosed their personal struggles to her.
‘‘On a daily basis I could reply to 400-500 messages . . . and that might take me a week. Sometimes your inbox is flooded with people when you’re talking about something people are passionate about or you’re passionate about,’’ she said.
Ms Sharpe said while she enjoyed creating content it was a hobby, and she was aware of children growing up wanting to be influencers.
‘‘I have a full-time job, and if Instagram fell down tomorrow I have these genuine relationships, I have a really good job and I have a life that is complete without that social media platform.
‘‘My life doesn’t revolve around [social media] and I think that’s really important,’’ Ms Sharpe said.
She acknowledged Instagram was not going to be around forever and with TikTok’s massive popularity, Ms Sharpe said it was important to be fulfilled in day to day life as well, not just for everybody else and pretty pictures.
Ms Sharpe said she had experienced harsh comments and bullying online.
‘‘You wouldn’t go up to someone on the street and say it, so I don’t understand how someone will get on to their screen and say it to another person.’’
The anonymous gossip chat website Tattle has pages exclusively focused on ridiculing New Zealand influencers.
While no comments on the website were pointed towards Ms Sharpe, other influencers across the country had been the targets of criticism.
The Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015 defines cyberbullying and other modern forms of harassment as, ‘‘when someone uses the internet, email, apps, social media or mobile phones to send or publish threatening or offensive material and messages, spread damaging or degrading rumours or publish online invasive or distressing photographs’’.