Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

The Curse of Facebook Popularity

By Jean Gasho | Visit her Blog Just Jean |

Someone very close to us recently said to Boaz, ‘Each time I post a picture of myself on Facebook, I get over 600 likes, but when I post about my business, I don’t get any likes at all. It’s very embarrassing and discouraging and I feel like not posting anymore.’

Jean Gasho
Jean Gasho

He’s very ambitious, but he’s ready to give up on his dream because no one is liking his business posts on Facebook.

As much as I love social media and all the splendid glory that comes with it, I find social media popularity to be more of a curse than a blessing. There is no denying that social media has improved our lives, we connect with friends and like-minded people, and there are certain opportunities that are created only on social media. I would not be where I am today was it not for social media.

But I can’t help but also notice the downside of social media, especially the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ and the sense of instant ‘popularity’ and false ‘achievement’ that social media gives us.

I think it’s a curse to be popular on social media without achieving anything else in life. Take the people who are very popular on social media, they post a single picture and get over 5k ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. They feel accomplished that they have a huge following, and to them, they feel like they have made it in life.

They will be famous on social media, but when it comes to their personal lives, they have no single asset to their names. They will not even be able to buy a car without borrowing money. They have to pay rent every month to their ‘landlord’ who will probably not even be on Facebook. And if their landlord is on Facebook, maybe he gets 2 likes if he posts anything yet, in reality, he is more successful than them and will at least leave an inheritance for his children.

But the tenant who is more popular on social media feels more accomplished than their landlord because they have more followers. How sad.

When you post a picture of yourself in nice clothes or flexing in a car that is borrowed on finance, you will get more likes than if you post your business project. If you are a woman and you post a picture showing your thighs and cleavage, or baring your body in a bikini you will get more likes than posting your business project.

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I do sometimes cringe at the length we go just to get our ego stroked on social media, even when we know it’s not even real. I was recently added to a Zimbabwean Facebook group where women post pictures of their houses.

Apparently, its supposed to be a motivational group where women encourage each other with decorating ideas, but I see it more as a ‘my house is nicer than yours’ kinda thing. The competition on that group is excruciating. Some women go as far as to steal pictures of houses on google and pretend that the houses are theirs so that they get their ego stroked on the group with likes and comments.

The length that most of us will go to just to paint an illusion of success on Facebook is rather a sad state of humanity today.

No one will come on Facebook and say they are broke. No one will tell you they are struggling to pay bills. But they will go and pose for that picture in a hotel room just to convince the world that they have made it in life.

Even though there are some socialites who are paying their bills through being popular on social media, those people are in the minority. The majority of people are just satisfied with being popular on social media without actually achieving anything meaningful in their life.

I am in no way against social media, but I think the deception of social media popularity has stopped many people from actually reaching their full potential and achieving their dreams.

If Oprah Winfrey had started her journey in the era of social media, she would have been discouraged when she posted a picture of her new talk show and got 5 likes and no comments. Oprah Winfrey would have compared herself to a popular socialite who got 10k likes for a picture showing her cleavage while she got 5 likes for her talk show post. If Oprah had started her journey during social media era, I’m sure she would have felt like a failure and gave up.

Today Serena Williams may have millions of followers on Facebook, but we forget she actually achieved her success without social media. Social media popularity is only a part of the success she has achieved. Imagine if she started her journey on social media, posting pictures of herself when she was not known and going for tennis practice with her father, surely that picture would have got 15 likes.

Zimbabwe’s Strive Masiyiwa started building his empire ‘Econet wireless’ without social media, I’m sure if he had been posting motivational quotes in those days, no one would have liked his posts, but today because of what he achieved outside of social media, he has a huge following. The following is not the measure of his success, but rather he has a huge following because he is successful.

My point is, if you are a person who is ambitious and focused on your destiny, don’t get distracted with ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ on Facebook. As much as it is lovely to get attention on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, those likes and comments are very appealing to our egos, but that is not the benchmark of success. Being popular on social media is not a measure of success and if you are not careful the ‘likes’ will actually stop you from doing something meaningful and worthwhile in your life.

If ‘likes’ where the benchmark for success, there would be no billionaires and millionaires in this world, for they would have been too busy chasing popularity on Facebook to actually work on their dreams and empires.

I think a lot of young people have been robbed of their destinies because they are blinded by Facebook fame. As much as social media has its positives, I think it’s becoming more of a curse than a blessing for this young generation. There is actually life and success outside of social media, but we can no longer see it. There are people who are successful in life, own empires and properties across the world, have inheritances for their children and grandchildren, yet they have managed to achieve all that without a single ‘like’ on social media, believe it or not.

Facebook popularity can be a curse and it can be the very reason you have not made it in life.