Selena Gomez Knows Social Media Can Be Scary & That’s Why She’s Trying To Keep It Real For Her Millions Of Followers
Selena Gomez is the most followed person on Instagram, a feat even she doesn't understand, but Gomez clearly hasn't let fame prevent her from understanding and relating to her similarly aged and younger fans. In a recent interview with Business of Fashion, Gomez spoke about social media and the challenges millennials and Gen Z face because of it. Not only are her descriptions spot-on, but when she talks about the positives aspects of using social media it's a reminder that Gomez is knowingly trying to use her platform to make a difference.
"A lot of young girls are getting involved with things that I didn’t even know about, quicker" Gomez said. She went on to share a relatable story that shines a light into just how much things have changed over the past decade. When Gomez was a teen she remembers "playing with dolls" and listening to Jesse McCartney on a CD player, which is drastically different from today's teens who consume music, media, news, and pretty much everything else via a smart phone. "That wasn't a long time ago, which is why it scares me," she told BoF.
"The biggest challenge is separating what you see on your phone from what is your life," Gomez said. That line alone is so on the nose. As Gomez is acutely aware — she is someone who connects with over 125 million followers — what you see on a screen is different than real life.
"I see a disconnect from real life connections to people, and that makes me a little worried," she explained. "I do think social media is an amazing way to stay connected, to learn more things about what's going outside your little bubble, but sometimes I think it's too much information."
As Gomez points out, too much information can be overwhelming, but for her, the key is balance and trying to use social media to be honest and do good. Even with the challenging aspects, she believes that social media can help reach people in a way we simply couldn't before Instagram and Twitter were around. "I think that we can pave a way that not a lot of people had the opportunity to do when they were younger," she explained. "We have a voice and we have a platform, so we're able to reach people from all the way across the world just by getting on our phones, which is pretty remarkable."
Gomez has chosen to use her platform to not only reach fans, but to encourage them to impact change. She has been a vocal advocate of mental health awareness — in her interview she notes that education is key and she thinks students should be taught about mental health in middle school — and she recently shared a note encouraging her followers to encourage Congress to take action on DACA after the White House announced their intent to end the program. Considering her massive following of teenage fans, Gomez is positioned to make a significant impact on topics she's passionate about.
When asked about her following on Instagram, Gomez admitted that even she doesn't quite understand how exactly she became the most followed person on the platform. "I love the app, and that’s all that happened," she said. "I think I was probably too vocal on it. Maybe too real, and have gotten myself into a little bit of trouble occasionally, but I think people liked the authenticity that I represented — poorly sometimes."
Is it possible to be "too vocal" on social media? Not when you're trying to raise awareness about topics that impact the lives of millions — including the millions that follow you.