In the last 48 hours social media has gone into meltdown in reaction to the disgraceful comments made by Donald Trump in 2005, comments which effectively endorse patriarchy and rape culture.
Comments which have no place in civilised society.
And no place in the White House.
As a regular visitor to social media, there has, rightly, been outrage – both at the comments themselves and some people’s reaction to them. Including from myself.
There’s been many comments which have left me dumbfounded. One of these was from a major author a critic of Trump’s comments – who made clear there were people DM’ing them their outrage, but not saying anything publicly for fear of losing their platforms.
And when I saw that, I was shocked.
I tweeted my response straightaway. Plain and simple, that people who don’t speak out about an issue like this – which is about equality, human decency, respect, abuse and rape culture – out of fear of losing their platform, has no business having a platform to begin with.
Many of my readers are people with platforms or trying to grow them. And all people who share work publicly have a platform of some size. So this is relevant here.
The Real Purpose Of A Platform
I want to say this right now:
Having a platform isn’t about your fame & status. It’s a responsibility, a gift to be used for the good of the world.
The responsibility of having a platform, for me, means speaking out on the issues which matter. Setting an example to people.
Having a platform is a privilege and a responsibility. It means people are looking to you for leadership, for inspiration, for encouragement. And the bigger your platform, the bigger your influence.
When you take a stand on an issue which matters, it makes a difference. Many of your tribe, big or small, will be inspired. Reassured. Encouraged. Given focus and direction.
All that said, if you speak out on issues which matter, there’s a danger some might unfollow you. Some might walk away. But that’s the deal. You keep your integrity, you take a stand on what matters, whatever the consequences. Above all, you show integrity. You show you are less interested in what others think of you, and more interested in the causes that matter, and being true to who you are.
The question you need to ask yourself is this:
Do you see your platform as a quest for personal glory, or a way to make a difference in the world? (you can tweet that)
Are you going to have integrity, and stand up for what you believe in, at risk of losing some of your followers – or would you rather keep your followers, and remain quiet on the most important issues – when many will be seeing your reaction (or lack of it)?
It’s a matter of what really matters to you. In this case, if you care more about your reputation than you do about standing against rape culture, one of the undoubted evils in our culture, I would argue you just proved you’ve lost your soul. You just absolved the responsibility which came with your platform.
My platform isn’t that large. Maybe one day it will be bigger. Maybe it won’t. But I’ll never sacrifice my integrity for the sake of keeping my platform. I hope I’ll always take a stand for the issues which matter.
Because having a platform of any size is a gift.
And we should never sacrifice our integrity to keep it.
Question for Reflection:
What are your thoughts on this subject & on people who keep quiet to save their platform?
Let me know in the comments below!
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(Picture Sources: Morguefile / Pablo Olmos De Aguilera via Creative Commons / Rough & Ready Media)
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