Social media is both a gift and a curse. Sure, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow us to connect and interact with one another in ways that were previously imaginable but not possible, but not every connection and interaction is a positive, enjoyable one. Think of the experience as a blade that cuts both ways.
People have an overbearing need to project their inward doubt and hatred and emotions onto the outside world. I’ve had a lot of people online say they’re going to kill me at my shows. A lot of people say they’re going to punch me in the face—never happened. It’s just people being sad because their life sucks. I feel bad for those people; everybody deserves a right to be happy. But people just look at the wrong thing. We’ve made it so that you have to be special or a celebrity or some shit like that [to be happy]. It’s awful. A shitload of people feel like there’s no value in being an actual human being or a regular person. We’re all alive and doing okay and could be worse, but we make it seem like if you’re not an entertainer or an actor or someone with a high social profile on the Internet that your life is fucking worthless. So, you can’t really get mad at them. They’re going through something. - Complex
Staples is far from the first rapper to attempt to explain the behavior of people online, nor is he the first to openly express his feelings about the storm of negativity that awaits artists making music in the age of social media. Back in February, we spoke with Freddie Gibbs, Locksmith, and Alex Wiley about the subject, the latter admitting that a constant barrage of verbal abuse and threatening language can "f*ck you up mentally," while in September, Joey Bada$$ pondered quitting Twitter to avoid the hostility in an attempt to focus on making new music.
For as many artists who have embraced social media and rely on constant interactions with their fans to ensure loyalty and support, there are just as many artists who have either scaled back their social media usage or who have quit the services altogether. For example, Wale used to be a heavy Twitter user, often firing off tens of tweets an hour. But after several years of reading tweets about how much people wished he was dead, the MMG emcee has relegated his usage to inspirational quotes and the occasional flick.
As more artists break away from social media to avoid the constant barrage of hatred, ultimately, it is the fans who will pay the price. For years, the delta between artists and fans was wider than a Kardashian rear end. Social media instantly allowed for that gap to be closed, benefitting both the fans and the artist. Now, all of that could change at a moment's notice—and no, that's not a threat.
By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram