Before you ask, I am not talking about global warming. But moving on from that, it’s been over three months since I have posted my thoughts on websites dedicated to trashing online gurus and other Internet influencers. If you haven’t read that post yet, I highly recommend you do so to gain some context on what they are and what purpose they serve (link here). But in a nutshell, I explored these websites out of pure curiosity and left with some very interesting results (if you’re wondering, you do not need an account to look on most of the forums. However, you do need an account if you want to post a comment or make an entirely new forum).
Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to revisit Guru Gossip and Get Off My Internets just to see what was new (funny enough, I had a giant bowl of popcorn next to me while doing so!). As figured, new forums popped up of lesser known gurus, more widely known ones, or a collective forum of gurus that fit a certain category. Many of these forums were of people I already heard of. Some of these forums have very creative names, implicating that a lot of these gurus are snakes, scammers, or any other nasty phrases that actually get pretty personal. Alternatively, other forums had more explicit names just labeling these gurus as pure trash. Then again, most just have the basic full name or username of these people, so the pettiness level wasn’t intensive just yet.
Again, I’m not going to name anybody because I respect these people and their online careers. But digging into the black hole of these forums, I found even more mystifying discussion than I expected. Whenever I found an optimistic comment or two about one of my favorite online gurus, I somehow shoveled my way into another route and, no fail, stumbled upon a completely negative statement about the same gurus. As shocking as it may sound, every single influencer I personally follow that was mentioned in a forum had at least ONE negative comment about them. Every. Single. One. Many of them had multiple comments and a few had their own forums. I know that all the influencers I follow are not perfect, but I was dumbfounded to find out that they had more than plenty of negative criticisms about them.
Wholeheartedly, I’ll admit that some of these insights were juicy. They were fascinating. Drama has this mosquito effect: it lands somewhere, has a taste, and before even thinking about it, starts feeding into this addictive juice that gives them a jolt of excitement. Even though people feel like they’ve had enough, they just keep chugging it down. That’s exactly what drama does to us. I started searching up influencers that I didn’t know about initially just to see who they were, solely for the sake of understanding a conversation between users–a conversation that literally means nothing to me and is about people that mean nothing to me at all. I felt disgusted with myself because I could have been doing something more mentally and emotionally invigorating, rather than typing away my frustrations about complete strangers.
Gathering all my non-numerical data and such, there were some notable findings from my trash sites excursion. Firstly, I made sense out of ALL the comments, both uplifting and degrading. Looking through the comments, I didn’t always agree with them, but I was always able to pin-point the evidence. This means that these trash site users aren’t all that petty or envious of the gurus they criticize. They watch their videos and follow along their feeds pretty actively. Thus, they usually have at least one valid reason for what they say. Similarly to what I said in my last post, not all of these trash site users are “haters” or “trolls”. They legitimately are concerned about what these influencers share and how they vibe off towards their viewers. What seems dangerous or misleading is chastised, and what seems like downright blasphemy is blasted.
In addition, users fire at all kinds of cylinders. If there was a fitness influencer who was notorious for calorie restriction, then he or she was accused of promoting an eating disorder. If another fitness influencer advocated for eating at a high caloric intake, then he or she was criticized for throwing out a number that didn’t work for everybody. Alternatively, some users like to pick at others’ bodies. Curvy girls are praised on one forum and fat-shamed on another. Same deal with leaner folks but with skinny shaming. With that being said, it goes to show that no online influencer can please everybody. However, it’s not all snarks and sneers since there are plenty of forums dedicated to raving about a guru.
So, has the climate changed on these trash sites? For the most part, it hasn’t, but with the growth of many different influencers, the generational shift in viewership, and the increased diversity of users, the number of forums as well as the extensiveness of these forums have expanded. Still, these trash sites all boil down to one major truth about our nature in regards to social media: everybody has an opinion on something and someone. Certain people are just more upfront about it, and places like GOMI or Guru Gossip are perfect for them. My main realization about the overall climate of these platforms is that it is so easy to get sucked into the discussion and search for the next response.
The Internet is a universe with no barriers, so you are more than welcome to explore these sites and see the drama for yourselves. As for the future, I don’t plan on visiting these websites anytime soon, let alone at all. While I recognize that a lot of these users are also fans that just have genuine concerns for their influencers and are worried about how these influencers sway their followers, there is just too much negativity and gossip that saturates the constructive criticism. More importantly, I don’t want to devote my time and energy into dissecting into someone else’s life when I could easily be fulfilling mine.
P.S. Lastly, I just want to say that if you are looking to become or are currently an online influencer, don’t allow these kinds of websites to discourage you from pursuing social media. I think that my previous post regarding these trash sites hit home for quite a lot of bloggers, and I understand that it is easy to get lost in the convoluted maze of backlash. Sometimes people have good intentions, sometimes they don’t. Ultimately, you need to continue doing what you love and sharing your story. I promise you that you will change the life of at least one person. If that doesn’t motivate you enough to persist online, then social media might not be the route for you. At the end of the day, you know what you’ve accomplished and it’s all worth sharing.