While excising on my stationary bike in my attempt to shed this winter weight I picked up thanks to Covid-19 wrecking my workout routine last month, a thought flashed in my mind that I have not been able to shake. Yesterday, I wrote an article that lambasted Shaun King—otherwise known as Talcum X by people who see through his fraudulence—that conveyed how blue checkmarks on social media are used by the establishment to recruit shills and coerce anyone who has been accepted into the promise land of celebrity from speaking the truth.
During my cycling session, I started to realize that all media personalities—whether in Hollywood, Manhattan, DC and beyond—are not inherently bad. I think the vast majority of them, including Shaun King potentially, were most likely just like us. They probably started off wanting to make a difference in the world with hopes of changing the status quo. They found out real quick that fighting from the outside is not the same thing as waging war within the belly of the beast; especially when that beast plucked them out of obscurity and made them rich beyond their wildest wishes.
These once idealists are confronted with a decision once they are “blessed” by the devil’s touch and rewarded with his cash and cache. Either toe company lines or find yourself on the outside. For every Cynthia McKinney who refused to go along with the program, there are ten thousand like Barack Obama who meekly comply and then become traitors to the very movements they once championed. These are bedeviling choices that politicians, pundits and media personalities face; their egos inflated by fame and their savings bloated by corporate deposits, they swallow their principles and become part of the machine that is raping our planet and pulverizing countless millions around the world.
That is when it really hit me; the politicians we elect, the corporate “journalists” we follow and the entertainers we fawn over are not really the ones to blame for the ills of this world. We keep asking them to do something very few of us would do if we were in their shoes and risk their livelihood in the process. Not only would we refuse to walk away from millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of followers, many of us stay at jobs we hate, smile at bosses we can’t stand and say nothing when we see something wrong out of fear of collecting unemployment checks.
The problem is not the individuals who bargain their souls for stardom but the fact that we only value talented and aspiring people when they are embraced by “high society”. Some of the most gifted singers, writers and artists dwell in anonymity and struggle to make ends meet until they are “discovered” by someone with affluence and influence. It’s not so much capability or tenacity that leads to stardom but who knows you and endorsed your brand. It is thus the height of chutzpah on our part—especially those of us who have hopes of making it big—to ask dignitaries in government, news and entertainment to return to obscurity in order to fight for our cause.
What if we are looking at this all wrong, what if there was another way to get one of us to break through the noise and have a megaphone that can move the needle? If we can’t depend on prominent figures who have gone mainstream, who are we to turn to? The answer is one of us! What do I mean by that? What if, instead of waiting for Twitter to give someone a blue checkmark or for them to appear as a guest on CNN, started using a form of crowdsourcing to push and promote those we believe have the ability to counteract the vile propaganda that is injected into the public conscience by the establishment.
Last week, I tweeted how Twitter permanently suspended my account because I had the temerity to criticize Joy-Ann Reid. An account that is a vital means of outreach for Ghion Journal and had over 8,700 followers which took me 5 years to amass was gone in a blink on a platform that once boasted about democratizing media. When I tweeted about my experience with censorship, I really did not expect it to go anywhere—I was venting more than anything else. To my great surprise, especially given that I only had 320 followers on the new account I created where that tweet was sent from, what I posted went semi-viral. In five days, I picked up more than 700 followers and the drop-off this website experienced once my Twitter account was banned was instantly reversed. Ghion Journal now gets more hits from Twitter than ever before.
Last Friday, #Twitter permanently suspended my old account that had 8K followers accomplished organically over 5 years without paying for followers. I started back at 0 & now have 300+ followers. If you support indie journalism, RT this & let your followers know about my work.
— Teodrose Fikremariam (@Teodrose_Fikre) March 12, 2021
Usually, to get that level of traction on Tweets, it takes someone with a blue checkmark and hundreds of thousands of followers to either retweet or mention someone in their tweets. Not in this case; I scrolled through all the people who either retweeted or quote tweeted what I posted and there is not one blue checkmark to be seen. Which led me to this realization: though I am thankful to all who participated and joined in the campaign to restore my followership, I am not indebted to any of them. There is a freedom that comes when your worth is not determined by the thought of one person but judged on its merit by many.
That would not be the case if it was one celebrity with a verified account and a cavalcade of followers who made my mini-viral tweet possible; instead of being grateful yet unobligated, I would feel beholden to that person who graced me with his/her kindness. Once this connection is formed, what do you think the chances are of me writing a critical word about this person going forward. On a microlevel, this is exactly what happens all the time when struggling artists are touched by fame and shortly thereafter become famous themselves. We are asking them to turn on their benefactor, something which is hard because we tend to be forgiving to people once relationships are formed—especially if that relationship is one that led to prominence.
Which leads to Project 100K; the same way that one tweet led to 700 followers within five days, I am asking you to help initiate and then be a part of an endeavor that will lead to me netting another 99,000 followers within five months. You thought Obama had audacity! I know this is self-serving, which I do not deny, but there is a broader lesson I’m trying to convey. We keep waiting for someone like us to penetrate the insider club and deliver change. However, as I pointed out above, it is futile to expect someone who is in the big house to give up their comforts and join the rest of us in the backyard. We need to stop trying to invade their institutions and instead create one of our own; one that is not bound by the funds of the 1%.
So I am asking you to not only follow me on Twitter but to join in a campaign to actively encourage others to do the same. If you are not on Twitter yet, sign up and then follow me. For those of you who are on Twitter, I likewise ask you to follow me if you are not doing so already. But following is only part of the process; the next step is to use #FollowTeodrose and then tweet and post on other social media sites to encourage others to do the same. Make sure to include my Twitter profile and a backstory of what the hashtag is about; of course you can embed this article but it is critical to use your own words because you know your network better than I do and you know how to reach them.
The objective here is two fold: 1) empower independent journalists who are not afraid to speak truth to power, 2) have someone with a megaphone that has a modicum of a chance to rebut the lies of mainstream media and 3) encourage others to be proactive in embracing and supporting someone who is talented instead of waiting for someone like Oprah to tell us what and whom to value. We keep waiting for change but change will never come from people who are on the inside, change will come from the fringes and from those who are not sitting at the table. #Project101K is a lot more than gaining followers for one person; it's about empowering independent journalism, debunking MSM propaganda, supporting our own and sticking it to Twitter. #FollowTeodrose Click To Tweet
Many seek change from those making dollars but change will only come through those making sense::
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