Followers and fans: the phenomenon follow me

Always, in greater or measure, during the adolescence one feels the need to look for an idol to admire. Actors, singers, athletes or catwalk models have traditionally been the most "idolized" by the youth hordes. To this day, the "follow me" phenomenon It has the ranking of more followers on Twitter where athletes and artists predominate.

Another of the social networks with more influence among our teenagers is Instagram, created and used to share photographs where a cult of image has been created in social networks and where many young people have been hooked as if their life depended on a like.

From the 'fan' phenomenon to the 'follow me' phenomenon

In the middle of the 70s, the "fan" phenomenon It was introduced in Spain with great force. We, today parents of teenagers, were part of those generations who lived their adolescence seduced by the youthful idols of that moment.

In appearance, the current idols of adolescents do not differ much from those of previous decades. Athletes, singers and characters of cinema and television follow. Same professions, but is it the same admiration that we professed to our idols that our children dispense to theirs?

No more posters are hung or lined folders, now follows a celebrity on Twitter or instagram and being a fan means having it added on Facebook. And this is radically different from what we had at the time. Why? For several reasons.

- To be worthy of having fans you had to excel in your profession. Be good and demonstrate it in a specific discipline.

- A singer, athlete or actor was admired mainly for his profession and be more or less graceful.

- We had very little or no information about his personal life, likes, companies or nearby environment.

- Everything practically around the "idol" remained in the sphere of the Platonic.

The followers, what has changed?

However, in today's world something very important has changed. Our children INTERACT virtually daily with those who "follow" or those who have become a fan. Or at least that is what they believe on many occasions.

As reported by the American Fox network, less than half of the tweets from accounts with the name of a celebrity are actually written by them, but are issued by professionals who are specifically responsible for managing their networks. In the USA, within the world of the show it is already common to hear about the celebrity social media manager (A further euphemism to designate those who until now was called "ghost twitters"), a position almost as institutionalized as that of personal assistant, which nevertheless remains in Spain in the shadow.

So, it will be really difficult for there to be a real communication between the celebrity and one of her fans. But the reality is that there are people who ask and wait for an answer.

And let's think that our children have very easy access through their mobile or any computer. It is no longer just about living almost hooked to the continued sample and most often immodest times of the personal and family life of people with whom almost in all probability they will never get to interact; also to keep your account alive the characters (or their ghostly twitters) do not hesitate to give their "accredited" opinion on current issues or hanging deep thoughts about life, love or what is third. And as our children carry it in their pockets and "communicate" daily with them, even in the virtual field, these idols have left the Platonic space, where they belong to be incorporated into their daily routine.

And this is not a trivial fact. Because what in the Platonic space the adolescent knows in reality that his idol does not cease to be an unattainable image, but when this descends into his daily life it becomes a possible real model of life and a reference in terms of principles and values.

In adolescence, our children question everything. And there we also enter. But we do not have to lose. In fact, we could emerge strengthened from that evaluation to which we are subjected. It would be great if at the age of 14, 15 or 16 our offspring would be proud to be the most fervent FATHERS of their parents.

Tips to understand the 'follow me' phenomenon

1. How do we handle ourselves in the most popular social networks? Do we have profile in them? It is one of our obligations as parents to inform us and be up to date with their management and its contents. For what they are used and for what they are thought, more active profiles, the amount of propaganda that is disseminated by these means and the great advantages they represent when using them properly and in due time.

2. It would be a good time to consider what image our children have of us and if our level of accessibility reaches the level of Alejandro Sanz or Iniesta who go with them in their pockets everywhere. We could also check if the volume of photos that our and the family have seen is superior, equal or inferior to those they have in their gallery of Justin Bieber, Sara Carbonero or Shakira.

3. Do we deserve to be followed by our children in our principles, values, actions and opinions? What do we do to be authors of our own life? The author creates the script. Let's make ours as interesting and attractive as possible, especially thinking about the luxury viewers that are our children.

4. Let's find a moment to show our children where they come from, his genealogy Let's take old photos, see us as children, as teenagers, with grains and apparatus, and little by little as we have been forging our personal history and that of the family. That they feel part of something big and important. It would also be a good time for each of them, if they want, to explain how they would like the script of their own life to be. It can be a very endearing popcorn afternoon.

María Jesús Sancho

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