Discover healthy spaces online with these influencers
It’s November — and 2022 is coming to an end. For the first time, I don’t feel like the year has flown by despite it being such a messy year for everyone. I vividly remember most of my moments and exactly when they happened. Ironically, these were moments that I physically experienced but never documented on my social media pages. And this was something that I had never done before. Prior to 2022, I was the type of person who’d post every intimate thing on my IG and TikTok just like most social media influencers out there. I’d ecstatically look forward to capturing ‘ideal’ moments, later archiving them into my highlights and memories. I remember feeling empty, lost, and disconnected because I felt like I was playing into toxic online culture and so much of it felt fake. This past year, I decided to focus on healthy spaces online and kept my memories, conversations,and love private. And it felt liberating.
However, I still got caught up in consuming ‘mindless’ content, hours of scrolling through social facades, and interacting with clusters of online noise. Perhaps that’s why part of me still feels drained. We’re living in a world where we cannot escape social media and the extent to which it reaches us. Despite making the choice to live the most private of lives, we’re still bombarded with all sorts of targeted and indirect content from ads, feeds, billboards, radio etc. We pick up our phones to casually scroll through TikTok to see how our loved ones are doing and two hours later, we’ve been sucked into a portal of oversaturated garbage.
In that regard, 2022 has been exceptionally hard. Controversial celebrity news, crypto events, easing of COVID restrictions, political turmoil and more have all infiltrated our screens through different channels. Over time, they’ve affected our perception and reaction in our private, safe moments.
What has helped me and continuously helped me is, filtering out key people in this space and using them as anchors. I realised that all I had to do was find grounded, inspiring figures who have an influential presence in the online space, and focus on them as landmarks I could always go back to, when I start feeling lost. Here are the top five people in 2022 that influenced me in positive ways, inspiring me to live a better life and be mindful.
Kim Kardashian is the one celebrity whose life has been made public by both herself and the media.
In 2022, Kim chose to cut ties with Kanye and make public her pursuit of happiness. Despite the glamour, facade, and riches, I felt like I could finally see her authenticity come through after her divorce. She stood by her goals with class, protected her kids, and inspired many women to want to leave their toxic relationships. In spite of all of that, she handled it with such grace that she never took cheap shots back at Kanye even though he’s been on a tirade.
Perhaps this is why she’s grown to be an inspiring figure to me because she’s just become that unavoidable. And when she gives me these reasons to love her, I feel a lot less turned off by sensational media outlets trying to milk her ‘name’. My aversion towards rhetoric dropped because when I think of her, I relate to her struggle, her authenticity, and I was consciously aware that she just had to play a role for the camera too. In 2022, the way she handled her divorce just created that sense of clarity that she needed, to cut through the rubbish that every online channel tries to package her as.
Imagine being one of those boomer cynics who curse her for being ‘hot’, ‘rich’, ‘entitled’ every time she pops up. That adds up to a whole lot of negativity every day if you’re always online.
Dr. Ramani Durvasula
I owe my mental health recovery to this icon. I don’t think I’ve been impacted by any other online figure in 2022 as much as her. Dr Ramani is known for being a ‘celebrity’ psychologist because she’s featured on so many talk shows. She’s a specialist on narcissistic relationships and Cluster-B Disorders, the cluster that clinically presents the most ‘challenging’ symptomatology.
She posts daily content on channels and keeps it a hundred percent raw, stripped and unfiltered. I’ve religiously watched all her videos, including her collaborative series with MedCircle and Mel Robbins, and even attended her online narcissism workshops to better understand my own past toxic patterns. It’s become so easy to consume content online that enables your ego or your innate banal desires. Dr Ramani breaks this barrier by speaking directly to her audience, calling us out and snapping us into full awareness.
Her passion towards helping victims of narcissistic abuse, especially in the age of social media, has empowered me and many of my friends to either change our behaviour or walk out of toxic relationships. Every time I land on her video, I walk away feeling nourished and as a better person. It’s so important to curate what you watch because what we see really affects how we act, even if we’re not consciously aware.
Because she’s so well connected, she has a big presence online across most platforms through collabs, and has become a key landmark when I navigate social media.
I’m not someone who particularly enjoys online humour because they’re honestly cringe most of the time. But it’s so important to let live, and laugh as we scroll through content because it should be relaxing—not always overly stimulating. Lilly Singh wins when it comes to laughter with quality take-aways. Her caricatures of immigrant struggles and brown culture are hilarious yet spark conversations on both sides. Unlike many minority influencers who propagate division through aggressive rhetoric against the ‘majority’, I resonate with Lilly’s approach.
She shows off Indian culture, fashion and nuances through her short- and long-form videos. It’s good to have a strong pillar of representation in such a saturated and competitive space. Lilly is unapologetically authentic, and she’s not afraid to mix her roots with the changing world. I think as we consume content overtime, it’s okay to mix cultures we come into contact with. The progressive way forward is finding common ground, instead of resisting collaboration and being trapped in our own echo chambers.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada has been embroiled in controversy with regards to her relationship with her husband Will Smith. However, her personal life aside, she’s built an empowering, collaborative platform and talk show that beckons viewers to introspect and change.
She’s the main host of Red Table Talk (RTT)—a podcast where celebrity guests open up and have real candid talks about deeper issues in society that most people avoid talking about. RTT is the one show I always navigate to on Facebook because it has grown a wholesome community of different demographics sharing one goal—to learn and be better. In 2022, with constant news of injustices, race, and discrimination, it’s so easy to be torn apart online and gate ourselves in sub-cultures. While it’s great to identify with niche networks to celebrate our individuality, many leaders of such groups tend to propagate dissent towards external parties.
In today’s online world, I think it’s increasingly important to build bridges and common spaces that find harmony in diversity. Jada has grown a platform where people from all demographics are invited to debate, disagree, and clash with their own perspectives. And yet, they leave with mutual understanding and new lessons from each other. By consuming such content, we feel empowered to change our own perspectives.
The comments section on RTT is always full of quality engagement with people admitting their flaws and desiring to change and learn. I also love how she gives fans of her shows a chance to dial in live during RTT’s raw celebrity interviews to ask them unfiltered questions. Levelling the online power balance through such interactions, helps in fostering more healthy and collaborative interactions.
Even though Beyoncé has been pretty much private on social media, she has such a big influence online through her music. After the release of her critically acclaimed 2022 album, ‘Renaissance’, many of her tracks have sparked dance trends on social media that countless people have hopped onto. This is so significant in the age of social media because trends are searchable online. ‘Cuff It’ generated a whole pool of wholesome videos of brands, influencers, and normal people jiving to the song in everyday spaces.
Renaissance was an album passionately dedicated to black and LGBTQ folks; Beyoncé sampled heady house bits from fabulous black LGBTQ artists and producers, giving the album a undeniably ‘gay’ sound.
10 years ago, getting straight people or big brands to adopt such a niche sound into their ads would have been controversial and ‘impossible’. But TikTok has broken that barrier. Artists like Beyoncé, who are consciously aware of these changes online, utilise their influence to unite people. Trends online are curated by hashtags, collaborations, and stitched videos. I’ve seen elderly people at their workplace and straight men vogueing to Cuff It this year. To see how music combined with trendy algorithms can propagate collective fun has been amazing.
The solution to finding healthy spaces online is collaboration
This is not an exhaustive list. There are many more brands and individuals that have helped me navigate my journey in today’s saturated online space. Even though I still succumb to mindless scrolling, I’m glad I have identified wholesome reference points to ground myself from time to time. We all have different values and aspirations—make a list of which influencers you resonate with and start consuming their content more intentionally.
Interact with them and the community they have created, and collaborate with people who align with you. It’s so important to build a safe space for yourself online. We cannot escape social media but we can make the choice to control how we let it affect us and who we are in real-life. Stay tuned next week for my list of brands you should follow if you want more nourishing content on your feed.
Has a social media influencer ever inspired you to turn your life around? Share that story with us below or connect with us via any of our platforms. The most compelling response will be invited to our upcoming event!