Dubai: Bassem Youssef talks about the dark side of social media success

There is no benefit in gaining millions of followers when you will lose yourselves, said the satirist while addressing content creators at 1 Billion Followers Summit 2024

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Bassem Youssef, Egyptian comedian and television host. KT Photo: Muhammad Sajjad
Bassem Youssef, Egyptian comedian and television host. KT Photo: Muhammad Sajjad

Published: Thu 11 Jan 2024, 9:58 AM

Last updated: Thu 11 Jan 2024, 3:52 PM

In a thought-provoking and satirical keynote address, Bassem Youssef, an acclaimed Egyptian comedian and television host, captivated audiences on the opening day of the 1 Billion Followers Summit 2024. He discussed the psychological intricacies of achieving fame on digital platforms and the potential pitfalls that come with it at a session titled "The Dark Side of Making it on Social Media," stating, “There is no benefit in gaining millions of followers when you will lose yourselves.”

Youssef, known for his sharp wit and keen observations, began by acknowledging the power of social media in catapulting individuals into the limelight. However, he advised that a successful content creator should recognise the difference between virtual and real life, balance self-confidence with humility, and caution against the arrogance fame can bring.

"Resisting the allure of success on social media is not easy, but we must be aware of its impact on our psyche. Continuous interaction and a growing following can sometimes make a content creator seem narcissistic," he further noted.

The satirical media personality pointed out the contradictions surrounding social media, where individuals strive to showcase their talents and present an idealized image of their lives to the public. He emphasized the difficulty individuals face in maintaining their identity and personality amid pressures to conform to society and seek recognition online.

"The curated reality we present on social media often becomes a distorted mirror, reflecting an idealized version of ourselves. This constant need for affirmation can lead to a detachment from reality and a false sense of self-importance," Youssef explained.

A significant portion of the keynote was dedicated to the anxiety resulting from the relentless pursuit of online success. Youssef discussed aspects of comparing oneself to others, the fear of missing out, and the toll that the relentless quest for likes and followers can take on mental well-being.

"Some of you feel proud when the number of followers increases, but when faced with negative comments, you enter a state of depression. I'm not telling you anything new; I've been through what you're going through. You seek acceptance from others, wanting what others want. If the audience says speak, you speak; and want you to do everything they dictate to fill their void," Youssef advised.

Throughout the speech, Youssef blended humor with insights, engaging the audience in self-reflection and prompting a deeper examination of the impact of social media on individual and societal values.

His call for a mindful approach to online engagement and the preservation of mental well-being resonated with the thousands of content producers, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts gathered at the summit.

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