So – as it turns out – on the 8th of June we’ve all got to make another trip to our local polling station. Another election. Really? Hands up if you rolled your eyes a little when Theresa May emerged from Number 10 to address the nation? And not because General Elections aren’t terribly important, or because broadcast media always have to sneak in a little close-up of her leopard print kitten heels (y’know, just in case it slipped your mind that a woman – yes a woman – is currently running the country)… but because from now until the polls close (and let’s be honest, for at least a week or two after) there’s going to be a lot of shouting and ranting online and that same question posed to bloggers and YouTubers over and over and over again: “WHY DON’T YOU USE YOUR VOICE?”
Over the next six weeks the internet will constantly poke and prod at bloggers to come out from their marble and rose gold blogger bat caves, lower their cameras, declare their side and release a battle cry through their content for their subscribers to follow. Some do – and that’s fine, it’s their choice – but many choose to stay silent. And that’s when the internet responds to the radio silence with a scoff and types some passive aggressive tweet along the lines of, “You have so many followers, you could make such a difference!” and, oh yeah, “Why don’t you use your voice and reach to inform about the bigger issues instead of going on about that latest must-have lipstick!?” And it’s not just politics, bloggers are constantly urged to use their following and to voice their opinions on various matters.
While I understand the frustration, whether they use their voice or not, and how they use it is a personal choice. Obviously, huge respect to anyone who does choose to stick their head up over the parapet and voice their opinions on the tougher, polarizing subjects, but just as we’re all entitled to use our voice – to shout our opinions and political views loud and proud – we’re also entitled to stay silent, or to whisper if we so choose, and shouldn’t be berated for that decision.
Everyone has their reasons for staying silent. True, some choose to zip the lip because they hate confrontation, don’t want to offend anyone or because they don’t want to suddenly see themselves drop a hundred followers, but for others it’s simply a choice not to share. Perhaps they’re just not interested or don’t feel well enough informed to voice an opinion, perhaps they’d just rather stick to lighter subjects (hey, we’re going to be hearing a lot of politics over the next month – sometimes you need to breathe and see something that doesn’t remind you how royally eff’d the country is)… or perhaps they just feel that their opinion isn’t anyone’s business but their own.
At the end of the day, we’re all entitled to pick and choose what we share online – on our blogs and via social media. And when someone – blogger or not – chooses not to weigh in on a big subject, that’s their choice and they’re entitled to it.