As much as I like blogging and social media, it seems like people are taking this stuff a little too serious at times. To be honest, it’s getting a little creepy.
And while I don’t have personal experience with “traditional” cults, I did a little research and found the following characteristics that apparently define them.
Do any of them sound familiar?
The group is focused on a leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.
“I will read ANYTHING that (insert blogger here) posts—even if they publish a theory that unicorns are the driving force behind global warming—and I will tweet it out multiple times a day despite the fact the “big” blogger has no clue who I am.”
The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
“Do you follow me on Facebook? On Twitter? Do you subscribe to my posts? Have you checked out this page yet? Grab my button!”
The group is preoccupied with making money.
Lately it seems as if blogs are just billboards for ads. “See my sponsors on the side? Your ad could be there! This post was brought to you today by (insert company that has nothing to do with the blog post.)”
Questioning, doubt and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
This is evident when a blogger’s followers take to defending the blogger in the comment sections of posts and are personally appalled when someone questions a point that was made—and then that reader is promptly banned from further comments. If you’ve never noticed this, try reading healthy living blogs. Trust me.
The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.
People who don’t blog/tweet/Facebook “don’t understand,” which is something people who blog/tweet/Facebook don’t understand.
The group’s leader is not accountable to any authorities.
Anyone can blog, which mean anyone can say anything they want at any time without (relatively any) consequence.
The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.
“I’m only two followers away from (insert random number)! Help me get there by tonight, or else God will kill a kitten!”
Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.
“After you link up, be sure to read at least 35 of the other posts here, leave comments, come back here and tell us that you left a comment, tweet about which post you liked best and then post it to your Facebook page.”
But have no fear!
If you find yourself taking things too seriously, remember that you have free will!
You don’t have to believe “them” when they say, “if you don’t post a picture, an update or an announcement of everything from your lunch to the cold you’ve been fighting, how will anyone know about your willpower or dedication? How will anyone congratulate, commiserate or validate your feelings or your feats?”
Remember that you will know, and that just because you didn’t post it online, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. After all, one should be posting the best parts of their life that happen authentically and not living life for the best thing to post.
I know the pull is strong, but you can be stronger.
You can break free!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tweet out the link to this post. Oh, and by the way…
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