by Christian Duque
The power of social media is undeniable. From news sites to search engines to popular social networks, people all over the world are stuck on their computers and smartphones. As a result of the COVID 19 virus, containment and quarantine, many people are stuck at home. Here in America, millions of people are quarantined to help stop the spread of the pandemic.
Elected officials have implemented a number of policies in the vast majority of states that only keep key companies open. In some countries, people who violate important social distance policies can be fined and even arrested. Nobody can dine in restaurants, watch a movie or go to a concert, and even supermarkets are a no-go for many, as chaotic shoppers struggle to buy everything they need. Often people buy what they don't need just to buy something. Life has become very stressful, very dog-eating, and people's time is off the charts. While it used to be said that figuratively people were stuck to their phones, this saying has now become quite literal. In addition, the fact that the mainstream media began the mission to scare the public means that social media has become the last bastion of normality. People know that they have to be careful and they are aware of all the precautions. However, they want to be able to look out of the grim reality they live in and just see something cool, something to distract them.
In these difficult times, real fitness journalists shine. Why? Think about it, there are no bodybuilding shows, most people don't prepare, and if they don't prepare, they don't publish social media content. Some authors / outlets will be full of nostalgia. This is definitely a valid angle. Reliving the past is definitely cool as it teaches, shows respect and entertains people. But as with all things, if that's all that is used, the nostalgia effect will grow old after a while. In his press conference on Monday (April 6, 2020), President Trump spoke about the importance of sport as a sign of a return to normalcy. Since most sports stations played the nostalgia card, even the president joked that he had to watch nine-year-old baseball games. That speaks directly to my point. A look back in time is a good way to pass the time here and there, but many TV channels seem to be one-trick ponies because that's all they broadcast. It's getting old and fast, hey, that's not just my opinion, but also that of the President of the United States.
This is the time when real journalists shine in our sport. There is a lot to tell, from the extremely competitive Arnold Classic 2020, which took place just a month ago, to the upcoming NPC and IFBB Pro League season. The season can start late, but it will start. Let's not forget that the Arnold is the second most important bodybuilding and fitness competition in our sport and that the competition was stacked up this year. For example, this was not only a great competition for Big Ramy, but also his first Arnold competition. For much of 2019, fans around the world thought The Egyptian Phenom would be another Kai Greene as he would half retire, make movies, and possibly never play again. The fact that he returned with legendary guru Chad Nicholls in his corner speaks volumes. He took an outstanding 3rd place and now the big conversation is whether he will play the Olympia 2020. In fact, the Super Bowl of bodybuilding will be a huge one with so many different things going on and everyone wants the most important title in bodybuilding and fitness.
How impressive will Brandon Curry look in his first Olympia defense? When was the last time Brandon had a full year to rest, exercise and grow? The fact is that he may look a lot better than his 2019 winning physique, and that says a lot because he looked just right when he won his first Sandow. Then you have William Bonac, who narrowly lost Arnold to Brandon in 2019 and fought hard at last year's Olympia. It would be awesome to see more curry / bonac comparisons on the message boards and social media. Both are part of the new generation that deals with camaraderie and the growth of sport.
Another important piece of news is whether Dexter Jackson will retire at Mr. Olympia 2020 or not. The Blade won Mr. Olympia in 2008, has nine Arnold Classic titles and more bodybuilding shows than any other iFBB Pro League Pro in the history of the sport. The fans don't want to see him go. In fact, they'd like to see him for 3, 5, maybe 10 years. I mean, if he's consistently in the top 6 at the Olympics, almost won the Arnold Classic 2020, and keeps things exciting on stage, why should he stop?
Another big name that people should see is The Beast, Roelly Winklaar, who, like Brandon Curry, had all 2020 to prepare for a show. Who knows how great he'll look, fully charged and ready to win the greatest bodybuilding title? The former national champion has always been considered a viable candidate for Mr. Olympia, and that perspective alone could provide dozens of great articles and points of discussion.
These are the issues influencers should address so as not to arouse more doubts and fears, in shameless attempts at clicks, subscribers and advertising money.
I could literally come up with dozens of great ideas – actually dozens over dozens – because I'm a great writer and love this sport. Is that cocky? No, I do not think so. I think if you have writers like me, Matt Weik, Ron Harris, Ruth Silverman and others, you always have interesting, cutting-edge content to keep readers entertained and entertained. Good writers cover a wide range of topics, do justice to all of them, and evolve over time to improve their craft. I always read the articles of other great authors, watch videos and grow as a journalist. I have interviewed hundreds of athletes through email based interviews, competition interviews and some training videos in my time. The truth is, while this is a lot of fun, this is actual work. I think great writers take what they do very seriously. I also think we all have an inherent social responsibility – at least the good ones!
A large part of this social responsibility is the obligation to be honest. There are so many so-called writers and so-called news agencies in our industry who publish fake news and clickbaits and are now afraid when they join the mainstream media. It's a sad day when fitness influencers are promising when it comes to freaking out our niche because they see it hits more hits and subscribers. The fact that major broadcasters ask whether the 2020 Olympics will take place or not, deal with canceled and / or postponed competitions and raise doubts among fans and competitors violates the aforementioned social responsibility, which in my opinion members of the fitness media should have. It's okay to ask the difficult questions and write stories about it, but there is a difference between reporting misery and the benefits from it. It's also okay to be a realist and pragmatist, but if fear, self-pity, and tales of suffering become your only tune, that's not good journalism.
As a country, we are in good hands. Our elected officials do their best, medical personnel are crawling, and most people abide by the quarantines and guidelines on social distance. Are there some idiots out there who play with people's lives by completely ignoring health and safety guidelines? For sure. Do I usually insult people in my articles? No, that's a bad shape, but when a pandemic happens and people decide to go boating or cook massively with dozens of people in a confined space, they're idiots. So if you are a social media influencer – or – if you are a person with social media skills, please take the time to post positive, happy content. This is the time to change something!
I could pick out Youtubers, but does it make them more likely to consider changing course? No. When you call someone, you create a controversial situation, and the last thing you get is what you really wanted all the time. Look, I understand, influencers want to be at the top, they want to be on trend and they want all hits, all thumbs up, all comments, etc. etc. Apart from that, influencers are the trendsetters, the leaders, those who set the tone for indicate the day. I hope they become a lot more optimistic, hopeful and happier than what I've seen lately.
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