Khamenei: the number of 'likes' on social media doesn't determine the true value of a piece of work pic.twitter.com/QQRjvQv39r— Mehrzad Kohanrouz (@MehrzadBBC) June 23, 2016
He might be the last person you'd expect to say something useful when it comes to using social media, but Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei apparently knows a lot about it and isn’t afraid to give some advice on the matter.
“The number of 'likes' on social media doesn't determine the true value of a piece of work,” he said recently.
Too bad his subjects can't employ his sage counsel in their lives, considering they are not allowed to use social media (or at least the popular social networks) at all.
Khamenei reportedly delivered this piece of wisdom during a discussion on Persian literature and poetry earlier this week. He also told those in attendance that what really matters is how critics see the work, not how popular it is.
On night before mid-Ramadan, a number of Persian literature, culture & poetry figures met with Leader of Revolution. pic.twitter.com/5xOyzFMGpJ— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) June 20, 2016
Although defiant Iranians do use proxy and VPN services to gain access to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other such networks, they are also under constant threat of law enforcement agencies knocking on their doors and taking them in custody.
In fact, earlier this year, morality police arrested a number of female fashion models and designers all across the Middle Eastern country in an apparent crackdown on the unlicensed industry. These women had irked the conservative government by posing for pictures without covering their heads with hijab, which has been mandatory in the country for over three decades.
Although the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp blamed U.S. reality TV actress Kim Kardashian for corrupting Iran’s youth and accused her of being an “Instagram spy,” plotting to manipulate young people — particularly women — with a lifestyle that’s contrary to Islamic values, the arrests were reportedly a part of larger social media crackdown.
In another similar incident just a few weeks ago, Iranian authorities banned Sosha Makani, a goalkeeper with Tehran’s well-established Persepolis soccer club, from playing domestic matches for six months. The reason: a picture of him in a pair of bright yellow pants, described as “SpongeBob pants,” went viral on the internet.
The government, for some indescribable reason, found it offensive and suspended the professional player.
On the other hand, Khamenei’s recommendation to disregard the number of “likes” could not be timelier. After all, you won’t have to worry about the tyranny of “love” and retweets if you don’t have access to it, right?