THE GOOD, THE BAD AND UGLY SIDE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
BY BASIL IKPE .M
In 2002, it had to take me 3 weeks, before the reply of the letter I wrote to my dad would get to me. But cuddles to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and Larry and Sergey Page of Google a text sums it up, and if I do not get an immediately reply, it will not be more than twelve hours before the reply comes.
So, this is sixteen years, since I wrote a letter last to my parent or anyone. Exception of my West African Examination Counsel (WAEC) exam, where as usual, in the essay part of the English exam, one will be asked to either write to a pen pal, one aunty in London or probably your sister.
Now I am all grown up, and haven attended the WDD3.0 seminar/Job fair organized by Mrs. Bunmi Teru and with the last speaker, Mr. Emdee Tiamiyu brought to our notice, that some of the celebrities that we worship follow nobody on some of their platforms. Oh! You are surprised, right? Check out pop star queen, Beyoncé, show biz queen Oprah Winfred and Adele on Instagram. They have millions of followers, but follow NOBODY, even their managers and close friends are not being followed by them. One will ask why, right?
I’ll consider the following as advantages of their social media handles:
1. It Brings you closer to connect with them, learn and share their thoughts.
2. It educates you the following on steps, if patiently followed will lead you to the desired goal you see on the status. Its as easy as following anyone on any field of your choice.
3. Mentors are readily available to give you solutions to your challenges once you post them or DM them.
4. Timely news is sure one of the cool stuffs, the influencers get to give us. The likes of Linda Ikeji, Bella Naija and so on. The truth is, their status on issues, come as raw as it can be without empathy, unlike the sister media of broadcast and Print.
5. The good side of social media is that is sponsors products, business, services and viewpoints for almost free (do not forget, you pay for data usage). Which would not have been cheap if you wanted similar product, service etc to be on either the broadcast or print media. Simply just be steady posting of such services etc.
6. It brings people to financially assist the less buoyant ones. We can recall the case with the bread seller (Jumoke) and TY Bello the professional singer. Just a post of her online, got other celebrities and wealthy persons like Sujimoto, to assist Jumoke.
7. It enlightens one’s social wellbeing, as information on outfits of different occasions, can be gotten online, without needing a wardrobe assistant or one’s spouse knotting the tie.
8. There were times people and their business lacked credibility, social media has helped to build that, as a click on the company’s platforms, will give you up to date information that makes you do business with such an organization.
9. How about the reduction of religious bias? Social media has given so much information on several ideologies that has help other religious group to understand and appreciate the stands an believes of others.
Now to the disadvantages.
Even while in primary school, I was thought that words have opposites. Let’s take a dig into a few:
1. PewCenter.org did publish a report stating that majority of people have become victims of online insults. We know our awesome one-time Senator, Ben Murray Bruce, as when he drops is quotes on common sense, how some uncultured Nigerians, go about insulting him.
2. How about identity theft? We have heard of cases where people Facebook have been hacked or the common one, where youths, create profiles, using celebrities’ images and posting stuffs. Or the popular incident when the EFCC handle was hacked and stuffs on no relevance was being posted.
3. Several people have gotten into depression, just based on the unachievable economic standard that social media has set for them. It is not news of how the hustles scenes are not uploaded on IG and the rest, but only the finish product is often uploaded.
4. Time wasting and being addicted to it is one of the most common disadvantages of social media.
5. Lack of privacy is now the order of the day, as agencies can type one’s name on the platforms and see what such has been doing the last 24 hours.
6. Fliting is on the high, as young persons, get to meet several of their peers online, and that married husband can easily hook up with a younger lady without his wife knowing..
Its 2019 and we’re getting more social platforms coming. Our physical time with each other, is slowly vanishing. Introverts are becoming more introverts. Those are the ones, that will be online, read your status, but will not comment, like or share. Extroverts are being more loosed, as they go about poking nose on almost everything that happens online, trying to become who they are not meant to be.
There are winners and losers. Winner; Telecommunication companies, influencers, those who study for useful information, those who post useful information, businesses and celebrities.
Losers; those followers who spend their data on reading and digesting negative information or getting bullied online. The addicts, the depressed.
You can choose to pick a side, WINNER OR LOSER. The choice is yours.