WATCH YOUR BACK! Social media is too close for comfort
By LAJU ARENYEKA
Only a few years ago, life was simple. Intellectuals read the newspapers, and grumbled with their peers about the sad state of the world. Polished women read magazines and were sometimes privileged to meet celebrities at social events. The average man listened to the radio and watched television; screaming feedback onto a figure in one’s living room that was thousands of miles away. Life was simple when black berries were just fruits and ‘tweet’ referred only to the sound made by birds.
Life is not so simple anymore. In the blink of an eye, thousands of people around the world can air their views on just about any issue including Genevieve’s plunging neckline or Kim Kardashian’s visit to Nigeria. Youtube is only a click away, so no government can lie about it when foreigners are killed by a terrorist group, just like millions around the world can view for themselves the closing of the doors to the Sistine chapel.
Of course we’ve always had a say, but thanks to the internet, we can now actually say it and be heard. It does not matter whether it’s well thought out, or hurriedly put together, we can work our magic fingers and press the enter button. Nearly four billion of us in the world with access to the internet can like and unlike, upload and download, chat, skype, tweet, comment, surf, browse and whatever other word there is in the English dictionary that has come alive by virtue of inventions we couldn’t have imagined years ago.
The internet reminds us of the Nigerian films where a calabash under the bed acts a money making machine. Really, can you explain how sitting in front of a white screen all day could make someone a millionaire? Well, the answer to that seemingly rhetorical question is ‘yes’, forex, online trading, social media consulting…journalism, the list goes on and on.
Well then, the skeptics might argue that social media craze has deeply affected our command of the English language. Horrible spelling errors mar assignment scripts as students spend all day dealing with short forms like LMKMD, ROTFLMAO (Rolling on the floor laughing my ass out) and HBD-(Happy birthday). Yet the same cannot dispute that youths are now, more than ever much more in touch with the happenings around them.