Talking about social media, someone once explained the difference between Facebook and Twitter to me as follows:
“Facebook is where you go to lie to people who know you; Twitter is where you go to tell the truth to people who don’t know you.”
While this may not be resounding enough to become the meme of the year, it certainly has enough truth in it to remain one of my favourite quotes. Social media is the place people go to put up all kinds of different things that may or may not directly correspond with the lives they live in reality. And since there’s actually no way of verifying who is telling the truth versus who’s lying, suffice it to say that social media has its challenges.
See Also: 35 Booming business ideas and step-by-step guides to starting them; a strategic and financial breakdown of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria.
One of the biggest issues with social media is the extent of falseness and falsehood that thrive on platforms there. People come on and share make-believe lives and so on; gullible people eat it all up. They swallow them hook, line and sinker, and start to put themselves down, wishing their lives were as interesting as someone else is making them believe theirs is.
Besides, the nature of the life we humans live now makes us easily isolated. Sometimes I can easily stay indoors for as long as a week without seeing or talking with another human being, but if you look for me online, my trail is easy to follow.
And I’m sure I speak for several other people.
Now, before you go off on some self-righteous justification rant on how social media is useful, calm down. We know.
Today’s focus, however, is what you read in the title.
I read somewhere (or maybe I came up with it myself – it eludes my memory at the moment) that social media – the very thing meant to unite us – is the same thing keeping us apart. People, for the most part, are now more comfortable with sitting behind computer screens and devices and keeping up a charade of well-being and comfort while nothing can be farther from the truth.
The reality is that we’re more isolated now than ever.
I asked a number of friends a question: “Where did you meet your present/last romantic partner?” In several cases, they pointed to social media. The reason for this is pretty obvious – we spend more time than ever online, speaking with people we do not know or particularly care about, sharing things about ourselves that we normally would keep private.
What’s with the sudden desire for attention, the all-too-important need to be noticed?
A recent survey observed that people get increasingly risqué because of the attention such things attract one’s way online. A very famous celebrity (famous for putting out a sex tape) released a nude picture of hers and set the internet agog. An older comedienne had to respond with “If so-and-so wanted to show us parts of her we haven’t seen, she may have to swallow the camera”.
Such is the allure of social media.
And the danger is also real, if it goes unchecked. Just before the 2015 elections, the Oba of Lagos made a comment about the Igbo resident in Lagos voting for a particular candidate – and then he made some threatening remarks. A few days afterwards, some guy was on Twitter spitting vitriol at the Igbo folk, calling them the problems of Nigeria and asking that they be murdered en masse.
But that was/isn’t what bothered me.
The issue was the number of retweets the guy’s tweets were getting. It was as though the Oba’s comments had opened a can of worms and people finally came forward to air their thoughts. And because of the power of social media, the discourse spread like wildfire.
How about the story of a girl somewhere in the states who was raped at a party and the video was posted online? How about the guy who killed himself because his roommate in college outed him on Twitter to be gay?
Social media has its negatives. It has been known to give people with the loudest voices a platform to air their bigotry and ignorance, and all of a sudden people without a history, pedigree or resume become an authority on issues that they really know little or nothing about.
My little girl knows. There’s no internet until she’s eighteen and able to handle the pressure it brings with it – the pressure of needing to conform. As much as I like being online and interacting, I also take time to go off and tune off from all the noise and distractions. It’s all too easy to get swallowed up in all the drama and negativity. Besides you start to think you’re making a difference meanwhile no one really knows you.
It’s all good and clean fun, but it’s something to be worried about when it takes us away from the things that truly matter. So every now and then, it’s good to unplug, come up for some air and talk with other human beings. It’s life itself.
On such occasions, welcome to the real world.
Let’s create visibility for your brand and put your business on the world map. Contact us today to make your brand the preferred choice for our audience of entrepreneurs and business leaders.
To keep track of our activities, follow us on Instagram.