So, what if I told you that social media has changed my life immensely; of course, positively?
What if I told you that as opposed to the many negative narratives that has been sold to us, social media has played a positive and vital role in the lives of many.
Things evolve very fast, seasons change and generations are very different in what they have at their disposal and their approach to life. To say that relationships were better off in the 19th century when all we had were traditional, slow and inefficient means of transferring information would be to tell me that you prefer to cook with firewood as opposed to utilizing a gas cooker that gives you a neater and faster result because a neighbour’s house caught fire while using a gas cooker! Truth is, when we come to a level of complete grasp of the fact that Social Media is here to stay and would be here for a very long time evolving from one form to another, the better for us; because we would start thinking of more creative ways of exploiting the effective use of Social Media rather than always talking it down. Since the world is tilting towards mobile technology and the use of web, social media is a vital tool to reach people beyond your immediate circle
This isn’t to say that social media is all happily ever after and has no negative effects. Social media, like money and technology, is neither good nor bad. It can only be used to achieve whatever is in the mind of the user. It is therefore user-centric. Social media, only amplifies whatever is in the heart or better still unveils the intention of the user. The gun to a soldier is a very effective tool in enforcing law and order in a nation whilst to a thief, it’s a danger waiting to happen. Is the gun, therefore, a bad tool? No! It rather depends on whose hands it is. While some institutions complain severally about the addiction of their young ones to Social media, some others are generating more and more content out there, increasing their fan base and ultimately getting more influential in culture.
So, if someone with a low self-esteem gets on social media, the best you can expect is that he or she stumbles on an article or video that addresses low self-esteem and he/ she works on him/herself. The worst? The person stumbles into several bouts of depression because he/she couldn’t keep up with the demands thereof. Social media didn’t essentially drive him/her to depression. The depression only found expression with the person’s involvement in social media.
I find it utterly inaccurate therefore to conclude that our generation has become so dumb due to addiction to social media when in the real fact, it’s so obvious that no generation has experienced such explosion of information and knowledge like we have today due largely to the impact of Social media. From WhatsApp conferences to Facebook live sessions to tweet chats and snapchat tutorials and so much more, there’s so much to consume online. However, you can only make effective use of the Social media if you dedicate yourself wholly towards getting the best out of it and be fully equipped to thrive in it.
Don’t be deceived, people have found jobs [well-paying jobs at that] from just talking about their need for a job on social media; people have met life partners; B2B and B2C connections have been made easier, some have gotten business grants; others have established valuable relationships, learnt valuable life skills, won political elections, and communicated faster and cheaper; these ones will forever be grateful to the invention called social media
In the next few paragraphs, I’d be sharing a few things I’ve learnt over a few years of active involvement in social media and how to play safe and rise above the troubled waters.
- Be intentional about who you follow:
You don’t really want to be caught in a web of confusion on social media as to what to believe. There are so many people who are just looking for a medium to confuse people with horrifying theology and ideology. At the end of this article, I will drop a few handles of people on social media that I can vouch for any time and would recommend that you follow. These ones have shown consistency in producing valuable content and shaping right culture. One tool you want to have handy is the unfollow button (for Twitter and Instagram) and the unfriend / unlike button (for Facebook); or better still the willpower to just block straight away. The moment someone is consistently posting hate speech or obscene content, the best thing to do is take them out of your space not because you necessarily hate them but because you are more concerned about your sanity than their popularity. Be quick to ignore people who want to bring you down with their hate speech. They are sad people and are looking for other people to infect with this disgust. Ignore, ignore and ignore. They don’t deserve your time.
- Don’t be in a hurry to talk.
Seeing that everyone is saying something/posting punchlines could be deceptive in that it creates an unnecessary pressure to also want to talk. It’s at this point you start making a decision as regards the personality you want to represent on social media, monitor and explore creative content, understudy some people of worth and so much more. Noteworthy is the fact that one shouldn’t be so much in a hurry to be the face of twitter because it could land you on some terrible landmines.
Somehow, we want people to contribute to our content but feel very reluctant to contribute to the content of others. That, in my view, is nothing but selfishness. One of the things I’ve concluded from a social media experiment I carried out lately is that people want to be heard, feel good and find someone to converse with. Therefore, if you can provide a mix of this content, you’d quickly grow your social media influence. Sometime back, a particular celebrity I had been following for some time decided to follow me back. I was more than elated. I practically felt very high for some time after seeing the notification so I decided to engage him in a personal discussion inquiring why he decided to follow me and his reply rattled my mind for some time.
He said “I observe people who comment on my timeline. If I see that their perspective consistently enriches me, especially if they don’t always agree with me, I follow!”
Talk to people. Ask polite questions. Contribute politely and you’d be corrected if wrong. That way, people would gladly impart you and help you more to grow.
- Know when to stop.
This is where discipline comes in. Know when you’ve heard enough dose of it. No one can help you regulate this and there’s no hard and fast rule to it but you should know that you can’t be on social media for a whole day and be able to make productive activities during the day. Know when to put off your data and get your life going. Know when social media is interfering with your productivity and know when addiction is slowly creeping in. Be cautious.
- Avoid unnecessary conversations.
You don’t want to get yourself hooked in some conversations that are headed for doom. Arguments on which celebrity dressed well, which politician performed well, which embezzled more, and some of all those frivolous conversations we get involved are landmines and dangerous zones. Except you have detailed information and facts to support your point, please don’t get involved.
- Never let anyone’s life keep you depressed.
Some people’s life mission on social media is to make you depressed. They are the ones that practically filter their lives. They look all perfect on social media. Their captions on their pictures are tailored to suit this theme. Their posts are many times profound and keep you thinking. However, no one knows the state of their private lives. Sometimes, they come online to drop nuggets on how your life can be as good as theirs and all. Please, don’t let anyone’s life exert any pressure on you to go out of your way to get things done. You can be inspired but not pressured, please.
- Be careful what you say.
I wish I could let these words jump out of this magazine. Please be careful of what you say and how you say it. Lately, there’s been a trend in the massive spread of fake news on social media. This is no longer being taken lightly and punishments are being meted out to offenders. Don’t be caught in that web of wanting to share exclusive news first thereby sharing false information. Also, there’s no need to release exclusive information about yourself online. There’s a predator nearby.
In conclusion, I believe that we have been able to see sides to how social media can both be used to improve the lives of people and also how the mismanagement of it has destroyed the lives of many.
The ball is in your court.
Ensure you play it with your best foot and to your advantage.
I promised to share some usernames of some people I gladly recommend you follow on social media. There’s an inexhaustible list of recommended people but this handful will give you a good start. I can assure that you’d be grateful to have these people on your social media feed
Twitter: @yinkanubi @subomiplumptre @lekealder @chude @DrJoeAbah @OgbeniDipo @TheEconomist @obyezeks @BukkyShonibare
Facebook: Akan Imoh, Strive Masiyiwa, Kola Oyeneyin, Emeka Nobis, John Obidi, Remi Owadokun, Seun Akisanmi, Jack & Jil Live, Deji Irawo