Franklyn O. Frantos
Frankly(n) speaking, it’s high time we tell ourselves some good old deserving truth. Let’s face it and damn it like in the old days.
A few days ago, someone posted a piece of news on his wall on Facebook, the type that makes you go “whao!”, really, he did that? If you are the type that jumps to a conclusion, you would have sworn on your great grandmother’s grave that the subject matter is guilty and as if that was not enough, there are images of the supposed culprit cropped or photo chopped to fit into the narrative just to make it look authentic.
You need to have seen it, It’s a masterpiece. The type Hollywood editors do to make money. But this was done to damage someone’s reputation and to create confusion in his domain. After this, (the story went viral). For him to get his life back, will be a herculean task. Why, because many saw the news, read it, shared it and made damaging comments crucifying him alive. You are probably expecting me to mention the news or story I am talking about if so, you are one of them that shares without knowing the facts or comment without minding what.
Today, lets’ talk about the craze in town and the world at large. The very thing that has turned the world into a global village. The INTERNET. From that, I will carve out the culprits from this enigma — the — SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES and the way we use them. I will narrow it down to the focus of this write-up – FACEBOOK.
This is not an academic paper so no judgement, just read if you will and waka pass without soboleshun. If you don’t want to, kindly move to the next store, they are open. Kagiko?
Just like in every intellectual discuss, we will look at the good, the bad and the ugly side of it all.
LET’S START WITH THE GOOD
Already, I can hear some of you saying, “What else has he got to say that others have not said before or what will he write that is new”. Well, we all say things or write differently, may have the same meaning but not necessarily the same ending. If you are a doubting Thomas, leave now you won’t enjoy this piece. But if you are one of the few that believed women saw Jesus first, then continue to the end as there will be one thing or another that could relate to you or you relate to. If you are with me, let’s crack on.
As an extrovert but a humbly shy individual, and I know many are like me even those that won’t admit they are shy socially. Social media as the name implies is helping them to socialize and mix with an array of those they ordinarily won’t be with. The medium is meant to make us socialize with one another but in the media realm. I am therefore tempted to give the meaning of social and the media. But I dare not bore you so you won’t run a 4-40 relay away from this discussion.
I am sure you know the dictionary meaning of both words separately and combined. Even if you don’t know, just follow me and I won’t lose you. Social media is supposed to be a simple play, learn, enjoy and have fun area but has turned the whole world upside down, our nuclear family, friends, community and the nations are not spared either.
I must confess. Even me, I go to the loo with my mobile phone (if it’s for no 2 but not always. Please don’t just imagine it, that’s the only time I can spare) so I can check the page and see what else has happened since I last viewed.
Social networking has turned some people to ‘gbeboruns’, (those that won’t mind their own business), helped some to engage with the outside world, (good for them), made others know/learn more, (knowledge gained), helped more to socialize and reach out (spare them from dying of loneliness), in fact, others found a life partner (happily ever after), others got burnt financially, lost money or a loved one (metaphorically speaking), others use it to cause mischief, (just like my introduction). It has also created a lot of online millionaires overnight. Above all, now we have online journalists of copy and paste category and those who are sharers or bearers of good and bad news without understanding what they are sharing (thank God for this medium), but too bad for them. These are the ones referred to by President Trump of the United State of America as “Fake news Journalist”.
The internet is the World Wide Web (www.com) for short. It is built to ease communication and share information. (Cambridge Dictionary). You will be surprised at what people share. Don’t get me wrong it’s not all bad, but most are not true. You wait for it.
Social or socialize as we all know it in the days of yore is an occasion when members of a family, community, group, friends or organization meet formally / informally to enjoy themselves (owambe or at saint bottles cathedral — beer parlours, pubs). Also, it’s relating to activities in which you meet and spend time with other people face to face, communicating and sharing ideas or gossips (no be me talk am o) and that happens during the time when you are not working, weekends especially.
However, “not this social networking” which is technology-driven and occurring on a platform we know as “social media” where we connect to communicate via the internet using the tablet, laptop or hand-held computers and phones. It’s mostly mobile and anywhere, whenever or wherever.
Now, enough of that explanation. Down to the main thing.
There are many social networking sites out there but my focus today is the one and only “Facebook” It is an online social media which was launched on February 4, 2004, by a very young and dynamic gentleman. Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users as of June 2019, it is the most popular social networking site in the world today, based on the number of active user accounts. It has made the owner or owner’s multi-billion dollars and one of the richest on the planet earth. (that you also know) But what is the use of Facebook that has made it so popular or unpopular?
Let’s split it.
Everybody wants to be in touch with their friends, family and loved ones. Facebook is the best way to do that (Also WhatsApp Owned by Facebook) as it is the largest platform that connects people all over the world. There was a time when friends lost contact after school or get separated by work when people shifted/moved from one place to another, either for greener pasture or necessity of life. But now it’s a myth.
The most amazing thing is you can even find your friends or family who you lost touch with for decades through Facebook, sometimes via another friend’s/friend or relatives wall/page. Those who found themselves tend to remain connected while some will create another forum page on another social networking platform for texting and sharing — WhatsApp etc.
In that category is the old boys and girl’s student associations, ‘age groups’ within the society or church. The list is endless. Not only can you be connected to your close ones but also know how they are and what they are doing. Most people share important events about their life on Facebook, leaving traces for opportunistic attack from the dregs of the society who prey on such information to cause havoc.
If we are not taking and sharing selfies, we will be uploading personal information’s and documentation that leave us so open and porous to hacking and attacks. Just recently, a former England footballer shared his whereabouts and location on one of these sites and before you could say, John Bull, his palatial home was ransacked and looted.
Same goes for the most popular of the Kardashian family member, she shared where she will be not too long ago and what happened was history. I know some, who uploads what they eat as they dine out, where they eat and how they eat it. I am not saying it’s bad but I want to say it is bad. Why flaunt it, when some are starving. Really not a way to stay connected.
These sites, rather than connecting people, at times, it is disconnecting users. Also, the bad ones use a cloned page to prey on unsuspected innocent users who they think will not know and accept a second friend request from a cloned FB page. People are now wiser with a disclaimer here and there saying, “Please do not accept a second friend request from anyone who claims to be me, my account has been hacked” Shocking.
SHARING INFORMATION, FUN & ENTERTAINMENT
Most people have an instinct to share their knowledge and experience with other people. In this category, I have a lot of them and here I will name few names (if you see your name, with positive comments, then you have made the hall of fame but if negative, it is the hall of shame – bear with me). I can’t name everyone in this piece, it will be longer than this, and that is why it is in parts.
Thus, Facebook presents a lot of diversified content and help people to gather various kinds of information. This way the community can learn from others experience and gain very useful insights. The more significant a message is, the more it’s shared and more people get to know about it. Above all Facebook (users) amuses us in a lot of ways. Socializing is always a lot of fun and this platform is perfect for that. Just last night, I washed a Vox Pop by one of Nigeria YouTubers, (it’s old though) asking random questions on the street of Lagos. “Please, can you tell me where your ‘UTERUS’ is located?” Answer — “l think it’s in my head,” Another says “My heart” and yet another funny answer is “My anus” Lord of mercy. You cannot but laugh at the ignorance some of my people displayed on live YouTube. Yeah, it’s all about entertainment.
As Facebook gather so much information about our personal lives for the targeted direct advert, we also get much more information in the public domain. Fake or real.
If I may digress a little. From my own point of view (yours will surely be different). In my years of Facebooking, (if I may say so), there are people I have befriended online who have made my days most of the time.
I have never regretted adding them as friends. Although, most are my friends in real life and I hardly accept or add anyone I don’t know. In the next edition, I will list those that are using social media for good and who has been making us laugh with their witty postings. Stay with me.
Franklyn O. Frantos. Writes from London.
Feferity (c) 2019
Images, courtesy: Google Images.