My mother had a saying when you did something wrong and try to pin the blame as some sort of human frailty that your case was likened to that of a drunk who went ahead to have s3xual relations with his neigbour’s wife or said something rude to an elder, he was only doing what was on his mind encouraged by the boldness of the alcohol he is taking.
This proverb aptly describes certain unacceptable behavior, which primarily is rudeness or aggression on social media. Armed with a phone and some data, people easily cross boundaries by being unnecessarily rude and would even bully others for exercising the same right as they do. Though they are measures provided by administrators of social media platforms to check excesses but such acts goes deeper beyond the sphere of social media space.
In the last decade or so, many friendships have been formed or reconnected via online platforms, and dating sites have steadily expanded with people across genre, class or status becoming spouses. Business relationships continue to grow through social media platforms. How are these achieved? Simple.Networking. How does it work? Through relationships.
In a world that steadily embraces liberalism and freedom of expression, it is very easy to ignore and even think respectful and courteous behavior quite obsolete. Right? Wrong! Respect and courtesy continues to open locked doors as long as humans exist. Unfortunately, many use the social media recklessly without a thought of what damage they can do to others and to themselves.
Most thoughts are expressed through our fingers on our keypads, but because it is faceless, words if not properly constructed may be either misconstrued or misunderstood. Now, flowing from this is that because the social media is some sort of “leveler”, the real depth or worth of many people cannot easily be gauged. The age, status of some are confusing and if caution is not applied, it’s easy to step on toes.
The language of social media platforms should be courtesy. The body language must be decorous because the world is fast becoming a global village. Impressions are easily formed and good ones could open doors like magic. You may not physically meet the person that would provide you help but actions can easily be read and adjudged through the words we put out. Some people genuinely live lonely lives and sometimes their posts seeking advice are genuine. Mocking them or giving very acerbic advice could drive some people over the edge or completely fracture already disturbed minds.
Months ago, I made a satirical post about the ways of life in the town where I live. A friend who commented on the post tagged another friend to come and read. The other friend, who read the post straightway, insulted me. I was furious but instead of going all out I told my own friend not to invite such people to my wall. My friend who happens to be a younger colleague privately took it up with his friend telling him that who he just insulted was a far older colleague in age and at Bar. I was informed he apologized profusely saying he thought it was someone he knew. But I know he probably misjudged from what he saw that maybe I looked younger.
Now, with the country gearing up for the coming elections, tempers are becoming frayed and frustrations and anger are finding expressions on the social media. We must have an understanding that the ruling elite makes no permanent enemies, just permanent interest so why should we hold ourselves by the jugular and spill blood all over the cyber space? Leadership must and will change hands. But we will always remain Nigerians.
The impersonality that social media presents is not an excuse for outright rudeness to any class, colour or race or faith. It is not an excuse to propagate gospels of hate. It is not a platform to ram opinions down people’s throat. It should be a platform for positive change. A platform where we genuinely seek the truth of stories around us before pressing the “share” button to send such stories.
A place where we don’t just engage our fingers to gain followership. While it’s good to enjoy good followership over ideas shared, the quest to sustain them or gain more isn’t a reason to throw caution to the winds and become disrespectful just because we seek to gain prominence and popularity though rudeness.
You can be controversial and may not readily agree to what is deemed right by society or even politically correct. Differences are allowed. After all human race is a study in variety and diversity. But we should express our differences with high level of tolerance and decorum.
All relationships business or otherwise will continue to thrive in this age through solid networking. How is that sustained? Through referrals. How is that provided? Through good human relations.
The social media provides only a thin veil. But it never shields the true character or intent of the personality behind the façade.