Due to recent lifestyle changes, I have re-joined the world of social media and as with everything I come across, I ponder on the dynamics at play. So, here are my thoughts on the undercurrents of this worldwide sensation that is Social Media.
It is not news that the world has become a virtual community of cyber projections, simulated interactions, and computer-generated relationships; and as with all social interactions, the issues of etiquette, politics, obligations and such arise. Permit me to note, at this point, that Social Media is so much more than Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat..There’s also Soundcloud, Tumblr, Flickr, Linkedin, Vimeo, Periscope and Pinterest for the more specialized crowd… and then there are so many more that you have never heard of. That being said, our focus remains with the aforementioned big names which are most populated.
The rules of human dealings are daily being passed through the filter (no pun intended) of these platforms: Youtube, Instagram , Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp Pinterest, , Skype and Snapchat and the rules of social media are the rules of todays world. We introduce ourselves, engage ourselves, present ourselves and so much more on social media.
The world is our oyster with these incredible platforms, which enable us touch people we would probably never “smell” otherwise. They are aptly called platforms upon which each person gets a chance at the spotlight. Each of us is the Writer, Producer, Director, Costume Designer, Director of Photography and more of his own movie. And guess what, this has been the case since the days of avatars of online games and yahoo messenger. Everyone has got an alter ego who’s everything they wish they were. This is just an extension of that.
Truth is, many of us have been sucked in and I’ll prove it to you with these formations…
- When you wake up in the morning, you scroll through your phone first for updates.
- When you’re on the road, you scroll through your phone to see if people have responded to your updates or see what others are up to.
- You have ‘’friended’’ or followed people on social media, even liked their pictures but can't even send an ''hello'' their way when you see them.
- You don’t even ask for people’s phone numbers anymore, you can find them on Twitter or Instagram.
- You have started reading meanings into people responding or not responding to your posts, messages etc.
- You, absolutely, must have perfect pictures, or videos to be posted as soon as possible.
- When such ‘’perfect’’ pictures and videos are posted, you have a sense of fulfillment and sit back , anticipate and enjoy the comments , shares and likes.
- Today, there are studies highlighting the effect social media has on users’ self esteem.
- When you meet or have anything to do with a celeb or prominent person, your selfie for social media is a must. You put up his picture, famzing while the other person doesn’t even mention you on social media.
- You document every achievement on your pages, such include awards or recognition of any kind, trips abroad(in this economy, its a feat!), meeting or getting acquainted with celebs and other prominent individuals (mentioned that already) and so much more.
- Followers are like gold.Your degree of stardom an success is ''based'' on your number of followers. And yes, there are people who offer follower sales as a service.
If you agree or disagree with any of the above or even have additional ones, please share!
What’s even more curious for me is the fact that people explain Social Media away: its not the real world, its all a façade
, people only post what they want you to see
etc. I prefer to sit on the fence on this one. Why? Because we just cannot explain it all away…
- Some people make a living directly or indirectly from Social Media: Programmers, Content & Platform Managers, Analysts, Digital Media Agencies, Brands, Artistes, Actors, Social Media Influencers and many more build their living on these platform. I’m sorry, all you’re seeing is real, real hustle. Personal Brand seeds are sown daily, post by post, picture by picture, hashtag by hashtag. In the last decade, millions of jobs have been created around this movement .
- For some other people, their living will never be made from social media, they only want to have fun online and see what others are doing. Notice how short this paragraph is…
The trick is to find your category and align accordingly
Here’s a checklist of 5 things for all of us (irrespective of category) to note in playing on social media:
- First off, identify your category.
- Recall, it’s a mix of the real world and a lot of smokescreen. Don’t live your life based on it. Choose your battles.
- Respect the impact and influence of Social Media but don’t base your life or decisions solely on it…back check everything you see.
- Be civil and respectful of others as you would treat them in person. Social Media trolls, get in here!
- Don't post my private-type pictures without at least confirming with me.
- When I say don't record or take pictures, don't!
- No, I do not want to be tagged in all your posts etc
- Not everything is for social media… personal scenarios, interpersonal conflicts and family secrets are not meant for social media. Learn to hold back details and leave information gaps
- Log out regularly… yes, log out and get a life. Chances are, when you log out…you are able to be productive at stuff over which you can come back and celebrate online.
This commentary is so not over… more to come as I crystallise my thoughts.
By Ayodotun Rotimi-Akinfenwa