What does social media mean to you? Do you ever think about it?The amount of times I have had to explain to my mom that I wasn’t just ‘pressing phone’ but was actually working or learning, she often looks at me with the wariness one might give a ‘mad’ man when one catches him soliloquising and he insists that he is very much sane.
But really, what does social media mean to you? For some, it’s a way to unwind and laugh after a long and stressful day; while for others, it is a cause of their depression as they begin to measure their happiness against the amount of followers or likes they have. For some it is a way of communication with family and friends, while others see social media as a way to advertise their brand or business, raise awareness on a particular social issue or create a name for themselves.
It’s pretty obvious how tectonic social media is to our generation. Even in the work place- social media experts to public relations officers, it has definitely created employment opportunities in areas that were non-existent for previous generations. Methods of employment have changed with advent of online interviews and business meeting conference calls. Some employers now require that you are an active user of social media.
My major concern for the new age is: are we really using social media as a tool to create new waves for ourselves or do we just spend time fawning over slay queens and arguing over football or even waiting on retweets and likes which happens to be the new currency. It is important for us to realise that conversational media shouldn’t just be a place for bants and mundane conversations. I texted a friend in London yesterday. WOW some twenty years ago, this was impossible. This pulls me quickly to different spheres, just imagine how far your music, writing, painting and other creations could go if you decided to wobble community marketing and reach a global audience. Do you know how many writers owe their fame and literary careers to the blogs they own?
And what about learning? Learning has evolved, full fact. I have watched two psychology classes taught in a lecture hall in Yale from the comfort of my house in Lagos, thanks to YouTube. I recently met an amazing make up artist and she told me how she took all her makeup tutorials on YouTube and linked up with other professionals via social media platforms, kept on practicing till she became the expert she is today. This Is The New Age!
Attaining consciousness, social media shouldn’t be an ignored medium or classified as a distraction. Of course I am not oblivious to how toxic it can be and how sometimes, one does need to take a step back for a while. But let us use social media the same way our fathers used postal letters and stamps as a way of moving information.
Days ago, I read a report that stated the different age groups and their sources of newstheir news, crazy how the internet is taking the lead, even over TVs and radios.
So hey! wake up, smell the morning coffee and get conscious.
Dear superstar, you could sell your entire album online without belonging to a record label, you know?
Entrepreneur, you’re aware that you could advertise your business without printing any flyers?
Writers, realized that you could publish your books without the name of any publishing house?
I think it succinct to end this piece by saying use social media platforms as well as a device to reach friends and family, a medium for laughter and banter, but learn from it, see the world clearer and see it as a way of ‘selling your market’(in Chigul’s voice).
Written By Titi Odeyinka.