I have scooped myself twice on social media this year alone. What? Yes, I write an opinion for Daily Trust (www.dailytrust.com.ng) every Wednesday and another one (Wakaman) on Sundays(www.sundaytrust.com.ng/wakaman). Writing two 800-word essays every week is not cheesecake. While it is arduous to do sometimes, at other times two columns is not enough in the face of urgent news requiring an opinion.
Social media has made the immediacy of comment very imperative. News breaks first on social media before mainstream media has the capacity to authenticate them. On social media, everybody is a writer, editor and publisher rolled in one. There are more people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and whatever else is out there than there are people trolling through mainstream media at any given time. In today’s world, we are all inwardly narcissistic.
We are on social media for different reasons. Some just can’t wait to be the first to like the tweeted picture of their idols; others are paid to feed propaganda, while some are paid to counter it. The rest of social media residents, have to follow our rogue governments from the diaspora and to monitor the perspective of people on breaking news. The last category of social media could be spurred to respond to a debate or policy to counter hype or to stop a lie in its tracks.
Winston Churchill, the man whose 50th passage we have just celebrated could have lived in 2015. He cautioned that a lie might have travelled a thousand miles before the truth starts to wear its pyjamas. That is proving to be true with social media. Somebody decides to create a fib and publish it, because computers tend to imbue in people a boldness that they naturally lack and pronto- it’s gone viral. By the time the maligned tries to repair the damage, it’s too late.
Because of inappropriate tagging culture, I was forced to write an essay on tags. There are people out there who tag even when they change their own profile picture. It was called my no-tag policy, mainly addresses decency and decorum. But while a few friends were sharing, the government in Nigeria decided to postpone an election that had taken four years to prepare for. I couldn’t wait to write another piece. In the past, each of this could have passed for my regular column. But then, they just couldn’t wait!
If you have anything on how social media affects your writing and want to share, please do so.