Social Media and 21st Century Technology.
I for one usually don't follow trends for the fun or sake of it, I won't buy a shirt, shoe, or even a car if I could afford it just because it's in vogue . Similarly I won't do a dance or even a hair style because it's the trend.
I don't like being anti trends, and have nothing against people who love the trends, but for me I always go with what I feel comfortable in or feel comfortable doing regardless if it's a trend or not. This brings me to this question: - Is social media a trend for the young folks or kids of the 21st century or is social media now a way of life,something we somewhat can't do without,two big questions to ponder, especially if you consider your self savvy and an upwardly mobile professional.
For me, I lean more towards the latter but with a healthy skepticism. I do agree that with the pace at which technology and human communication is moving socializing, doing business or even dating via the Internet is not a fad and won't just go away. The Bible does record that in the last days or end of time knowledge will be on the increase and truly so it is both for good and sadly for bad too. For those of us who have lived through the 80's as kids, into the 90's as teens and now the Millennium as adults. Its evident that knowledge is indeed on the increase, devices such as the mobile phone and other hand held communication gadgets that was really never in existence or at least available for public use as we grew up have now become indispensable tools reducing time and space like never imagined some 20 years before now.
The Internet and telecommunication revolution pushed the boundaries of getting not just human to communicate directly using phones but also using computers,is indeed a breakthrough of significant proportion and the development of user tools for commercial and social purposes has brought about a whole new age (socialing via the internet) -and(doing business on and over the inetrnet).
However packing all of these technological capabilities into a 2,3 or 4 inch device we can hold in our hands, and use for the purposes of not just telephony,but Internet (emails and social media,payment solution,shopping) and even doubling as a camera a recorder, GPS navigator, 3D gaming, weather reporter the list is endless has taken breakthrough to an all new high.
Applications developers,software programmers and venture idealist are constantly stretching the boundaries of what we can achieve by just using the internet or app's on our phone, sorry make that smart phone. I find the term smart phone interesting in the sense that, for a smart version to really make sense, it means there's a dumb version right?
Despite the myriad of things the cell phone is capable of doing these days, the use of social media is on the list of top debated uses and it's also the one with the most misconceptions ( at least in my own country) . Its been rumored that there are over 50million Nigerian's using social media tools like facebook,twitter,google plus and youtube, etc. A sizable number also are very active on local online forums or blogs like lindaikeji's blog, Bella Niaja,Nairaland forum etc.
Even the Nigerian presidency recognizes the power of social media and constantly reaches out to Nigerian social media "freaks" via his own facebook profile. The presidency also has what I would personally call his twitter defense team,who's job is to either attack the opposition or dispel rumors about the current government of President Goodluck.
Some of the feats achieved via social media globally and even in Nigeria is what I would consider phenomenal because just 10 or even 5 year before now no one would have thought the Internet via the use of social media tools can spring uprisings like the occupy wall street and the roles it played in the Arab springs and still plays in the Syrian war. The Nigerian fight against its Government increase in petroleum product pricing termed "occupy nigeria", was also believed to have been started via the use of social media. Nigerian's, went further with a number of young Nigerian's like Seun Kuti and the social media critic Omojuwa featured on the Al-Jazeera program(emphasizing use of social media) The Stream, to talk about the protest and why it's Government must back track on the price increase .
However while one would think that almost every young,aware and upwardly mobile Nigerian is social media savvy, this actually is not the case. I personally have a few friends who don't have facebook profile,twitter accounts and all the other Internet stuffs or apps that now exist. To these folks it's either a waste of their time or for others surprising as this may sound, they believe it's ungodly or tends towards ungodliness to make use of social media. I do agree with some of their perceptions of social media, but not totally in agreement.
Why too much of the facebooking or twitting or being glued to youtube,may lead to easy and in some case unwanted/unsolicited access to pornographic materials, violent or disturbing images This obviously is a bad thing in the sense that it takes away tremendous amount of the users time if you spend too much time online or can lead to sinful / self destructive habits if you are faced with or become addicted to unwholesome images online. However these things in themselves don't totally make the use of social media a bad thing or a waste of time. It basically boils down to one thing, the individual using this tool. His/her ability for self control and an understanding of what social media can be used for on a personal basis can really clear out all the misconceptions.
Like many, I use social media, but over time I have come to define why I use social media,what I do with social media, what can be achieved via the use of social media,the creative opportunities that lie within social media and the internet, also I have come to understand that there's a downside to the use of social media and me or others can abuse this tool just the way almost anything can be misused and abused.
Constantly striking a balance in how we use social media tools and what track and traces we leave online has never been more important than ever. Today you don't know who spy on you via the Internet or possibly via an app on your phone, a hugh chunk of apps on our so called smart mobile devices request for your location or access to your files. If this is meant to improve quality of performance of that app or just to pass on your location or files to a third party to track you we may never know for now.
In other instances people will try to hack into your social media tools, or attack company's like linkedin,yahoo,google,facebook,twitter,etc holding your personal files/data and take control of your profiles and accounts and using this for ulterior purposes .So let make no mistake about it,a portion of risk does exist with the use of social media and some of these risk are good enough to make none users of this tool weary and continue to stay off completely as least or as long as they can.
However the questions these folks should ask is :- Will there come a day when we can't communicate effectively if you don't have or make use of social media tools or do our business transactions? personally I don't think so considering the energy challenges Nigeria keeps facing, but then again am not part of the big corporations with billions of dollars in financial resources. Investing and trying to drive the agenda of getting 7.1 billion people on earth online, possibly they too might be considering a smart solution that can by pass our power/energy constraint and still get working devices in the hands of Africans.
Final words, with social media and modern communication technology, use it if you must, its saves time,its a great tool and resource for business,study,research,entertainment and creating jobs. Be moderate, have a life online and offline , Watch Your Track , Watch Your Back.