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Opinions of Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Columnist: WARUKS

About the 21st century fortuneteller on social media

Hello my fellow social media freaks! I have some good and bad news for you. Good news is, you can NOW tell when you are going to die…bad news is, this is all CRAP! Lately, I have observed a trend on Facebook. I have been seeing my fellow friends posting stuff like this:

Who will leave flowers at your grave every day?
Which friend will leave all their property to you?
What do the tea leaves say about your future?
What does your name truly mean?
What kind of people do you love, hate, respect?
Who is your soulmate?

Which animal do you turn into when you are in love/angry/happy, etc.?
By now, if you are a real Facebook user, you already have an idea of what am talking about. Am talking about this phenomenal know-it-all app known as MEAWW!! I actually don’t know how to pronounce this but I guess it sounds like a cat meowing.

Whatever it is, I do not think it is something we should subscribe to for a number of reasons. At first, it seemed like a very good game or even some kind of a fortuneteller.

To some people, meaww is a god and every time they feel down or pathetic, they turn to Mr. Meaww for consolation, get all their answers and leave smiling. Well, human beings are very fond of flattery and when they find someone who can freely give nice compliments to them, they nod their heads and follow blindly without asking questions or raising doubts as long as those compliments keeps coming. We seem to be evolving from one version of superstition to another and denying that we aren’t superstitious. Aren’t we the same people who were so obsessed with the zodiac signs and stuff?

The most intriguing thing about Mr. Meaww is that he can offer answers to almost

every question and when he does, he leaves you heaving with excitement and curiosity. He makes you happy. He tells you about your future goals. He tells you when you are going to get married and many more sweet lies. In short, he makes you happy by telling you what you want to here and consequently asks you to share the results on your Facebook timeline and along with the flattery that he has given you, you add something like this:

“Oh My God, this thing knows who my bestie is …”

“Oh My God, this Meaww thing knows all my best friends…”

“Holy Crap! You wouldn’t believe what Meaww just told me…”

“This is so damn true…”

Well, there are more crazy expressions posted by Meaww users upon receiving the results and we all have seen them. By the way, don’t get me wrong, I tried it once and thought, ‘damn, this is so fun!’ However, it got me thinking…how the heck do they do this?

Some of the results you get from this Mr. Meaww guy are so incredibly correct and due to this overwhelming feeling of ‘I need to know more’, you end up getting addicted to it and do all the quizzes on their site and share as many as you can, especially the one that says something positive about you.

This is so typical of most people on social media and we kind of want somebody to like our picture, photo, or status and this yearning and thirst for likes or comments can really turn us into gullible and vulnerable targets of scam and cyber- crime.

There is need to understand that whenever you allow such applications as Meaww or any other app to access your personal profile, you are essentially allowing it to harvest and store a lot of private data which you wouldn’t really be comfortable sharing with any stranger out there.

I know it is kind of fun knowing who your craziest friend is and sharing it with the world but remember that before Meaww gives you the almost perfect result, they dig deep into your profile and only God know how much information they store about you.

How do you think they manage to give you the almost perfect answers? To read more about the technical explanation of the harm that may be caused by these online gods, check out these two links

So, back to my title. Can Meaww tell you EVERYTHING about you? The answer is NO! The sad newsflash is that Meaww doesn’t know any shit about you! They use the information that you already have on your profile and once you grant them access to your account, they do some algorithmic hocus-pocus known as data mining (if am not wrong) and BAM! You get your results, or is it flattery!

Am sorry for breaking this to you but the truth is, you don’t need some online fortuneteller to tell you who your soul mate is going to be and neither do you need anybody to tell you the kind of animal you turn into when making love! This is ridiculous and so misleading. Don’t be hungry for compliments because this may get you into serious mess and as much as I want to say that compliments are cool, you’ve got to know who is showering you with the flattery. Rather than doing these quizzes, why don’t you start by believing in yourself and knowing that you are an awesome person and you need nobody’s approval for that!

Meaww is just an example, there are many apps out there that could take advantage of your ignorance or your ‘I-CARE-LESS’ attitude and do some awful things to you. I don’t mean to scare anybody but is this not the reality? A little knowledge wouldn’t hurt, would it? The most effective way to stay off of all this fuss is to not engage in any form of social media but who am I kidding? Is that even possible in this generation?

So, rather than getting scared and being anti-social-media, you could be on social media but be mindful of the apps that you give access to your accounts. Prevention is better than sorry. I know delete doesn’t always mean delete in this internet era but as the first step, I would advise you to first delete that application and log out of it as first as you can. You have generously fed them a lot of your personal data already and maybe it is high time you became a little stingy. And oh, I know there are some die-hard fans who may have found a new religion in this Meaww thing, for you guys, GOOD LUCK!

Some folks may still continue doing these quizzes. As for me, I really enjoyed the flattery and all but am not going to open that door anymore. I know how people have been seeing weird stuff posted on their walls just because of clicking on attractive links, not just meaww. Am no tech expert but my parting shot is , think thrice before clicking on any link on Facebook or any other social media platform. I am well aware of the adage, ‘curiosity killed the cat’, and ooh am pretty sure I don’t want to be that miserable cat!!