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Opinions of Saturday, 9 December 2017

Columnist: Abdul-Rahim Naa Ninche

When I close down, what do you have to offer?

Dear user,

On a normal day, you should be posting your beautiful pictures shot professionally by #NincheShotIt, posting recent pictures of you having a rare opportunity to have lunch at the one of the most expensive restaurants in the country, or telling us how you want your future spouse to look like. Well, I have decided to write to you too, at least for only today hoping that, before I write to you next time, you would have taken the words I will be writing here seriously.

Many years ago, I was not in existence and life was still normal. Somehow, through the innovative thinking of young people like you around the globe who are constantly thinking of how to make this world a better place, I came into existence.

For those of you who do not know, the first recognizable edition of myself (social media), Six Degrees, was created in 1997 to enable users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. The world was becoming a global village and people had to know and communicate with each other without necessarily going through the hustle of travelling. The early 2000s gave birth to the prominence of sites like LinkedIn and MySpace while Photobucket and Flickr facilitated online photo sharing. By 2005, “Uncle” YouTube had popped up with an entirely new way of communication and sharing information. When 2006 arrived, Facebook and Twitter had become so popular that almost everyone yearned for it. In short, i brought a new face to communication and they called me SOCIAL MEDIA.

In the last decade, almost everyone across the globe is connected to at least one social media platform or the other. There are some who even have an account on every social media platform. I was supposed to make communication easier. I was supposed to hasten the globalization of this village we call WORLD. I was supposed to make the black man love the white man even without seeing him and vice versa.

In fact I give the platform to everyone, irrespective of their educational standards, religious affiliations, or racial background and gave a level ground for discussion of issues. That is why you in Ghana can have the chutzpah to mock America for electing someone like Donald Trump as President. That is the same reason why people in United Kingdom will be mad at you in Ghana for not legalizing homosexuality.

Despite the many positives I have offered you, you still have to be very careful when using me. I am just a platform that allows people from all walks of life to meet and have fun. However, I can be very monstrous if you do not handle me with so much care.

First of all let me inform you that, I do not have a detector that helps me to know if the Toyota Camry Kofi posted on his Facebook wall is his neither can I confirm to you if the suit Jacob wore when he posted his picture of him and the Minister for Finance, Orifo Tata, was really his. All I do is to help people project the image they wish to project of themselves. Sometimes, I know they are lying but I cover up for them because I am supposed to.

Today let me tell you the truth. Most of the people who use me are only here to feign. They are not what they portray themselves to be. Some of them tell you that they live in Tema and work in Jerusalem and you still find space in your heart to believe them. Some ladies even write Presbyterian Boys’ High School as the school they attended and you still believe them. There are some few genuine people who are trying to make it in life and I acknowledge them a lot but please do not believe anything you see on me.

Secondly, let me further caution you of a serious canker that I have noticed as a result of the use of social media. A lot of you have created unnecessary rivalry among yourselves over very trivial issues. Just last week, Bintu and Akua fought because the former did not like a picture she posted on the eve of the S Concert. They fought so hard as though they were part of the Sagrenti War. It took their school teacher to stop them.

Karim, the guy who lives behind Azumi’s house has stopped liking Amina’s post on Facebook because he claims she has never liked his. It doesn’t make sense right? But trust me, all this nonsense happens on social media every day. Just be your real self and try to get to know people better because I, social media, will never give you the opportunity to fully ascertain the reason behind the actions of some people. Go beyond social media and get to know the people in real life and you will find happiness.

People have lost their sense of respect ever since they started using me. They insult their elders with no shame and the elders exhibit the highest form of tomfoolery that amuses even the devil. Amidu, a Senior High School dropout who still depends on his mother has the guts to insult Nana Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana, simply because he disagrees with him.

Adwoa called John Mahama a “useless man” but she still cannot pass her science paper even after five attempts. A lot of things happen here. That is why Abdul Hayi Moomen, “a professional gossip”, wrote on his Facebook page, “The undeniable fact remains that Facebook is a leveler. It makes room for the ignorant to insult others at no cost at all”
When Inusah fell in love with Zalia, he came on Facebook to vaunt his love for her. He kept disturbing you all with his love letters to her and posting her pictures almost every split of a second. They both, especially Inusah who seemed to have been carried away by love, hijacked Facebook for months with their love story. Conversely, for the past two months, I have not seen both of them exhibit their usual love gimmick.

Ostensibly, Zalia is getting married to another man and the shock of this news has made Inusah find it difficult to post anything on Facebook. He thought he was in a “comfortable lead” but little did he know that Zalia, they lady he loved and trusted so much, had her own plans. Why am I telling you this? It is simple, a lot of the youth today are quick to announce their next line of action on Facebook and other social media handles so that they can get the likes and shares.

They share every detail of their life on social media and place themselves in a sorry state when the enemy attacks. Some even post the shirt they will wear the next day before they even sleep.

Let me not bore you with my long letter. I am just advising you to be very careful with how you use me. You can have fun on me but always make sure you are building yourself, learning new things and meeting people who will impact you. I will always give you the opportunity to meet great people but I will equally not deny you the opportunity to meet bad people. The choice is yours to make and I hope you make the best choice.

When the day comes for me to close down, ask yourself, “BESIDES SOCIAL MEDIA, WHAT DO I HAVE TO OFFER?”

Our elders say, “Ears that do not listen to advice accompany the head when it is chopped off”. My hands have fallen.

Your faithful servant
Social Media

Written by Abdul-Rahim Naa Ninche. Contact him on his Email naaninche@gmail.com or his number (+233)201962393