Over the years, means of communication have gone through many changes and we still see many changes day in and day out. From the stone age, smoke, drums and messengers (people whose role was to carry messages from one place to the other) were used to carry information. Later, letter writing became the order of the day and we all thought that was the best means of communication till they brought something they called a telephone. I remember how I use to walk importantly to the post office to post letters to my friends who were in other parts of the country. You can imagine how my head will swell anytime we have our morning assembly in school and my name is mentioned to receive a letter. And whenever we have lessons on English composition in class, I will pay so much attention because I want to write letters that will impress my friends.
Before the invention of the telephone was telegram, which was fster than the letter, but the telephone made communication quite easy, fast and convenient for those who could afford it. There were times one had to walk several kilometers away from their homes to receive calls from their loved ones. Today, we can boast of the mobile phone which has made communication even easier, faster and more convenient. The first mobile phone that was invented several years ago and the mobile phones we use today have a lot of difference with the current mobile phones having an upper hand over the very first ones.
The fact cannot be disputed that mobile phones have become the most important means
of every communication today, it is also the most carried about gadgets among people throughout the world. It is still a puzzle to me how one can just pick a phone, dial a contact and at once, can speak to someone who is millions and millions of miles away in another part of the world. I have read so many times about how this works and some people have explained it to me time and again, but this invention is really a marvel and a mystery to me (what witchcraft).
The benefits of using mobile technology are not far-fetched and some of these benefits include; makes communication faster, saves time and energy (one doesn’t have to travel long distance to deliver a message). Things have become even easier with the introduction of
social media platforms applications such as whatsapp, Facebook, twitter, snapchat, instagram, Gmail, YouTube, viber, telegram, imo and many more, thanks to the smartphones. Almost everyone I come across these days is using a smartphone. Of course important information about our health, economy, social and other aspects of life are shared using these mediums. I do not have a problem with using social media (I use them myself too), but the way we sometimes use them is what worries me.
In case there is an accident, death, a fire outbreak or something tragic, we immediately start circulating the information through social media. We are more interested to be the first to report bad news! How tragic! Now wait a minute, what if the victim is your relative and after a busy day, you could not check your phone. Then immediately you login to the social media site,
you are met gory images of a beloved one involved in a fatal accident. And unfortunately, you are all alone by yourself. How will you feel? If care is not taken, some people may commit suicide if they find themselves in this kind of situation. Who is the cause of this? You and I who could not be courteous with our use of social media. Then there is also this issue of a leaked sex tape or pictures, do we put ourselves in the shoes of the victims? It is true that the victims may be wrong to record such videos and photos but I do not think it makes things any better when we circulate them. Two wrongs they say, can never make a right. If you ever opened one of these videos or photos to realise that is your sister or brother or mother or father or someone you relate with closely, would you continue circulating them? Or you are the proud owner of a beautiful apartment in the city center, the building burns to ashes in afire outbreak in your absence, is social media the best place to be welcomed with such information? What you don’t want to be done to you, do not do to someone else.
Among my people, the Dagaaba, when a close family member passes on, ashes are
thrown in front of those who were so close to the deceased to announce to them that the family has lost a member. Sometimes too, drums are used to announce that someone has passed away. Death cannot be announced by ANYONE at all, your relationship with the deceased will determine who is supposed to break the news of the death to you. Even with the current era of mobile phones, They still have a way of ensuring that the shock of losing someone is minimised. This is done by making sure that there are some people close to console the person before the news is broken to them. For some people, how the news is broken to them does not matter, they will still find it difficult to absorb the shock of this sad news. However, with time, a lot of people are able get over the shock and life continues again.
Breaking sad news about death, accidents, fire outbreaks and others abruptly on social media does not worry me as much as the videos and photos of innocent little children which we post without thinking about the feeling of these young children. We all did crazy things when we were young, and many of us will be very embarrassed when our childhood memories are played back to us today. So why do we make so much noise when children make certain mistakes? Mistakes are meant to be made anyway. For instance, some school children are not able to recite some prayers or anthem or pledge, some are not able to understand some concepts and videos of these are seen circulating all over social media, what if that were your son or daughter, your close family member or you yourself. It is pathetic to mention that we even find photos and videos of small boys and girls who are encouraged by adults to engage in a sexual activity, these same adults take photos and videos of them which they share on social media. That young boy or girl will become ambitious some day and your supposedly harmless action will ruin his or her future.
Next time you are about to share any such information on social media, ask yourself
these three questions;
1. Will sharing this information help the receiver in any way?
2. If the information were about me, will I still want it shared and seen by others?
3. Will it make any difference if you do not share that information?
I think if your response to these questions are negative, then advise yourself and save someone the embarrassment. We all have a responsibility towards our neighbours, you never know whose life you will be saving by deleting that information, or refusing to share that information. Little things like this makes the world a better place to live in. You don’t have to start something big to make that impact you dream about! The change we seek starts with you and you and you and of course me! Don’t wait to start tomorrow, lets start today and we will make it there. If we do this, the SOCIAL MEDIA (SM) wahala will reduce if not. CHEERS!!!