While walking along the streets of Lagos, I see many clutch to their communication gadgets passionately. Some laughing, while others putting up a serious face but what they all have in common are networking. The social media affords them the opportunity. The craze for networking is alarming while its impact on nation building is laudable. When that beautiful daughter of a Retired Major embarked on a journey, Cynthia Osokogu, she did not know that would be her last. She was a 24-year-old postgraduate student of Nasarawa State University, Keffi. Her undoing was accepting to believe the tricksters on facebook leading to her death. What a tragedy! Social media today is undoubtedly a useful tool for anyone to employ. The world is a global village and those that live in it can attest. The gradual though steady progress of communication has reached an unremarkable height. We all live in an environment that is information sensitive rapid enough to trigger reactions. Change is the only constant thing, isn’t it? Yes, it is. I could seat in the comfort of my room and get latest information around the world. This is technology! My opinion concerning an issue could be aired for anyone to read. Wikipedia defines social media as ‘web- and mobile-based technologies that support interactive dialogue and introduce substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities, and individuals’. In essence, users generate and share all types of content within their established networks. It gives the opportunity for users to create, share and edit content. Many Nigerians are turning to social networking websites on a daily basis. Pertinent issues are debated and opinions formed. Facebook , a social networking site has a total of 1 billion users presently. 1 out 7 people in the world is on facebook. Nigeria is not an exception.
The community of Nigerians on social networks is relatively impactful. The numerous eels of the nation are discussed; recent happenings are displayed for everyone to comment. The recent happenings in Nigeria are not shy of adorning numerous websites, weblogs and social networks (face book, twitter). Nigerians Currently, there are 6,558,520 Facebook users in the Nigeria. From Facebook to BBM, via Twitter through 2go to Skype and all other social media platforms, Nigerians are engaging each other, networking and building strong lasting relationships
The social media community is currently trending with the brutal killings of 4 promising students. The social networks are abashed with links suggesting the reasons for the nefarious acts by residents of Aluu, Rivers State. The users of these social networks are totally against the dastardly act. Their agitation is drawing up public opinion amongst Nigerians. The case of these students: Biringa Chiadika Lordson, a second-year theatre arts student, with Matriculation Number U2010/1805036, Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, also a year two geology student with Matriculation Number U2010/5565149 and Mike Lloyd Toku, year two civil engineering student, with Matriculation Number U2010/3010094 of UNIPORT wouldn’t have drawn comments without the social media. Video clips of the killings are made available for everyone to view.
OMOJUWA v. ARIK AIR The just concluded battle of Japheth Omojuwa and Arik Air over the disappearance of Japheth‘s I-pad while on board a flight highlighted the power of social media. As an active member of the social media, Japheth was able to drum support on twitter for the release of his I-pad.
OCCUPY NIGERIA: Subsidy was removed and Nigerians reacted spontaneously with #occupyNigeria on twitter to express their displeasure on the way the Nigerian government acted. Many were encouraged to come out and resist the change through the social media.
UNILAG NAME CHANGE: The infamous speech of President Good luck Jonathan on May 29, 2012 concerning the name change of UNILAG received a vehement refusal from users of social media. The campaign carried out on the social media systematically threw the name change proposal into the refuse bin.
Everyone is now a journalist. No holds barred. Information of various kinds is uploaded on these websites. I
begin to wonder where our traditional media would be in the next 10 years. Our social media is abashed with increasingly abusive, restless, frustrated, inarticulate, aggressive users who have lost hope in their country. A medium expected to serve as a common ground for all to mingle, rub minds and forge ahead has turned to a ground for scoring political points. We have now embarked on a quest to swindle our brothers and sisters through the social media. We have no regard for those in authority. We rain abuses on them non stop. Rumor peddling is the order of the day. We post news items that are false. As our nation lumbers from one scandal to another, social media has significantly played a role in propagating information rapidly to the public.
The Senate President, David Mark lends his voice to the negative trend on social media “there must be a measure to check the negative tendencies of the social media in our country.”Everyone should aid in curtailing the numerous negative acts perpetrated on social media.