It's no secret that Social Media bears enough soft power to make or break a company. It's even common knowledge that social media is detrimental to one's mental health. Yet, there seems to be no end in the fight against people's screen times. Always the story-teller, one of our favourite- and underrated- artists, Worlasi, released his recent single 'Skreentime', and it just hit a little too close to home for us not to make a post on the topic.
So many people have tried to look at the dangers of social media and created campaigns on healthy social media use. But what is Social Media anyway? To explore this question, we did what the real journalists usually do and tried to ask people for their opinions about social media. Here are some responses;
Person A (Sales Advisor, Early 20’s): ‘A way of reconnecting with the world. A way to keep track of what’s happening in the world, like celebrity gossip, current memes, it is what it is’.
Person B (Travel Health Nurse, 50+): ‘It depends on what it’s being used for. [I think there are] accessibility issues like [some older people] they may not understand how to use it unless it follows a text format, like Whatsapp. I’m aware of social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and newer ones. I THINK that LinkedIn is also a social media platform. In essence, I don’t have any strong feelings to it, it’s just a tool.’
Person C (Marketing Executive/CEO, late 20’s): ‘It’s a medium of communication, a tool that another layer of our reality has been built upon. Alternatively, [it’s] a crazy world, a tool used to educate and deceive.’
The responses were quite clear to us at Afrokanist headquarters. Social media is 'an apparatus' for people to achieve their goals; but never in history has such an everyday tool so dictated our existence. In our search for ease and comfort, we have somehow become over-reliant on the very tool we were meant to use.
Almost like it uses us.
Worlasi in 'Skreentime', provides grim commentary on people's existential dependence on fake love from social media to a chill-beat rhythm; almost as if reflecting our social normalcy with the dangers of social media. We now have too many social media platforms, and a life without one of these could somehow spell doom in your business, networking and even education environment. Furthermore, it's shocking how easily social media can almost create a personality disorder in a person. How many times have you double-guessed someone reaching out via Facebook or GoFundMe for help? Now would you be the same if they were in your physical presence?
Sadly, continual introductions to certain trending issues de-sensitise us to future re-occurrence. There is suddenly this superpower of ignorance and pseudo-discernment that arises. The overexposure to injustices and pleas for aid and assistance, packaged in a tiny hand-held device, is a strange cocktail of 'personal' and 'alienation'. The anxiety when you decline to give, no longer follows you the whole day. No one will even know you watched that video.
To be honest, classifying SM can be a little more challenging nowadays; Reddit and other forums are sometimes overlooked as SM platforms. Readers of Afrokanist can give their opinion about this article for instance, right now, in the comments section. Gone are the days when readers needed to find the writers’ details in the editorial board, write a letter or email, and await a response. YouTube is a strange format for a SM platform, generally a video streaming website, yet able to incorporate seamlessly, communication with the artists/institution to whom the platform belongs.
The functioning of social media covers so many industries and functionalities that it is, in essence, a new world. This is an unprecedented piece of technology that allows people to live two worlds and which controls every part of humanity. It is one tool not very easily understood (I bet a screwdriver would be quite jealous).
So riding on the coattails of Worlasi, we'd like to ask you 'what sef you dey chase'?
Let us know your thoughts on SM. What do you consider SM to be? And do you enjoy or loathe it?