Silent Screams

By Ifeoluwa Afolami. Ifeoluwa, 17, lives in Ilesha, Nigeria. She is a student at the Heritage Polytechnic, and studies Science Laboratory Technology (SLJ). Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

Social media is great, with its various uses ranging from sending and receiving informations to interacting with various individuals both known and unknown. Besides those, it has enabled people to take on new or fake identities.

But it has another use, one you might have considered less important. Perhaps you may have read or heard about Jon Ronson’s quote that says “the great thing about social media was how it gave a voice to voiceless people.”

What came to your mind when you heard that? Did you think he referred to people who are unable to speak or who lack the ability to?

A voice could be literal. Yes. But it could also mean command, having a power to control, being able to direct with authority. So in the context of Jon Ronson’s quote he must have referred to voiceless people as people who do not have the power to control certain things, as people who cannot give commands or directives; people without a measure of authority.

Now how has social media given voice to the voiceless people?

It is worthy of note, though, that not every human has the same measure of authority, not every human has the ability to give commands and orders that will be taken immediately.

Consider this:

  • Joe is an influential man, a multimillionaire, highly recognized, commands, gives directives with a great measure of authority, so we’ll call him voiced.
  • Rick, in comparison, works very hard in order to survive, and is known well only by his wife and daughter, so you’ll agree that he should be called voiceless.

One day, Rick’s daughter comes opening up to her dad, that Joe had sexually abused her in the past and that she cannot keep it to herself anymore. Rick is devastated. But in the country I live in, a musician recently sang the true words “you don’t have money and you are calling the police? I am laughing at you.” Rick has that in mind when he decides to use the cheap and convenient way of filing for a law suit – social media.

He makes a post about it, attaches all the evidences he’s got, and in only few minutes, Joe comes begging.

Millions of people around the world are thankful for how easy it now is to drag a well known individual or company to the public, complain about something that went wrong and get replies instantly for the sake of reputation. Ronson’s quote is so appropriate because the social media covers the entire world, people have got little devices in their hands that are connected to the internet – devices through which they can get in touch with people that are hundreds of miles away.

An unconfirmed statistic even has it that people spend more time with their devices and social media than they spend to sleep. But that statistic is not even disturbing. It is very much true of me, and maybe of you.

I can confidently say that there is no voice as loud as that which is heard via social media. Everyone can now scream in silence, everyone now has a voice, and even a microphone (I mean, a micro phone).

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