Social Media And The Voiceless Ones

By Theresa Egbele. Theresa, 18, is a student at the National Open University of Nigeria. She lives in Osun, Nigeria. Please read her article and leave your thoughts and comments below.

In the advent of technology, social media has been the fastest growing method of communication since 2006. Communication and lifestyle applications like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter are common examples of such sites.

Social media has made life so easy that a normal letter that would naturally take months to be received, can now be replied to in minutes through Email.

We can talk to friends, family and distant relatives in other continents all because of social media. We do not need to go from house to house to complete school projects and group works; assignments are now easy to research and develop. Our newspapers, magazines and articles have all been digitalized to meet market demands through online media. Social media has made life and information dissemination so easy, that all one has to do is tap on a screen, and their thoughts are delivered to thousands of people in seconds, irrespective of distance – with no effort!

It has been remarked that people who use social media the most are those who have the most problems with socializing with their peers. Social media is a place where anybody can put on a new face and speak on behalf of themselves, or even on behalf of others. Social media has been the saving grace of the helpless and oppressed, those whose mouths have been nailed shut by threats. It is also a huge helper for crime investigation! People who are reluctant to help the authorities for fear of being harassed, can now contact the police through communication media.

Unfortunately, it has turned the tables on them also. Social media sites like Twitter, have now become an arena for criticizing every remark, post and random thoughts from users.

“Trolls”, or social media bullies, take extreme – sometimes perverse – delight in beating down and crushing the morale of others, making derogatory remarks on the most simple and innocent things. It is also puzzling to note that these “Trolls” are those that do not contribute to society as individuals. Also, social media is a form of communication open to all – including the mentally unstable. It is on these sites that they find freedom to molest and harass innocent people living their virtual life.

Humans, deep inside, are developed as creatures of herd mentality. We swoop in like flocks of vultures, defending what we see others fighting for, and denouncing actions we know very little about, simply to belong.

This sad use of social media has escalated to the point that some countries have banned the precious use of some media applications, hereby destroying the purpose of such mediums of information.

However, the future of social media is not as grim as it might seem! Media applications like Facebook have taken on the mantle of responsibility to ensure that all users feel safe to express their minds without being silenced. Closed eyes are peeled towards the effort of banning cyber bullying and undue harassment on social media, making the virtual society safe and friendly to all, giving back a voice to those who have been silenced.

 

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