The advent of social media has brought significant changes to Nigerian culture. Social media has both positive and negative sides. Over the last week, there have been lots going on in the social media space in Nigeria.
Advantages of social media
Social media has increased the connections between people and created an environment in which you can share lots of stuff. Social media has improved creativity and social awareness for our society by interacting with other people and sharing new ideas and opinions. It is also important for any business because, at some point, you need to use social media in your business. Furthermore, social media developed international business and marketing. People prefer to buy stuff online. Social media created an opportunity to widen your world and make new friends from other Countries. It is easier to learn about breaking news on social media because it has unlimited access and flexibility.
On the other hand, social media has influenced our culture in negative ways. People can share whatever they want to on social media and some of them are things children should not be exposed to.
Trending on social media
Recently, social media was a hot zone. The popular Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka was in the news because a young man dared to ask him to leave his seat. The Prof was reported to have sat on the wrong seat before the young man referred to as “Bobo Fine” requested that he vacates his seat. This sparked a lot of reaction on all social media platforms. While some found it culturally unacceptable for the young man to ask the elderly man to vacate his seat, some did not find anything wrong with the action. They believe that it’s the young man’s right since he paid for the seat.
The Nigerian culture is one which places so much value on the respect for elders. We believe that elders are always right and younger ones are in no place to question their judgement. This sometimes means silencing the young ones indirectly and allowing elders to take undue advantage of them. However, now that the young ones have platforms to speak, they have come all out to condemn this belief.
The richness of the Nigerian culture
Personally, I like our Nigerian culture of respecting old age. In Yoruba culture, for example, the unquestionable respect for elders is a fundamental feature. Every child when born learns and grows up with it. We consider it a mark of disrespect to referring to elders by their names. Contrary to some beliefs, respect for the elderly is neither slavery nor worshipping the aged. Our societal structure means to preserve respect and care for the old. Respect for the elderly is a good Nigerian culture that we must strive to preserve. We should teach our children to respect elders to preserve our culture. Eventually, the young get old and reap whatever they have sown.
The power of social media
Recently, Busola Dakolo, wife of the popular singer, Timi Dakolo granted an interview where she narrated how she was raped by the lead Pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo when she was just 16 years. At the release of the interview on the social media platform, there was an unprecedented revolution. Many youths who had lost their voices as victims of rape were able to come up to tell their stories. A formidable coalition has been formed which led to massive protests to the Lagos and Abuja parish of the church.
The African culture of relegating women or the younger generation to the background is becoming obsolete. Women are rising; the younger generations are finding their voice to speak out and resist all forms of oppression. There is a positive blend of African culture and Social media. The social media often times has aided the eradication of native traits of the African Culture.
Social media affects communication
Social media challenges our communication pattern. Mobile devices affect the quality of face-to-face social interactions. We connect on a deeper, more meaningful level when we converse with others personally, yet studies show an increased dependency on social media. Why?
Social media seems to be a convenient way of communicating, but it lessens the quality of the connection.
Before social media, the ways in which we connected and how many people we reached were limited. We depended on phone calls and face-to-face interactions to strengthen relationships. On the contrary, people now say whatever comes to mind without thinking about how the receiver will interpret their tone and intent. We miss the fact that there is a human on the other side of the screen. Ultimately, it has created more misunderstanding and miscommunication, which threatens our relationships.
Social media affects self-esteem
Social media has influenced youth in negative ways. It reduces physical activities. People prefer to sit all day in front of computers and chat. Kids might be affected and manipulated by some sites in which there is inappropriate information. The ugly part of social media is that there are tons of unnecessary information shared by people and also bullying and harassment on social media has been increased. People can make brutal and negative comments about anything and anyone.
Social media has good, bad and ugly impacts on our culture.
Consider how often you check your phone and social media updates. Our “fear of missing out” has created bad habits that have rewired how we interact with each other.
Some studies suggest the rise of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is directly associated with overuse of social media, as our brain easily loses focus due to ongoing demands for our attention. One study found that heavy users of digital media are twice as likely to develop ADHD than their peers. They attribute such lack of focus to a continuous, daylong stream of information. This forces us to process more quickly and to crave more digital input. The more we get, the more we require to feel satisfied.
How To Take Action
There is no denying that social media has been helpful in connecting us with others. However, We also can’t deny its unfortunate impact on our social skills, making us lazy communicators and disrupting our need for meaningful conversation. Below are some actions to take:
- Use your calendar to schedule short periods each day to check social media updates. Refrain from checking in outside of your scheduled times. This will ensure you remain accountable for time spent online and encourage traditional communication method.
- During a meeting or presentation, leave your phone at your desk. Do this as well when you visit a co-worker’s desk or head to the break room. This will make it easy to engage without disruption.
- Choose one day a week to be technology free. Consider turning off all technology – computers, phones and tablets – one day a week. Make this a rule for the whole family. Challenge yourselves to engage with each other in more personal ways.
- Pick up the phone for its intended use. Call a friend instead of messaging. Video call a client instead of emailing. Walk over to a co-worker instead of instant messaging. Either way, choose to use your technology for a more intentional connection.