21 April 2017

Africa: How Much Time Do You Waste On Social Media?

Photo: The New Times
Social Media.

In the wake of keeping updated about ongoing events, I am motivated to pen something along the realm of behavior as a subset of grooming and manliness.

I am talking about cyber behavior - how we conduct ourselves behind the virtual world created by technology on platforms famed as 'social media'.

I recall a joke on social media some months back. It was a picture of an apartment with six balconies. On each was a lady, and all seemed to be in some form of animated conversation. The caption? WhatsApp group in the 1980s!

For most of you reading this, the assumption is you are up to some job or are a student with academic demands like revision and research. But let's be frank: how much of your otherwise productive daytime do you use (some will brutally say, waste) on social media? I mean Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and some will stretch it to apps like Pinterest.

Yes, it's the information age. But heck, aren't we on the edge of unproductivity because we have become such addicts of the information whirl pool that social media provides for the price of a song?

There you are, busy putting together a pitch for a prospective new client or even putting some thought to an article, and the notification pops on your computer. What are the chances you will rise above the temptation to check?

What were previously idle thoughts or mundane actions, such as having a bite off a cake or listening to some wacky tunes, are now subject for mass sharing. This draws attention to ourselves and brings in fast the much-desired sense of self-worth.

If you are the kind that loves attention, social media is certainly God-sent. For a moment, you can feel the sensation as many likes or comments on your idle post make it appear so intelligent that you start to walk with a bounce higher than Isaac Newton did after figuring out gravity!

But there is a price to pay. Productivity goes down except for folks whose work is about posting, commenting and liking. That's how they make their money, and mark on society.

Most of us are simply cheering masses with our own hassles to deal with, but see how we get addicted and waste away on social media!

It's not farfetched to see even senior executives attending to a WhatsApp chat in the middle of a cut-throat meeting. You have perhaps witnessed that awkward moment when a colleague bursts into laughter from a joke off their phone screen at a time they would have frowned from an error flashing on the overhead screen from their presentation!

We can argue it's a necessary evil having your newsfeed buzzing away, pokes getting the better of your time and notifications deafening your day. After all, this is an era where the fear of missing out is more real than a mere hashtag and acronym FOMO.

Lately, we assume one's level of intelligence is measured by the posts we react to, and how many likes and comments we get in support of our view.

Retweets are for the most part endorsements and an acknowledgement of our intellectual nuance. In fact, you are considered less intellectual if you are mute on social media.

Before long, the reality of unmet targets and unfavorable results off regular appraisals at our workplaces only awakens us too late.


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