Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Effects of social media to Tanzanian society; Rantings of an idle lawyer

Well, this has been a slow week at my office, nothing much has been happening and I have been stuck dealing with some stuffs from last week. While that is definitely bad news for my pockets, considering  I have to pay rent, electricity, fuel and ofcourse tip my volunteer at the end of the month, it is definitely a good week for my writing and my reading. So today I really don't have a particular subject in my head, and then I thought what the hell; let me talk about what everybody is talking about nowadays while doing the same shit everybody else is doing "Abuse of social media"

Social media was and is still fun to some people. When it started and for me it all started with facebook and Hi5 (I wonder if Hi5 still exists) it was a way of reconnecting with old friends and former classmates. Seven years down the road, and that's just for me, its no longer as fun. Mainly because now I am addicted to it, I cant spend three hours without going through my phone, and for me its instagram, for some reason I have never really been a big fan of Twitter, those hundred and something characters seems so few for someone who loves ranting as much as I do.

As I was saying, social media has become an addiction and myday doesnt seem to go well if I do not have an internet bundle. But thats not all that I find disturbing about social media, here are some of the things that really disturb me about social media;

The preassure to fit in; Instagram and its social media cousins have become a tribe of its own, like a society with standards that are acceptable by the members and if you dont follow these chances are that you will either not get any followers or some losers will be insulting you from behind their phones screens. So much preassure is put on youth from as young as 13 to around 45 years to act, dress, talk and even eat like the way the instagram community wants. Considering that kids as young as 13 are allowed to join instagram I am starting to get serious doubts about where our community is going. As a result people become thieves to be able to maintain that social media image that has really nothing to do with their real lives. The generation of fake people with plastic lives has just been born.

Violence and verbal abuse and porn has become part of our daily lives, you can not go through instagram without finding gossip pages dedicated on insulting people and going through people's private business. Whats worse is that people have started relying on these pages as a source of news, regardless of the truth or otherwise of what has been posted therein. As a result so many false stories circulates as if they were true, people get hurt and lose their reputaions from things that are not neccessarily true, and even if they were they werent really hurting anybody, or anybody's business, they were simply private.

 But the word private does not mean anything anymore. Someone would hack your phone expose pictures that someone took in their own privacy and call them "a scandal".  How is me or anyone else taking whatever kinds of picture or shoot any kind of pornographic videos in my own privacy with y partner affect anyone really? Anything i want publicized is out there, obviously anything I didn't post was my private business. As an adult in a free country I should sure hope I have a freedom of doing anything in my privacy as long as I am not hurting anyone and I am not breaking the law. But social media has turned people into monsters, they will go through any length to get something to post. I wonder how long it is going to take before people start becoming depressed and erupt mental illnesses for the amount of pressure they have to deal with to navigate through their daily lives.

Just an example of how social media can be used to spread information that are not true, the story of the four robbers who were arrested in Dar es salaam on 21st April for robbing a foreigner near stanbic bank. Less than two hours later a picture of one of the robbers' engagement with his fiancee displaying her ring started to circulate. I can not imagine the pain that that poor girl is going through right now.. As if that was not enough, another picture started to circulate this morning, of a married couple, the picture was claimed to be of the said engaged robber, only to turn out that it wasn't. The new picture was actually of a lawyer, and not just any lawyer a guy is a state attorney, imagine his wife's shock after dropping her husband at work today and then to receive such a picture in one of the groups on whatsapp claiming that her husband was arrested since yesterday. and some of these pages, gossip pages I talked about, posted the picture as credible news and the comments were heartbreaking. Im simply wondering what would have happened to his wife and family if the guy was on a business trip and his his wife received such a picture and lets just assume he was not reachable at the moment.

I guess my point here is; so much is happening and technology is coming to us Africans and advancing way too fast than we can handle. The cuurent mechanisms are not equipped to handle defamations and libel and wait until they learn to hack government servers using the information people provide on social medias. Social medias have become a platform of embarrassing and defaming and preassurizing people to live a certain way. Who can deny an increase of expensive whores these days?? everybody wants something to go show off on instagram, if not that then drug mules, how many young men and women are being held abroad as a result of being drug mules? all that so that they get rich quick, buy things that they can not really afford or have a use for them and take pictures and post them on instagram

And then there's an entire issue of health concerns. Platform of enterprenuers, and its not really a bad thing, this has helped some people to make a real living out of seeling their products or advertising for other people and get paid. However, some of the most dangerough drugs and eating disorders are being advertised in instagram. Most of hese being unwarranted cosmetics and weight oss programs and ofcourse unlicensed trainers and the like. No one is regulating all this, in 5 years i wonder what kind of population we are going to have. a population full of patients with skin cancer and liver fes and a buch of anorexic teenagers. Europe is already sowing the seeds of that, they will not say it, but the preassure to look good for the photographs has started to turn their once healthy teenagers into Anorexic wrecks.

And then rate of divorces has increased. I am really not sure why, but magistrates and judges may be witnesses of this, but since the year Y2K number of marriages and divorces has increased. People meet on social media, get engaged on social media, get married for the sake of social media and ofcourse get divorced on social media and the divorce continues. Because marriage to most girls nowadays is about the dress and the hair and the shoes and the ceremony on the wedding day and not about the sickness and healthy or anything that originally had to do with marriage. As a result people get married to the wrong people and after a while after putting on a happy from these marriages breaks like a candle in the wind.  And then there is that issue of married men and women flirting and carrying an affair with people they meet on social medias, or people who otherwise they would not have had courage to ask out or talk to in the office, and then when a betrayed spouse finds out what follows is separation then divorce, and in some few unique cases murder.

May be its time to wake up and smell the coffee, and somebody do something. And all of this should start at home, stop that teenager from using a smart phone, and then the government should also play its part.