Wole Fadahunsi, a friend of mine also a very cerebral fellow, introduced me to FACEBOOK. He’d sent me mail via “YAHOO” telling me that Facebook was the in-thing in 2007. Since then my life changed!
I don’t know if you could say your encounter with Facebook changed you, but I know it changed mine and so far mostly positively, though as I write this I’m still trying to recall that particular incident where and when Facebook dealt me a negative blow. I guess it’ll be immodest of me and free ad for Facebook to make the sort of claims I’m making knowing full well that the lives of many others have become shattered by the same means, some even losing their lives.
The cases of abduction of people by friends who they met on social media networks abound everywhere for all to see. Each clime with stories attempting to overreach the other in scale of goriness. We have also been inundated by suicides and homicides committed by people especially young persons who had suffered some form of humiliation and bullying on the space by so called friends, some known personally to them, others not. Facebook is also a nidus for killers, marauders, stalkers, scammers, sex addicts, nudists and most especially exhibitionists.
It is an alternate universe without boundaries which turned the village the world became via telecommunications to a mere street, where things are not always what they seem. All of these negatives (and much more) should discourage not a few people from signing in to be part of this phenomenon but actually the reverse is the case (though I’ve met a number of people who wouldn’t give a damn about Facebook even if their lives depended on it, and these aren’t old people, while some have an account they rarely operate, or simply deactivated, since I’m not sure one can really close ones Facebook account).
I’ve made great friends on Facebook, even shared intimate conversations with friends I’ve never met, when I could never fathom doing same with very close acquaintances and friends I see on a daily basis. I’ve connected with very powerful people via this medium, and gained immensely from the interactions with people I commune with on Facebook. I have explored vistas and “visited” many places through the eyes and experiences of Facebook peeps as well as widened my scope by picking on the brains of my friends and their friends on Facebook. I have heard tales (though not personally witnessed one) of people who met on Facebook, fell in love and even got married, others I know were able to negotiate and procure sexual relationships via same means, while many platonic relationships blossomed even with friends that were reconnected on Facebook after many years of been incommunicado.
In the early days I would send “friend requests” to many of my classmates that showed up on the radar. Not many of them accepted my request while some others like me couldn’t wait to add me. Then this was extended even to people I didn’t know, many of whom rebuffed my requests, or simply ignored them. It occurred to me much later that the popularity I couldn’t buy in real life couldn’t also be procured just like that on social media, but Facebook provided me an opportunity that real life didn’t- the opportunity to air my views (which usually appear unpopular on the face value, but on further introspection worthy of discussion, or atleast a second look). All of a sudden the desire to want to be friends with the whole world diminished, to the point where I began considering “unfriending” peeps I’d enthusiastically added in the past, even blocking some (I got many of that as well from many former friends such that though I may find that one person had commented on a friend’s post yet when I check I’d find no comments, meaning that the one who made the comment may have blocked me), and until recently when I reconsidered my stance, unblocked all those I’d afore-blocked, and learnt to accommodate people with views I find not so palatable rather than rush to unfriend them. I however am more circumspect in adding friends with friends of friends standing a better chance, than those who aren’t, or just opened a new Facebook account with just one or two friends, few or no pictures, and almost nothing in form of updates, or comments on their timelines. I also try not to add people with extreme religious views, though I could accommodate those with political views that may be considered radical.
I used to be very argumentative, always wanting to have the last input, but I’ve long given that up, leaving friends who aren’t inclined to accepting my point of view to their own views without going into online battles as used to be the case with me.
I have found that Facebook, despite all they might say or do to protect one’s privacy, in actual fact seem to be doing the opposite, so right from the onset, except for the very early days things very private for me, I didn’t put up, and definitely after WIKILEAK’s and Edward Snowden’s exposé on the eavesdropping activities of America’s National Security Agency’s (NSA) my resolve to maintain status quo was further strengthened, as I believe that security features put in place by social media networks will fall flat in the face of the technology employed and/or deployed by government spy agencies the world over, especially that of powerful nations. You may think me paranoid but I don’t even trust that those things we “DELETE” are truly deleted!
Though my voyage into social media started with Facebook, it has expanded to include TWITTER (thanks to Tope Onibudo). I can’t remember how I got on INSTAGRAM, but I was invited by a friend to LINKEDIN, which at some point began to share some of my Facebook time. GOOGLE+ is one I am yet to wrap my head around as fully as I do the aforementioned though I have established my presence there to a certain extent, howbeit unsatisfactorily. YOUTUBE is the next frontier for me, though I’m not sure I’m ready to career that path in terms of making my input, owing to the fact that the society I stay in isn’t as free as I would love for it to be, considering that the possibility of putting a face and a voice to the critic is high there.
I used to articulate my thoughts only on the NOTES section of the Facebook page before George Alakhume thought I should get me a website. I haven’t done that yet, but it did spur me to start blogging. I attempted to copy Kayode Odusanya who blogs on Hip-Hop related matters but BLOGSPOT was difficult for me to navigate. Maybe I should’ve persisted to make it work after the initial trials, but it was via Dr. Malik Haruna’s blog on WORDPRESS (the features of which I found, and still find very easy to use) that I was able to set up mine, and since then I haven’t looked back in blogging. I didn’t abandon Facebook’s “Notes”, I just simulcasted my blog posts there, as well as launching a Facebook “Group” to accommodate my blog.
I have also ventured into the spaces of REDDIT, DIGG, TUMBLR, FLIKR, STUMBLEUPON, POCKET, and this other one my memory fails me to recollect, so it’s no joke when I say I’m a social network enthusiast, but all of that started with that simple Facebook account I opened SEVEN years ago. A jubilee indeed.
If I didn’t have Facebook to play with today, my insomnia would probably have assumed a pathologic dimension for lack of things to occupy myself with, while my idle mind would’ve been up for grabs by the most hardworking Diablo around. I may have also become frustrated at my inability to get a book published, which though is still the situation now, but tempered by the fact that I have a blog where I can spill my thoughts routinely as much as I like without that much desire to rush into getting published, while now slowly and steadily building what I hope should become a masterpiece when I’m done and of course probably negotiating from a position of strength when the time comes.
My day is made when I engage Victor Okafor, Tony Uba, Ogidi Musso James aka Earthquake aka OMJ in conversations on Facebook where in a moment we are making fun of one another, the next throwing tantrums, then later we are serious, discussing topical and sometimes controversial issues that affect us directly or indirectly or not. Our conversations are routinely spiced by cerebral ideas from wonderful female peeps like Alice Irabor, Nnenna Anaka (a young teacher who truly knows her onions) and Sylph (“Maverick” whose trigger is anything related to the woman, feminism and who appears to have lost faith in religion). Morolayo Ogunwemimo treats Facebook like it is a place one visits briefly then embarks on a longterm trip before returning to base, without particular prompts, while Heemin Lee forgets sometimes that I’m not Korean when she tags me to updates she made in Korean, guess she forgot that it was “Google Translate” that facilitated a conversation I once had with her in Korean. Exuberance on our side is moderated by Alaba Oluwasanmilesanre Olasunkanmi and George. There’s never a dull moment with Bolarinwa Seguente Bugatti Oluwasegun as he appears to be doling out quarts of jokes right out of nowhere, even out of circumstances you ordinarily wouldn’t and shouldn’t see laughter in or from. Ronke Olasumbo is our relationship expert, though she’s also into spiritual upliftment, motivation and all, while Gwendolyn Squires is my Oracle like the ancient Greeks had at Delphi. I may not like the SELFIE craze but peeps on Facebook, especially females who make it their only intellectual contribution can be rest assured that they’ll not get a bashing from me (lol).
Interestingly, of all these great minds I meet on Facebook daily only a very few have met me physically, though we share conversations like we’d met and had known one another for like ever. I don’t know what life would’ve been without Facebook, and I do not know if something better will follow Facebook, for now it’s fun all the way.