Social Media, the New Era No One Envisaged

Once, a certain friend told another while we sipped away on the bitter at our favourite hole: “Tetwalyanga nammwe”.

For those not familiar with this local dialect phrase, it simply means: “We never used to eat with you and your ilk in the past”. This was after they had some heated argument on the social leveraging and classes that did and to some still exist on the basis of creed, tribe and even age.

In this particular argument, the one being told came from a part of the country which provided peasant labour to the teller’s ancestors. Hence, the saying that slave and master never shared a plate and as such, he was doing this young man a favour drinking with him at the same counter.

It was an arrogant spate. It smelt of chauvinism. The guy to whom it was told felt really ‘small’. But heck, he had been told of a bitter truth that he should deal with. That, as the French would say, is life. We are not equal and will never be.

There will be no time when all classes will have same amenities and enjoy life’s little luxuries to the same magnitude of indulgence. Bitter fact! But also, one can transcend those societal chains and make it to the big table and dine with kings and queens when they are not any close to royalty.

Education is one such mode of transformation that would enable serf’s son to even marry a princess. Beyond education and money, a new phenomenon seems to have emerged that is putting us into contact with one another to such degree that those who would never fellowship, now do with so much intimacy.

That those whom we so looked up or down upon and were physically so out of reach or mentally so out of challenge, are now so intermingled that we argue, challenge and even for the most part abuse. Social media!

On social media, you will find all sorts of characters, from the sophisticated intellectual vanguard, to the bored idiots for whom the presence of platform is the best thing to ever happen in their lives since they got out of diapers.

Ordinary folk will jump on and challenge their leaders, while peasants will aise aauts on how to ‘projectile’ a spaceship, while varsity students will pep talk mothers about marital bliss. It’s a spaghetti connection of interactions, some so queer like that Lioness and young Impala of the Maasai Mara of yester years.

On Facebook or Twitter, is where you will find a chap so broke to be sure of his next meal, providing counsel on how to utilize billions. Or a fellow who has not even a car tyre, castigating a Mercedes owner on car maintenance.

I hasten to add, even eunuchs now use Facebook to ostracize folks unable to have two wenches or more in their lives – how queer indeed. So, social media has broken social barriers and even the political.

You find a guy who wouldn’t even be trusted with running a family unit of himself and just two others giving aice to say the embattled Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi on how to play political ball with the sophisticated President Museveni. How queer!

Now, one day I chose to go out of my way to put a face to some of these bullish characters who spend their days lampooning and bullying others on social media-Geezer, you too would have been shocked at my findings. You don’t want to meet the quintessential cyber bully, you will be disappointed in what you see or meet. Does that explain why some of them hide behind weird names and even more weird profile pictures?

I am still trying to understand one of them whom I presume is a grown geezer but using the Time magazine cover depicting Michelle Obama as his profile picture! After this social media kamanyiro, I opine that those words above tetwalyanga nammwe sound all so true and relevant – but as they say, what can we do to an idea whose time has come? Social media is here, we can’t have it out that’s some bitter truth.

Source : The Observer

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