There are indeed many sides to new media. It will not by itself change Nigeria but it will at least reveal us to ourselves.
Nigerians have been directly running their country’s affairs for over 52 years now. The cumulative result of these 52 years is that today Nigeria is one of the most insecure place to live in the world, houses some 112 million poor people and is currently being run by a set of brigands hell-bent on showing the world that we are indeed a lawless country. There are a lot of good things about Nigeria too but they pale when you put them beside our potentials as a country and where we are today. I continue to see Facebook posts and tweets on how these platforms will not change Nigeria. It often goes like “stop wasting your time, tweeting will not change Nigeria.” I find it really funny that people expect media tools to save a country that has defied human salvation for the better part of half a century.
When a generation is ready to answer the call for its purpose, it engages all the necessary tools to make that change happen. Tools do not define a generation; a generation defines its tools. Whether Nigeria will move forward or not does not depend on anything but Nigerians. Social Media tools, whether old ones like television or radio or new ones like Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc are only channels for the expression of individual feelings and perceptions not just of the Nigerian experience but our worldview in its entirety. Even if a geek developed an application solely for the purpose of changing Nigeria, you’d still need Nigerians to put it to purposeful use to bring that change to pass.
Anyone who is on new media expecting that by his or her presence on these platforms Nigeria will change is on the wrong pills. What individuals do with the tools in their hands depend on their ability to understand the purpose for which the tool was created. Twitter, Facebook et al were created essentially for “social.” They were created for human relationships and interactions. These relationships and interactions are the catalyst for other possible values that could be derived from them. It means that if I am able to interact and relate with say five thousand people on new media, I have the potential of using these relationships for different ends. If I am an upcoming artiste, these five thousand folks automatically join my offline friends and families as the first set of people to sample my work. New Media in this sense will help amplify my work as an artiste.
There are indeed many sides to new media. It will not by itself change Nigeria but it will at least reveal us to ourselves. It will help reveal lying politicians who take one stand today and switch their stand just by virtue of whether they are speaking from their private office or whether they now carry bags of ministers as glorified messengers. The old Dr. Reuben Abati sums it up “Nigerians can hold a position today and shift to the other side tomorrow and still argue with great passion.” This would be fine if the change of position was about moral convictions but like we have come to know in recent times these are convictions backed by ambition and money. At least Dr. Abati switched for a relatively respectable position; many have switched their moral compasses for run down government jobs. How can a nation move forward if people see the colours of the rainbow one way when they are out of government and see it another way as soon as the smallest lump of the national cake is thrown at them?
We can rant and moan, pontificate and rationalize but as long as each generation is satisfied with feeding off the crumbs of the table of those milking this nation dry, we will not move forward. Forget new media, the major challenge with this generation is that we get carried away by our own mediocrity.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.