by Saatah Nubari
I came across an article some weeks back, I can’t remember who authored the said article now, but I know it was about cyber bullying using Twitter Nigeria sort of like a case study. Saying the article was apt would be an understatement. The writer flawlessly mirrored our negative use of social media and the corresponding side effects.
Today, I came across a retweet from someone I follow and a corresponding tweet. The retweet was one where a young lady, in trying to get into a conversation with another young lady, made some English Language errors. On a normal day I’d laugh while reading it and move on, but I couldn’t, because that article I had read about cyber bullying taught me some lessons. Back to the retweet I was talking about, the lady she was trying to get in a conversation with replied by correcting her use of English in the most embarrassing manner I’ve yet seen on Twitter. I took the time to go through the timeline and profile of the lady whose tweet was corrected in a demeaning manner, and I found out that the conversation didn’t continue—not just that, from the number of tweets and followers she had, she seemed to me as someone who was new to Twitter.
I’ve learnt to see Twitter as not “Just Twitter”; there are real people behind those handles, real lives, real emotions and real feelings behind those keyboards, keypads and tweets.
This might seem like a no issue to most people, most especially the people who retweeted and laughed at the tweet, but I see it as cyber bullying—making someone else feel inferior. I won’t say there are times when tweets like that can’t be excused, because there are actually times/instances where they can and should be excused; but in this case I’m referring to, no excuse is worth it. I’ve observed and partaken in Twitter conversations where issues get heated and caution is thrown to the wind as all sides engage in a free for all—then it is no longer just an issue based conversation, it has migrated to an “I’m going to make my point by showing you how daft you are” conversation. In this case, correcting someone’s use of English is fair—it is now like “war” your aim is simply to win—this to me is the only instance where embarrassing/laughing at someone is “fair”.
I made my Day 3 of my #APostADay challenge about this because I know I would’ve felt bad if someone had done same thing to me—as a matter of fact, people have tried doing similar things to me on Twitter, but I succeeded in wading through, not everybody can wade through things like these though. I’ve learnt to see Twitter as not “Just Twitter”; there are real people behind those handles, real lives, real emotions and real feelings behind those keyboards, keypads and tweets.
When next you feel like tweeting, first of all ask yourself not if you “can” say what you’re about to tweet if you were in same room with that person, but if you “will” allow yourself say it if you were in same room with that person. Remember it is NOT “just Twitter”, it is real people behind those @’s.
Of course I’m on Twitter, that’s how I knew about it.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.