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There is no denying the fact that the social media space has revolutionised our daily existence and experience. The introduction of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Imo just to mention a few have continued to engage our everyday life. No doubt, the average youth’s access to the internet has proliferated the way we engage with others who may be far or near. The social media has altogether changed the way we interact and communicate with others, both young and old. At the touch of a button, like it, tweet it, post it, snap it and so on are now part of our regular activities. This has ensured that Nigerian youth can now connect easily and faster in ways unimaginable some ten, fifteen years ago. However, lofty and beautiful the presence of social media is in our lives today, I still find it hard that majority of Nigerian youths are ignorant. Like everything in life, the internet and the social media have their positives and their negatives. The internet allows us access to useful, positive and educative resource materials that can turn our lives around for good. Instead, many youths would rather focus on just posting their entire life history and movement on it. They would rather focus on mundane things, particularly anything trending, especially for the wrong reason(s). However lofty and beautiful, the presence of social media is in our lives today, I still find it hard that majority of Nigerian youths are ignorant. Like everything in life, the internet and the social media have their positives and their negatives. The internet allows us access to useful, positive and educative resource materials that can turn our lives around for good. Instead, many youths would rather focus on just posting their entire life history and movement on it. They would rather focus on mundane things, particularly anything trending, especially for the wrong reason(s). Most times, the trending topics, especially music, squabbles between popular celebrities, broken relationships, fraud related issues, pre-wedding photos engage the average Nigerian youth for the day. They sustain the arguments back and forth without anyone gaining anything meaningful from the discourse. In fact, the cacophony of voices on the social media space usually leaves the main argument flat-footed as many results to name-calling, abuse and flagrant use of foul languages. What usually baffles me is the display of arrogance on these media. Many people blindly comment on a post or another person’s rejoinder without adequate knowledge of the original topic of discussion. This way, they steer the direction of whatever argument that is trending to personal attacks. With the level of arrogance displayed by some people on these media, I can only imagine the level of moral decadence the Nigerian society has turned to. The invisibility that the media space afford the Nigerian youth also contributes to spreading of false and unverified account of so many trending topics. Imagine someone who is not in any way connected to the originator of any discussion professing expert opinion, or sometimes an eyewitness account. While not disparaging the fact that so many people may have explored these social media space to improve their lives, many times, I wonder if the originators of these media space have not given us something to distract us from tapping into the real potential of the Nigerian youth. By being distracted from focusing on real issues that affect their lives, Nigerian youths are being goaded on to continue to experiment with foreign inventions. The best that we can do is to mimic the Westerners. The social media is wonderful, but I would really like to urge Nigerian youths in using and utilising the social media to put on their rationality. The level of emotion on display can only play into the hands of those who want to continually push their agenda in our face. Not until we can learn to take the positives in the social media space in promoting national and international dialogue can we be respected as true leaders of today and tomorrow. Nigeria Youth Arise!

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This article was first published on 28th July 2017

oluelijah

Olusegun Elijah is an Assistant Lecturer at the Department of English, UNILAG. You can Email him at Adelus05@gmail.com, find him on Social Media at @elaidjah. You can also call him up on 07032773091.


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