Today, I paid deep attention to Twitter and stumbled on something so interesting, it got me into “media-junkie-thinking” mode.
On Twitter today, #welcometonigeria was [and still is as I write] at the #2 position of Trending Topics; just a step after the globally popular #now playing tag. In the middle of the chaos on my desk, flipping pages of text books and searching for cool journals, I started following this trending topic and made a few contributions myself. I was at the peak of fun reading people’s entries from around the world, but my media-junkie mind sought to really break this ‘global-event’ on new media to bits.
It is no news that the media audience has switched from being a couch-potato who is just there to passively watch and read , to an active participant in the creation of media content. People on #welcometonigeria were no doubt entertaining themselves with their own content- right off the top of their heads.
What was most striking to me about this cyber-event was the realization that Nigerians (and anyone else who participated) had created a VIRTUAL COMMUNITY. This trending topic united Nigerians from all over the world and brought them into a common space mentally and virtually.
One important element in the practice of liberal democracy is the people and their freedom to exercise their rights to express themselves. It is no coincedence that one of the oldest definitions of democracy is Abraham Lincoln’s government of the people , by the people and for the people.
I could not ignore the democracy fostering environment this trending event had to offer. It was like a public sphere, in fact, it was a public sphere- only this time it was not within the four walls of a building but on the web. The net knits people together from all over the world, including the Diaspora, and creates Marshall McLuhan’s predicted global village.
#welcome to nigeria was an ideal platform to exercise your freedom of expression, not just to your government, but to the world. Some tweets highlighted in ingenious jokes, the challenges they faced living in Nigeria. Every good government that is really interested in democracy, should pay attention to such grieviances and seek to make the lives of its citizens better. Other tweets were downright funny- and Nigerians proved the survey true, that the country was one of the happiest countries in the world regardless of living conditions.
In summary, my point is that the new media (internet and its social networking attendants) is pregnant with potentials in the movement towards a better society. I must recognize here efforts by #lightupnigeria #enoughisenough and other groups, who have utilized this platform to organize rallies [physical rallies] lol, and clamour for change.
I will leave you with a few out of the numerous tweets that really cracked my ribs about Nigeria. One particular tweet which will serve as my disclaimer of some sort was:
“so foreigners, don’t think coz we tweet funny & say crazy sturvs on #welcometonigeria we are bad people. We love our country so ….” – 😀
# where ‘do you know who i am’ is a threat
#where ‘Take a bow’ and ‘Knock you down’ are not just songs, but hairstyles
#where every sunday at church is a fashion show
#where the street is school enough
#where you have prayer points like ‘let there be light when I get home’
#the home of the sharpest people in the world
#where they are already selling and fixing iPads in computer village
and the winner for me was::::::
# where you can catch a bus literally
bye for now…chilling for your comments!