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Sunday, April 17, 2011

SEEMINGLY RANDOM

I never thought the day would come when I would stop being crazy about Facebook. In the early days you could have called me a Facebook addict, and you'd have been right. I was that person who was always on Facebook. If I wasn't chatting I was uploading pictures. If I wasn't looking at pictures of other people I was farming on Farmville. It was bad. Like a junkie, I always needed my daily Facebook fix. Whenever I couldn't go online for one reason or the other, I comforted myself with thoughts of what I would do on Facebook when I eventually got my hands on some internet connection.

Fastforward several months and things are no longer the same between me and Facebook. I no longer upload pictures (frankly because I no longer want to). I don't post stuff unless it's absolutely necessary. I go on Facebook only about once a week now, and for brief periods; and when I do go I'm never available to chat.

I still think Facebook is one of the best ways to reconnect with people we've lost contact with, and sometimes we even meet new people who go on to add value to our lives (I have experienced both). You might also meet the occasional psycho or stalker (or both) while you're at it, but what the heck. For some reason I've found that lately I'm not so eager to share. I tend to hold my privacy a little closer to my chest. While I still appreciate Facebook for its more useful functions, I can say that for me it has lost it's charm. For one I hate the fact that I can no longer "Decline" a friend request. I can only "Not Now" it. Another problem I have with Facebook and other such social networking tools, so to speak, is that while they do help you to connect, this happens mostly on a superficial level, reducing relationships to pokes, likes, status updates etc etc. But I guess it's the humans and not the technology that's to be blamed for this.

Anyway, whatever our take on this might be, it's important that while we go about our business as the world gets even smaller, we remember that a poke a day does not a relationship make. The people who are important to us deserve much more.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

SOMETHING IN THE AIR...

I’m not much of a political commentator, but it just seems to me like there’s something different about Nigeria in 2011. Maybe it’s all in my head. Maybe I only feel this way because, coming to a certain age, and with it a certain consciousness, I’ve taken a greater interest in the affairs of my country. (I still don’t know much about Nigerian politics, but I know more now than I ever have.) Or maybe it’s just that I’ve gotten tired of Nigeria’s status as the ‘sleeping giant’, the laughing stock of Africa, and indeed the world. It could be that I’m just seeing what I want so badly to see.

But somehow I don’t think it’s just me, and these are just some of the reasons why. In 2011, for the first time ever in Nigeria, presidential debates were organised by different groups (I’m particularly proud of Kola Oyeneyin and the Sleeves Up group). Also in 2011, we have witnessed more active participation of Nigerian youth in the country’s affairs, particularly through the use of social media. The nonchalant attitude of youths to politics has reduced considerably as we now ask questions that cannot be answered by vague promises and clumsy rhetoric. It also seems to me that this year there is a certain decline in tribal and religious sentiment in choosing our leaders (and in this, more than anything else, I might be wrong). I’ve heard many Nigerians say that they don’t care if our next president comes from the moon; they just want someone that will do the job well. But maybe the people around me don’t count for much in the grand scheme of things and are just a negligible part of the Nigerian population, but I sure hope not. We’ve actually heard reports of people staying back at the polling centres after casting their votes to ensure that they are counted. We’ve heard of suspicious characters found with voting materials being handed over to the police – after correct beating, of course – by highly vigilant civilians.

So is it just me, or is there something different about Nigeria in 2011? I think there’s something in the air this time. Smells like the start of something new. 
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