SOCIAL MEDIA: stories that touch the heart

“The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other” – JR

“The dark side of social media is that, within seconds, anything can be blown out of proportion and taken out of context. And it’s very difficult not to get swept up in it all” – Nicola Formichetti

“The PC has improved the world in just about every area you can think of…new kinds of entertainment and social media, access to information and the ability to give a voice to people who would never have been heard” – Bill Gates

 

It’s the season of the witches. This couldn’t be a coincidence. A day before I saw her face, my PC fell down and crashed. I heard my name. I was sure I did. Someone just called me. It sounded like a distress call. I stood up abruptly and rushed towards the door. Suddenly, I heard a sound. “KPAAAA!!!” My PC had fallen face down and the screen shattered. I had tripped on the cord connecting it to the power pack. “Phuckery”, I exclaimed as I picked up the object. I stood speechless for a couple of minutes, staring at my PC, shattered in my hands.

Afterwards, I quickly dashed to the living room. Tunde and Edet were on their third card game. Linda was acting as a boardman, keeping the cash as well as providing refreshments. Or board-lady in this case. Five grand was at stake. The smell of mary jane filled the air while four empty bottles of alomo bitters loitered on the floor. The gods should have pity on these two, I thought to myself. “O boi, who call me?” I asked. No answer! “I say who shout my name, two of una keep eye like pigeon wey wan delete?” “O boi, why you dey shout. Nobody call your name na”, Edet exclaimed, his blood-shot eyes turning towards me. “Una sure? But I been hear my name. Which kind thing be this. I don break my laptop as I dey rush make I answer una. Mscheeeww”. I walked back to my room. Inglorious bastards!

The next day, I saw her in my dreams. The Witch. Yes, I did see her face; her beauty so pure and her eyes as radiant as a young moon. She had wings that flapped like blossomed lea in the winds. In her left hand, she held my other phone (my only source of communication with the world) and held a magic wand in her right hand. I woke up, sweating and panting. I took my chaplet and hung on the door. I sprinkled the olive oil on the four corners of the room. Afterwards, I recited Psalm 91 from the first verse to the last.

The witch was still at work the next day; my tablet fell inside water. It was raining heavily. I was trying to jump over a gutter and it fell inside. Gracious Lord, this must be the season of witches indeed.

In the evening, I got a notification on my blackberry. I hoped it wasn’t a message from the witch? Alas, it was a facebook notification. I was tagged in a picture posted by a friend. “Phuckery”, I exclaimed. I’ve been mourning the death of my tablet since morning. The last thing I needed was another friend tagging me to a recent picture of his wedding. How I detested seeing such pictures. They served as a reminder that it was time for me to get married and settle down. But how poor church rat like me wan take pay bride price na? Phuckery, I exclaimed once more.

Grudgingly, I clicked on the link. Network reception was poor so I waited patiently for the contents on the page to load. Lo and behold. I saw the picture. The one I was tagged in. It was the picture of a young girl (not more than six years old) with multiple stitches, a rigid neck collar and bandages on the upper and lower limbs. The title of the post was: DON’T IGNORE THIS!!! Content: “A girl was sent packing from a house because she refused to have sex with the landlord. She had no money to pay for her rent so the landlord gave her a chance that unless she sleeps with him before he would allow her live in the house. Later, the landlord killed the girl because she didn’t want to sleep with him…Now I declare to your life that any untimely death that would come when your good news arrives will be destroyed in the MIGHTY name of God. Just type AMEN to claim it”. I looked below and saw that the post already had 913,234 likes and 32,477 comments. Everyone typed “AMEN” or something similar. Kai!

I’ve been gullible in the past. About three years ago, I came across a post: “If you can type ‘AMEN’ with your mobile phone, before 11:59pm tonight, someone you don’t know will call you and favor you”. Boy, I was dead broke then. So I took a leap of faith and typed ‘AMEN’. I guess I was the 1,000th person to comment. I waited patiently from 3pm, hoping a miracle would happen. By 1opm, my phone rang; an unknown number called me. I gladly picked the call, hoping to receive some good news. “Hello, Baruu…so you dey dodge me since, abi? You no wan pick my calls since…na now wey I use number wey you no know, na em you pick. I just wan tell you say make you arrange my cash…otherwise, I go show for your area, treat your phuck up big time. Shey you don hear”, Walter shouted at the other end. Phew, so much for a miracle!

And the cycle continues. On social media (especially facebook), such peculiar stories abound and it baffles me why people are so naive to even care to comment on such posts. Pardon me if I sound like a ‘condemned sinner’, but in all honesty, I don’t think miracles do happen by such means. A lot of individuals resort to creating fake social media accounts of well known ministers of God and post such stories. I wonder what they stand to gain by doing so. Maybe the number of ‘Amens’ that are typed would determine how many years they get to spend on earth or how much cash they would have in their bank accounts. Who knows, everything is possible to them that believe.

I think the probable reason why this scenario plays out most of the time on social media is this: there is so much suffering in the world and people have no other option but to resort to any means of obtaining miracles from God. That is why a congregation of individuals created by the Almighty would hearken to the words of their pastor and gladly eat grass in a bid to be cured of certain ailments. Young women seeking for husbands would willingly make their bodies available to receive lashings of the cane by the eager prophet. Any means of achieving the miracle is accepted once the name of the Lord is mentioned.

There exists another category of posts on facebook; the ones I call ‘Hint’ posts. I coined this term to make reference to that magazine every teenager read while growing up – Hints Magazine. Yes, that magazine with fake love stories. That magazine published by folks as dumb as their readers. It’s a pity facebook is gradually falling prey to such shameful stuffs. I came across one sometime ago:

TITLE: Please, don’t neglect this!

CONTENT: Hello, my name is Peter. I am living in the same house with my step mother and my dad. My dad travelled for a business trip. On this fateful day, my step mum came into my room. I was naked and didn’t want to do it. But she removed her clothes and we did it. Now, she is 4months pregnant. What should I do?

It would be a great phat(sic) lie if I say I wasn’t puzzled by the comments that rolled in. “Chai, I understnd ur plight young man. Tk it easy. Just pray and tell ur dad”. Another person commented: “Don’t worry, ur stepmom wud lose the baby and u wud be free”. Another one: “Tell ur pastor and then run away frm d house”…And the comments kept rolling in.

Trust me now. I wasn’t left out. So I wrote: “Dear Peter, just take a deep breath. Afterwards, get a rope and a brick, then take a walk to the third mainland bridge. Wen u reach there, jump inside the lagoon and drown. And if peradventure u survive, enter church knack head for pulpit, u pathetic lazy f@#k”.

I am not disputing the fact that people actually have serious and worrisome problems that bother them and affect their peace. But on social media, it is really a tough task to decipher which of them is true or just some bored teenager somewhere across the world seeking for attention.

So last week, as I sat down in the barber’s shop waiting for my turn to cut my hair, I came up with a plan. Tomorrow, I’d post a story about the witch:

TITLE – Please, don’t ignore this!

CONTENT – Hello, I am a 14yr old boy living with my evil aunty. At night, she turns into a witch and appears in my dreams chasing me with a machete. What should I do?

First comment: Dear child of God, make sure you pray before going to bed and tell your pastor about it. I burst out laughing as I read that.

Second comment: Are you sure you are born again? Bcos the devil has no business with a child of God. Give ur life to the Lord. Ok, fair enough.

Third comment: Boy, make sure u keep ur bible beneath ur pillow when you sleep and also soak ur chaplet inside water you use to bath.

I almost fell off the seat as I laughed out loud. The barber thought I had gone crazy.

 

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction mixed with a little bit of reality. Any similarity with the names mentioned and the circumstances are highly regretted.

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