#DrunkenWriting No 1. Internet People

Drunkenwriting is an initiative of Pride256 to build a network of bloggers by having us share each other’s work. 
This is my first shared blog. It’s from …… and is called Internet People. Enjoy.

A few days ago, a really close friend that is set to join campus in a few weeks called me. after a rather hasty greeting, she quickly asked ‘Ronald, am I fat?’  I stammered a bit over the phone as I thought of what kind of reply I should give to her. I would have preferred to give her a quick ‘yes’. That would have saved me from explaining myself if I’d told her otherwise, wouldn’t it? I realised that would have broken her pride. Something I did not want to do, at least not yet. I implored my brains to serve me with a legitimate answer, but I couldn’t think fast enough given the circumstances. She had ambushed me, caught me off guard. I then cleared my throat and heard myself ask,

  ‘Why are you concerned about your size all of a sudden?’

  ‘Ronald, just tell me, am I fat?’

I then set out on first understanding why a girl, who a few weeks ago was so confident in herself, in her body size, that she thought she could make it to the best modelling houses and also earn big as a Television Host, had now lost it and felt almost lost. I employed my not so good interrogative skills till she confided in me about her most recent experience. About how an internet friend had commented on one of her photos, pointing out the ‘little weightshe had now. To be really honest, the person said she was a little fat. I brushed it all off for her sake, tried to comfort and calm her. I found myself telling her just how she was letting social media get to her, or how we like to put it, “taking social media seriously.

I don’t think I quite believed what I had just told her, that last phrase left me a bit uncomfortable myself, I mulled it over and over in my head trying to figure out what it really meant. They are simple words, I know. But then again, don’t we really take social media a little too seriously? That will be for you to answer.

I then opened Twitter rest assured that in at least thirty minutes, an exchange, a troll or anything would most certainly happen, one thing would lead to another and before you know it, someone would take Twitter a little too seriously and then serve us a ‘tweef’

I won’t say if it really happened or not, but I know you guessed that right.

Here I was, stuck trying to figure out why people would get overly concerned about what complete strangers, people they only have met off social media the internet, say about them. You might argue that some and indeed most have not met in real life. So they cannot be conclusive about someone’s behavior. But why would some people interpret a dig at them, meant purely for fun and banter as an attack on their person that they choose to rant all about it? Well I think the answer to that is, ‘Clash of Egos’.

One trait all internet people have in common is the creation of their internet brand, aside or an extension of what they are in real life. The person on the internet may or may not differ from what they are in real life, one may be a ‘Jajja’ or a ‘Ssenga’ on the internet but a ‘church girl’ in real life. So like all brands, internet people build an image, how they want to portray themselves to their audience or how they want to be perceived on here. For some, this is very important to them, they live for it

and they can die for it, so an attack on their internet person is held in equal ilk as an act of war, and is always dealt with with the seriousness they think it deserves.

One perfect example I can remember is when one internet/Twitter Person/Tweep took a dig at a radio show host, I want to believe the attack was a simple dig at the radio station meant for fun. The radio show host took it a bit personal, set out on protecting her ego/ internet brand, internet friends/Tweeps took sides and the exchanges that ensued were undesirable. It was a perfect case of Twitter taken seriously.

And that brings me to the one million dollar question, should Twitter/Internet be taken seriously? The answer to this depends on what you use the internet or social media for, for some the internet is a source of livelihood and for some it’s just a place to have fun. Others use it as a gateway to ‘nicer things’, Some live for the ‘banter and trolls’ and some live for the ‘serious and mature Twitter (if mature twitter actually exists). If you understand the different reasons as to why you use the internet, your Internet Life will get a little simpler. It should always come back to what you use it for.

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