So I inevitably found out who Sheila Gashumba was. I did not want to, I was not trying to. I should not have. There is no reason for a Ugandan in my demographic to know who she is, and normally, if my agemates hear me pronouncing the name correctly they would chase me away from the malwa pot to go and drink coco in Kenjis, but this lockdown has changed what is normal and now abnormal things happen to all of us. I, venerable gent, distinguished, seasoned and advanced in maturity, now know which one is Sheila Gashumba.
At the rate things are going by August I will probably be able to distinguish Brian Whytte from Johnathan Blacque and whoever else occupies the spectrum in between.
I have been careful at least twice to clarify that I do not know anything about her because I need it to be clear that nothing I say should be construed as a reference to her, a response to her, or a reply to her. This is because social media has this sophomoric habit of attributing everything it doesn’t understand to envy or malice and civilised discourse, including, respectfully disagreeing, are among the things social media does not understand.
So they tend to treat different points of view as personal attacks and I do not want to personally attack Ms Gashumba.
That is why I tried my best to make it clear that I do not know who this person is and one can not make personal attacks on a person one does not know.
But then it just so happened that in the recent past the big trending topics on social media somehow involved her and so her name kept coming up.
This is the third one. #StopsocialmediabullyinginUganda has been trending for days, and I just found out today that the trend was ignited by Ms Gashumba herself.
So before we jump into this let us have the disclaimer:
Before we go any further
I would like to categorically state
And make clear
And remove any doubt
No sarcasm involved, I mean this, furreal, that even though I now know who Sheila Gashumba is, I am scared shitless of this woman and I am not ever ever ever going to even try to think of considering the vague possibility of perhaps maybe slightly probably making any statement against her.
I do not want any beef with her. Anything I say from this point on is entirely non-Gashumba. None of it is about her, or her friend with the name which, with all due respect to him, I shall not repeat because I am a Christian who understands the Lord’s actual plan does not include fornication. (I fear Gashumba but my fear of The Lord is greater.)
Now let’s proceed:
Social Media Bullying. Or Cyberbullying. What it is and what it is not.
When the trend began we were quick to notice that a number of social media users did not fully understand the meaning of the term and seemed to think it referred to talking shit. As in Chucks. Shells. Insults. That is, in internet terms called Flaming, kids. And is different from cyberbullying. So let me help by explaining which is the bean and which is the weevil.
If someone calls you an idiot on twitter, that does not mean social media bullying has occurred. What it does mean is either of the following options.
They are right. you are an idiot.
This is not unlikely, because you are on social media. And that is where the idiots be most of the time. Social media was originally made for practicing social interactions through electronic media but that was then. It has since been redesigned and its purpose now is to harvest immense amounts of massively invasive personal information from gullible users through the instigation and perpetuation of addictive behaviours and mental health weak spots and the results of this is that idiots thrive there. If you are on social media and someone calls you an idiot, ask yourself, before you squeal back insults, “Am I?”
They are misinformed. You are not an idiot
You are not an idiot, you are just one of those people who hang around in shosho for the memes and the news headlines, since who gets their news from the actual media any more? Lol.
If someone saw you on the streets and called you their school teacher from boarding school in the nineties, you would hastily correct them and explain, “No, no no, you have me mistaken. I am not a psychopath undercover child abuser who deals with entrenched feelings of inadequacy by whipping weak and defenseless children.” If someone calls you a thing you are not, your impulse would be to correct them.
If it is someone calling you an idiot on twitter, do not do this. Never attempt to correct misinformation on twitter. Doing so is like trying to clean an overflowing sewer by plopping a drop of hand sanitizer onto it.
That is not even sanitizer waste, that is sanitizer abuse.
They are the idiot.
A popular pass time of idiots is to call other people idiots. The nature of the stupid person, you see, his psychology, is such that he is unaware of his own stupidity. He is in fact convinced that he is of above average intelligence. This is because of a quirk in the way the stupid mind works: when a stupid person sees something he doesn’t understand, he assumes that the reason he doesn’t understand it is because it is the one that is stupid. Idiots believe that if they don’t know the answer, it is because the question is foolish. This actually makes sense to them.
It has something to do with a gland called the amygdala and a lesser developed prefrontal cortex, but in short the result is that if a person is an idiot they will probably call a lot of other people idiots.
You are not an idiot, but you are acting like one
You may not be an idiot in general, but you are acting like an idiot at that time. Everyone acts like an idiot sometimes. We all do stupid things, and not just rarely, but consistently and frequently.
You see, intelligence is like speed. Some people can run very fast, some can only run slowly, but most of the time we just walk. That is how the brain is.
Most of the time even Usain Bolt is just walking at the same rate as me, and I am a very slow runner. I’m a slow runner because I’m lazy. I’d rather let the cops catch me and snitch on the other People Power rioters than go through the trouble of running away. But there will be moments when a bird flying overhead elects to shit, regardless of who is walking beneath. Its load will as likely land upon Bolt’s handsome head as it would mine, despite the fact that he is much more likely to escape if he had thought of running away from the place. Unless you deploy your speed, you are going to be just like the slow people, i.e. me. At least I have hats.
You are not an idiot but You are an idiot to them.
If you speak to a person who is a lot more intelligent than you are, then comparatively speaking, you are an idiot to them. For example, I am around five seven. But most people are my height, so they have no right to sneer. But there are a lot of people taller than me and they can and often do call me short.
One just went on about how droplets from a cough travel downwards and therefore I can take off my mask around him because he isn’t afraid of getting Covid from me.
These are some of the few reasons you will be called an idiot at some point this week. I have left out the obvious ones like being a member of parliament or being a driver in Kampala traffic. But apart from idiot, you will always have people call you things. There is no society where people only ever say other people are sweet sunny pink fanta.
People will throw chucks. They will shell. They will diss. It’s life. Sometimes it is done for fun, sometimes boredom, sometimes anger, sometimes meanness and sometimes just because I have an insult and I need somewhere to put it. Eg. Neymar’s eyes have the expression of a head louse living in a boda boda helmet when it meets a baby cockroach in there and realises it is not alone.
Being dissed is part of life. But is it cyberbullying?
There are already too many tweet testimonies about being the victims of cyberbullying which are really just tales ngu, “someone called me names.”
That is not called cyberbullying. It’s not even flaming. It is just some low-calibre cartoon sidekick trying to get some cheap likes on the TL by typing “U say datz a foreheda??? mor lyk u min u hv an eighthed!!! Lololol!!! Luk guyz I said that teh foreheda is an eightheda becoz of witty wordlpay insinuatign taht it iz twice az big lololol clap for me and admire me am so original and funny #Davechapelle #Salvado”
Idiots just. Idiot in evidence because so many of the most beautiful women in Uganda have large foreheads. I am almost sure that the forehead has something to do with them being that hot. I think foreheads generate prettiness and the larger your forehead the more hotness you have in the rest of you. Scientists are still studying Rihanna to find conclusive evidence, but the thing is, you post the hot pic and someone will say eight head. Landing strip. Solar panel. Headmistress. All the jokes that were funny the first time in like 1832 BC.
Anyway, saying your forehead is so big you can face the consequences twice is not cyberbullying. It’s just some idiot being an idiot.
This is cyberbullying:
Cyberbullying is sustained series of intense, invasive, aggressively malicious personal attacks primarily intended to cause significant pain to their victim. Cyberbullies don’t just call you short a couple of times, lol and leave. They attack you consistenly for months. They go beyond the timeline and into inboxes; they will even make phonecalls.
Cyberbullies are ruthless and will drive for the weakest spots with no hesitation; they will bring in family members, personal tragedies from the past and spread false and damaging rumours.
Cyberbullies will threaten you, and often leave you fearful that they have the means to follow through on those threats. I am reading of reported cases in America where victims have been afraid of leaving their own homes because they fear that the psycho who has been attacking them on twitter is outside their door.
So what do we do about Social Media Bullying in Uganda?
First of all, let us start by not forcing an equivalence between chucked for and social media bullying. Most of the stuff you guys are complaining about can be dealt with using a simple dose of fukkem. A person expressing a low opinion on you is only hurtful if you respect that person’s opinion. Unlike real life bullying where the cop will take your shoes off and slap your beautiful large forehead, with social media chucks it is really up to you to decide whether you feel hurt or victimised.
Take Bebe Cool. Bebe Cool has been insulted prolifically on social media, but have you ever seen him walk into a room? Is that the walk of a man whose feelings have been hurt? Does he look like he cares? Bebe Cool’s self esteem is through the roof and no tweet can bring it down. I would think it is because for every tweet insulting Bebe, there are 12 more praising him, but then I realised that it is simpler than that. Bebe Cool just doesn’t care if you don’t think he’s cool. He thinks he is cool. If you don’t agree, bomboclart. I actually suspect that that is why he makes Kiwatule Good Friday so loud. Just to show us how many fucks he gives about our complaints.
Okay. The serious part when we close. If anyone makes any threats to your safety or that of your loved ones, report to the authorities. Otherwise, you don’t need to put up with toxic people on twitter. Mute and block and leave those swamps. Believe me, you don’t have to respond to a personal attack. The fact that you ignored it will hurt the idiot more. Leave those ones alone and come to our side of twitter. Come chill on our side where it is just memes and links to the latest Tucker HD and Blizzack. We even have Babaluku and MC Spider.