Social media is like a marketplace, a slum, a village, a city, a lonely yet crowded street, or a queue of people screaming or whispering or, even begging to be read, seen, watched and listened to.
My MA thesis that dwells on Facebook and the kind of platform it offers in regard to freedom of expression in Uganda, has seen me roam social media sites a little more in the recent past; and Oh my! Interesting things and people you’ll find.
It isn’t easy staying relevant on these sites; but for a start, follow the 10-Point Facebook Guide below [written under the influence of so many things…]
- Show us the place
Where are you or where are you going? Tell us, but do it cleverly, you don’t want to put us off by showing off. So say something like this: “Starving, but this sea food! Dear Mombasa, treat me with kindness”; “Damn this airline…missed my flight to America [yeah, America!]”; “Mbarara, this land really flows with milk and honey…”
If you don’t want to write, just post a photo, a selfie of you in the plane, or at the beach, or before that Mandela statue in Graham’s town. And please make use of that phone or computer, set it to show us your location without you losing a strand of hair – it’s that simple!
Forget people who say marking your relationship status as ‘married/engaged to XYZ’ will make people stalk both of you, to see how you are progressing. It’s your life, so flaunt the love and the loveless can go hang! When you break up, it’ll just be because that’s life, right?
And make the eye-catching posts on her/his wall; ‘I miss you’, ‘You complete me’ or better still, post a silhouette of you two in some sweet random place we can’t guess. In minutes, you’ll see comments like ‘Awww!”; “Sweetness”; “My couple of the year” and “Cheers to love” flowing. Tomorrow’s relationship status will sort itself, life has to go on.
There are people you have never met, but they are your friends on Facebook. And by the way, they are hot. So when they post that photo, just say it: “Damn! Hotness”; “God must have created you in the morning”; “Those eyes, Oh!”; “Thank God I have you [it doesn’t matter whether you’ve never chatted or met or if you know each other beyond the fb friendship].
I know we have said play, but don’t do it too much. That might make you say too much, and like someone said, everything that goes online, will eventually come ‘outline’. You don’t want your things flying from the inbox to the wall or a hacker to teach you a lesson…
- Give us some brain
Questions like what happened to the Nigerian girls, when everyone is hash-tagging #BringBackOurGirls, will make you appear like you are from the ‘grassroots’. Tell us what you think about Russia’s bigheadedness or the mess in South Sudan that seems so juicy for some or what you think is the diagnosis for Kampala’s madness – we’ll respect you. But beware, such posts may not get you as many comments, but you’ll get likes, or shares – and that’s ok.
When everyone is bashing Museveni for calling Nabukenya childish, go the other direction and praise the old-man, he is the bearer of our vision, not so? Or when the world is sympathizing with Lukwago’s woes, rant about how the dude has not done anything constructive other than cause chaos – some people might agree with you.
- Grab that attention
Everyone wants attention once in a while. So lines like, “I’m depressed,”; “I need a hug now”; “This headache is killing me [even when you are swinging your legs somewhere]; “I’m the happiest woman on earth tonight”; “I did it” – will make people beg you to tell them more, or shower you with ‘get well soon hun’ comments.
- Show us something
Beautiful skin, that hair, chest or that well-done photo that brings out your eyes or legs, or lips will have people commenting. Or, do you have a baby, wife or husband, even boyfriend and that girlfriend, why not – show us how they look – we’ll like and comment, nicely, it’s just good manners from us…
- Know the basics
You’ll switch on the wrong lights when you start a chat with your new-found friend and start off with; “Where are you based?, what do you do?” Profile infors exist for you to get such information about your ‘friend’. Some people will not indicate the actual place and work they do, but you can still find out [either through their posts, or randomly through a chat] instead of appearing like you are on an interrogation/stalking mission.
And, comment, like, share – we will reciprocate. Use ‘LOL’ when you really need to. That’s why you’ll have to think about a post like “Good night friends. LOL”. By the way, you can take the private conversations to a chat. We’ll feel really weird reading you rant about your private things with someone on your wall.
Don’t go throwing words that irritate, insult or bring down people, moreover on their walls. It’s just bad manners! You can do it on your wall and we will understand by throwing the dirt back at you, or we may just read you, shut up, shun you or like you.
- Get lost
Deal with the fb addiction. It can rub on us too. The urge to wash every aspect of your life on fb is tempting, we know that. You are in the gym and you feel like posting a photo of your sweaty self or tell us that taxi tale or the dude/chick who couldn’t keep their hands off you. But it won’t hurt to ‘disappear’ for a while. Don’t be on our faces all the time, we get bored and overfed by your posts and before you know it, we’ll put off notifications for your posts. You don’t want that, so take a breather, you’ll be back and still find Facebook alive.
[To be continued when the weather says so…]