Mzangila, What is on your mind?
I have been on Facebook since 2011. That is around 7 years now, and made roughly 3,000 ‘friends.’ Three-quarters of these people I don’t know them personally, or I have never met them. Some felt that they needed to be my friends, for reasons which you and I might not understand unless you’re one of them. These reasons are why I post an update and end up with only 50 likes- which makes sense because honestly, they don’t know me.
In a sense, Facebook plays a role in helping people talk their mind, not necessarily to friends but to whomever who cares listening; or reading for that matter. The irony is that these friends are real strangers and in a way do not influence your life in any way at all. They only exist virtually, beyond that you’re all strangers sharing the same platform.
If I have made real friends perhaps Facebook does not account to even 1% of them. It only comes in when I have to connect with people who are real-life friends who are my friends on Facebook.
We’ve turned Facebook into a public diary, which again makes little sense of a diary. With the world being brutal and feeding us lemons, it can be overwhelming for the few of us who have low self-esteem or less courageous people who can’t handle their shit well when the lemons start hitting the stomach at terrific speed.
In a way, we end up writing our small, petty and rugged life on Facebook. Perhaps it is a way of dealing with worldly pain or so. The main reasons would be to seek relevance in our lives, to feel needed and important. Without relevance, we have no purpose and no one is going to be interested in us. As I have said many times, human beings crave for attention. This attention goes a long way to build our self-esteem. Sometimes, it is all we need- this self-esteem. The power of a high self-esteem defeats even riches.
And many of us are seeking this self-esteem from Facebook likes and comments. Some of us are quite popular on Facebook than in real life, so you will discover. Unfortunately, we may be popular for all the wrong reasons- may be because we look good, because we talk a lot of shit, because we upload sexy photos with half of the flesh out, because of the humour we got, because of our bitterness towards gender, our bias on different subjects, our foolishness.
Just as there are two sides to a coin, some are famous for all the right reasons. An applause for this gang, please! These are people who align their Facebook life with that of real life. They sell their purpose on their timeline and they influence people both virtually and offline. These are writers, photographers, motivational speakers, teachers, athletes, businesspeople. These people spend their time online talking about things they do, things that they love doing, things that they plan to achieve, they show what they do, they sell themselves and in a way using this platform creatively.
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Many may wonder if I have succeeded to be in the latter bandwagon; it is where I should belong, isn’t it? Well, just like any human being, my self-esteem didn’t just grow one day. There are days I was also desperate to be recognized by fellow humanity as an important person. I fought so hard, the harder I fought, the more dismal the results were. Don’t get me wrong, working hard does not solve worldly problems, working hard for the right course does.
It is a tough world, if you don’t pick the right war you will be crushed to death. In my many years of mentoring people, and practicing my self-taught psychology, I have come along many of these people fighting the wrong wars. Wars that they don’t understand the genesis. Many of us have been there- combating wars we might never win. We only try to live by hope because that is what Christianity taught us, to hope. If religion would save people, I guess many people would not be suffering. So we fight wrong wars and hope to win because hope is everything. Hope is everything, we tell ourselves. Hope will only be everything when we fight the right war because then there is a possibility of victory.
I am not a self-styled Mr. Know-It-All. But in my short period of living, I have learnt a lot that would make me avoid making mistakes and leading an unhappy life. And I have decided to enjoy every moment with equal pleasure, and make every minute count. It is not easy, that is why not everyone has made it you know.
And my journey on Facebook hit the road when Facebook was a fad among the youngest generation. Then, it was the new cool and every youth needed to wear that cool. When you’re among people of your age, peer pressure is something that catches you by a storm. Words have power. Words are everything. The world is made up of words, they are the ones that can explain things. And when you keep hearing the same words over and over, they make you believe them. That is why people are encouraged to listen to words that build other than those that annihilate.
The storm caught me and I also wanted to be recognized amongst my friends as someone who was on Facebook too. You see the feeling of acceptance? Everything revolved around it. And when I finally did my high school diploma in 2011, I ended up in a small cyber in Muthama. Bundled in a corner, I was excited about this journey. I began it. I had opened an account in 2010 due to peer pressure but was dormant until 2011.
Looking over the years, the importance of this journey has lost flavor. It no longer excites. I no longer miss logging in and going through people’s thoughts, desperations, aspirations, disappointments, rants, bitterness and happiness. The charm has faded.
Nowadays, I’m like a passenger who boards a bus and sleeps until the last stop where I need to alight. Whatever happens in between doesn’t concern me and I don’t care. I never take time to look at the people seated next to me, or the kind of clothes or shoes they’re wearing. I only open my eyes once someone taps my shoulder to ask for bus fare, or when they want me to excuse them so that they can alight.
But this online giant has all kinds of users. And I would like to categorize a few of those that I know. The most prominent ones being the rookies who join Facebook thinking they’re the first ones to discover a gold mine. They want to stay up all through to ensure that they mine most of the gold. They don’t know the dos and don’ts of social media. They post old jokes, yes, those Mugabe used to throw in the 60s. The ones we have heard and read since we entered Facebook.
Suddenly, they will start showing and telling everyone what they do every minute of their lives. They tag anyone they know or seem to know left, right and centre. They like all your posts and comment on each, with very uninformed comments that depict foolishness that surpasses online human tolerance. In a way, okay, most times, you’re embarrassed when they comment blindly on your posts because surely you can detect their immense mediocrity.
They behave like kids who have just received a new toy. They are clicking and touching everywhere to see what does what. But we all have been there, right? Innocent, naïve and foolish. And yet we’re quick to judge them now that we’re mature and know how to operate Facebook. I wonder who is more foolish.
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But even then, they are the people who will write on your timeline- thanks for accepting my friend request handsome. Their intention, mind you, is not appreciating your effort to accept the request even if you don’t know them- they want to start a conversation because you look fiiiine. They are the ones who will tell you they love you just at the look on your face and admit it on your timeline. They will openly ask you if you’re taken and shit. You being wiser, no, the mature one, you choose to ignore the bastard.
Another lot just spends time poking and messaging silly stuff. Justine is waving at you, wave back. Justine just poked you, poke back. What is the essence of poking someone on Facebook by the way? Honestly, it is one function I’ve never come to truly understand. Is it necessary? What is the idea here?
I used to have this lady friend from Nigeria. She has a name just like mine, Justine. That was way before I thought Justine was so girlish and decided to officially become Mzangila Snr. At the slightest chance, she would poke me. The rate at which it was happening was so terrific. So I decided to poke back and see what happens. You know what happened? Nothing. A few weeks passed, she poked again. I ignored. She poked again. I poked back. This time, nothing happened again. So I gave up and decided to ignore her pokes. I just thought that maybe poking me was her fetish.
The ones who message you have an uncanny habit of becoming annoying. If your ancestors were good-looking, this might be an experience you’ll go through for a long time. A flurry of messages from people you don’t know trying to hit on you. Online desperation is real. And some people exist on these platforms perhaps to make more than friendships. They’re hunters after anything that originated from good looking ancestors.
So I have learnt to put up ugly pictures of me, or even deleting them immediately after they have served the purpose. I am not good-looking, let’s say so because I am not in the filthy hands of those messages. If I am a victim of messages, it is because of this little fame that one gains online.
But I have been at the frontline of this pack of men that try to seduce women online, only that it was years ago when I was still green. I am glad that my efforts didn’t end up in vain. I mean half of the girlfriends I have had originated from such Facebook hunting missions.
I know you have loved at least one person on Facebook, fallen in love head over heels with them, and broke up bitterly without ever meeting them in real life. You remember that foolishness that Facebook drilled into our heads? It is real witchcraft.
But the real wizards are these Facebook users who just come to read posts. They never like or comment on any post. They hardly update their timelines. If they do, it is their profile picture or background photo. It is like they do not exist. People who know a lot about people yet they let no one know that they know. These people know a lot of things because they spend all their time reading through. I wonder who placed a spell on them.
These wizards exist in silence. It is not that they cannot write something constructive, only that they need other people’s feeds to fuel their energies. They have some deficiencies that can only be healed by exterior forces. So they spend huge amounts of time on Facebook just browsing through others’ timelines. Blood and bones, otherwise they’re dry bones.
The chatty ones will always exercise total freedom. They don’t measure their words. They are liberal and open-minded- their religious gowns are left in church. They wear them once they enter the gates of the church. Online, they live worldly. They don’t judge, they have a rich sense of humour, generous heart (they like and comment), they’re not afraid of staying online at odd hours. Free souls indeed. They encourage you and have huge platoons of fanatics behind them. These fans fuel their creative energy so that every time they drop a post, it is a bomb that leaves the fans laughing their hearts out. Everything they write is funny.
Some might actually be very social in real life. Most are. They can’t afford to lie about their life happenings, however bad they are. They share happily and find fun in such terrifying situations. They provide life online. Without them, Facebook would be dead. They’re the creators of memes and such funny stuff.
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Then there are people you grew up with, people who you studied with or just hang out together back then. People you know quite well because you spent most of your childhood together. Then they got on Facebook and somehow how had a breakthrough to become the most successful parrots online. This parroting might have earned them a fortune because right now they are doing adverts and gigs and life seems to have upgraded. Now that they have hit that high, they shed their friends. They ignore you because in a way they will think you’ll ask them favours-promotions, hook ups with tickos for events, money and the likes. They gained some pride and ego and now they carry it wherever they go, thinking that they have made it and that you who haven’t made it doesn’t deserve a place in their little glory. They quickly forget that it is people who have pushed them up there- the same people who can scatter and let them have a debacle of their lives. They forget where they come from and portray themselves as ambitious and try in a way to say that you’re not ambitious enough. Filthy lot.
Every time I upload a photo, I discover that I get more likes than when I do a story. This is to say that most people on Facebook are visual beings. So they belong to the selfish category that only likes photos. You hardly notice them. And you might never encounter them ever because they stay behind phones, scrolling through their timelines and those of others looking for visual things-photos. Photos fuel their energy. They like snooping into people’s lives, comparing themselves with others using these photos. If they feel you’re in competition with them, which of course is a committee in their brain showing them possibilities of competition, they won’t like your photos. They will only like your photos if the photo has few likes. If it has many likes, they won’t like it. Fucking bastards.
I won’t talk about the West African scumbags who will friend request you and once you accept they immediately inbox you- thank you, honey, for accepting my request. Kindly contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss something very important. Only that if you’re green in this you’ll be a victim of the famous Nigerian and South African con artists. Most of them have names such as Patience, Humility, Peace and so on. Once you see this wazzock, just block them. If you follow them into the email, they’ll confess love to you, send you very stunning photos, then tell you they’re refugees in Mauritania or Chad. That their father was an army general who passed on but left millions of dollars under their names, and that they want you to help them acquire them with an agreement that they will marry you if you want, and that you’ll get half of the money. Before you know it, due to your greed for money and scantiness of brains, you’ll start thinking how rich you’ll be, and how you’ll floss to your friends and all that. Before you know it, you’ll have been conned, barrister charges, affidavit charges and so many charges that will cost you more than $2000.
Please carry your brain with you.
And finally, there is this lot of people who only upload photos. They only exist on Facebook to decorate their timelines with photos. These are not normal photos. These people have a huge following so they invest time in the photos they upload. In real life, they might not be as beautiful, but their photoshopped photos and makeup will say something different. Their pictures are very angelic, and men and women fall for them. These people have full inboxes and have surpassed the 5k limit of friends, yet they’re only in their 20s.
They are the social media queens and kings. They own big, cheap or sometimes, expensive phones to take photos with. Nothing matters most than photos. They take selfies everywhere and will travel to places just to take photos. Their photos must have nice backgrounds.
Also, I have met many of these people. And there is no one as desperate in life as they are. They are living lies, and reality does not allow them to live the dreams they live on Facebook. They are not the chattiest or the most social beings in life, in fact in their hoods they might not even be known, but they’re the most famous on Facebook. If only wishes were horses….. donkeys would be queens.
I rest my case and hope that Facebook drops so quickly if it keeps misusing our social data. That is irresponsibility.
This is a plea. Kindly take is serious with the seriousness it deserves.
We’re running a small programme. This programme empowers young people to become entrepreneurs. It is called Mayouth na Biashara Initiative. Here, we incubate young entrepreneurs for free for a period of two months, with an end goal that by the end of the two months they end up with successful startups. We also try to link them with funding opportunities such as The Lion’s Den among others so that they can pitch for funding.
To do this, we need a lot of funds to drive the programme successfully at this point. We, therefore, need support from all corners of the earth. You can donate from wherever you’re in the world. Even if it is one shilling or one dollar. This will go a long way into raising $5,000 that we envision to raise. Kindly click this link and donate. Also, share with others. We have less than a month to do this. Thank you very much and God bless!
Mzangila Snr (Yogaman)
Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?