Groups, especially within the context of social media and online platforms, in general, have come to stay. They are conduits for collaboration—tagged the new currency; and avenues for information sharing and building formidable relationships. And so today, we have all kinds of groups: professional, school, business, ethnic, religious, recreational and, of course, fun or gossip groups. The dynamics of each group vary in almost the same way they share similar characteristics; there are the active members who are vocal about their thoughts on every topic, Frankly, without them, the group would be dead.
I stumbled upon a post in a public forum where the writer opined it was better for adults to get married early in order to forestall the possibility of attending Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) Meetings at the age of 50. As expected, the controversial viewpoint generated varying comments from members of the group.
I had just returned to my seat from a tea break at a formal event I attended recently. This fellow attendee had taken the seat next to the one beside me. COVID-19 prevention measures had prompted the organisers of the event to urge participants to leave a free seat beside them to ensure adequate spacing. The stranger said hello and I returned the greeting. As I settled in, he announced that he had watched me as I made my into the hall and thought I was pretty. I smiled and muttered a thank you. But the conversation did not end there.
I knew I had to dedicate a post to the thrilling exploits of the Nigerian woman and the recognition that has followed when the news filtered it about Elohor Aiboni’s appointment as the Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO). It was the latest in the series of glass ceiling shattering appointments of first female Managing Directors. Aiboni’s apex engagement had been preceded that of six of her counterparts in the banking industry. Of course, the fact that this latest feat happened in what can be termed as the cream of the crop of industries makes it extra special.
As we trudge through life sometimes and bound through it at other times, we are inclined to forget how far we have come on the journey of life. How the very things that almost drowned us now appear trivial.
Sometimes, I think we (living in these times) are the luckiest bunch of people since the history of mankind began. At other times, I am not so sure and long for the simpler times when the internet did not exist. Times when there weren’t so many opinions flying around cyberspace; when things were subtler and saner. It’s a ruckus these days; a big, fat whirlwind featuring compulsive showoffs, faux intellectuals, cantankerous characters, and relentless rabble-rousers jostling for prominence on and offline. And as exciting as it is, it gets overwhelming all too often.
The moans from the room grew louder as Ivan approached the side of the three-bedroom bungalow.
He shook his head as he let himself into the sparsely furnished living room and lowered himself into the sofa.
The sounds were louder now. The girl, whoever she was, had a shrill voice that was difficult to ignore.
He leaned back and shut his eyes. It had been a long day, but also a good one.
He needed to nap, but something told him he’d struggle to achieve that with the gymnastics going on inside.
Many times, the disagreements and fights that find their way to the streets of social media are a result of this clash in values. A party reasons a certain way and tries to foist their conviction on others. There’s never going to peace when this happens.
My individualistic leaning also meant I was hardly swayed by friends. Peer pressure was a myth to me even though I saw others struggle with it, and often, I would joke that if there was anyone who would do the pressuring, it would be me.
The reaction to Tope Alabi’s gaffe confirmed my belief yet again that to presume one has loyal friends in the virtual community is by far one of the most naive notions one can possess. People wear a different cloak where they are not physically present, so the genial Janet you converse with at the social club morphs into a savage ogre once she logs into her Instagram account.