Yes, I do write about social media a lot and it is mostly because I have spent 3yrs observing how Ugandans use it.
Let me give you 4 examples of what can happen on social media.
- We had an MP (federal, Canada) post on his Facebook page “You want Equal, there are those tiny packs at Tim Hortons labeled equal”. Apparently this MP was lamenting about women wanting to be treated equally. Equal is a sugar substitute (Aspartame) and is used by many instead of sugar due to various reasons. Tim Hortons is the biggest coffee shop across Canada. So big that many of us give directions by mentioning “when you get to the Tims on Main street, turn left, walk 5 minutes and you will see the building”. This MP had to resign because of the uproar. He had not been on social media for too long before that and all the experts about social media had not started writing articles about what to say or what not to say on social media.
- Jeb Bush’s campaign manager had posted 6yrs before he was chosen to lead the campaign. His posting on Facebook attacked women, blacks and immigrants. Fast forward, he has gotten a great job and someone pulls up his previous posts, they run in the media like nuts and he was forced to quit his job. By the way, I have no idea where Jeb Bush is these days but can guess that he will win Florida and join the Tramp to trash women, blacks, Latinos and build a fence to stop immigrants from coming into USA. Republicans, oh dear. Romney better do something about them.
- One teenager applied for a shop in a food place and got it. She proceeded to Tweet “oh can you guys just believe this? I just got a job and tomorrow I start at that f@#@king place”. The employers noticed it and she did not get that job after all. This too was in the media in USA and Canada.
- There is justifiable anger that one can use on social media. I always tell people “I am 7hrs behind you and the phone just beeped when you texted me”. The usual reply is “5am Uganda time and we are awake”. Are you kidding me? Why must I awaken to your message at midnight just because you are bored and the first thing that comes on your mind is Leah. I have sent some nasty messages to people who do this and I am aware that they will haunt me for life but guess what, my anger is always justified.
What we all need to do is understand how to benefit from social media. Nothing you say or do online will go unnoticed. You can delete your posts, pictures, comments, etc…but can you delete them from the server provider? The internet keeps a track of all your finger paws (toes, feet, etc..) so please think before you say things.
Social media is a great marketing tool for companies, sellers and marketers. Use it to your benefit. It also happens to be the place where you can show case your photography, writing skills, professional qualifications, your cute picture, your ambitions in life and the work you do. Then people will find you.
Ugandans also have to understand that using fake names and pictures on social media works against them. I have received requests for information and I always tell people to email me. Then they email me with a different name so I trash it because I cannot relate. Worse, they Whatsapp me with a different name too. WHY? Who has the time to keep on changing identities? It might be the culture and reason why so many think I am a man who lives in Uganda. May God help us. Please use your real information because when you need that job or business partner, you would have lied already so why would anyone trust you?
Information you could use.
Martha Leah Nangalama
I have an IT and business background coupled with many years on social media.