Sharing and caring?

Wilson Orhiunu

First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu

Email: Twitter: @Babawilly

There is an old adage that rings true like the delightful Christmas bells of December. It is as simple as it is deep. “You cannot give what you do not have”.  Judging by the items that flow in our direction daily, in this era of complex modernity, people have a lot to give.

Opinions, opinions, counter opinions and even more opinions flood your phone daily. The social media route is where the news and opinions get transmitted through to the minds that now gather knowledge like parrots for onward distribution.  I am reminded of the neighbourhood transformers of my childhood. They receive high voltage currents which are stepped down for onward distribution to homes. People are now transmitters of information.

The term sharing and caring was used a lot in university among evangelical Christians to describe acts of love done for the brethren.  Food, clothes, money and even time, anything of value was shared for the upliftment of your fellow man.

Today, the bulk of the sharing of information is done without a “care in the world”.  Many do not care about the state of mind of their intended recipient (or victim).  Crazy images are just sent out. Some people feel that since something has disgusted them to the pit of their stomach, the experience must be shared.

I cannot be disgusted alone.

I am all for sharing of information that inspires, entertains or educates.  Many would say the same too but this attitude is becoming rare.  Anything goes for some. They see a dead cat on the way home? Well take the carcass indoors so the family could share in the disgust. A very strange behaviour on par with the crazy man I saw on BBC Africa spreading HIV via rape with his defence being, I cannot die alone.

It is universally known that the kind of information an individual or brand disseminates has a profound impact on how they are perceived. This explains the large amount of money spent by responsible brands on advertising and public relations. It is not that the CEO cannot speak well but when dealing with the public at large, one has to be careful not to cultivate a wrong perception with inappropriate language or tone which would in turn be harmful for business.

Some people do not care much about how they are perceived.  That lack of self-awareness can cause them to be abrupt even when handling delicate matters.  Worse still, is when they do not care about the impact of their message on you.  It’s like those people who share pictures of rotting flesh, maggots, snakes or cockroaches to social media platforms.  Surely they did not enjoy the images and they could have guessed that others would not enjoy such but they share without any empathy for the target audience.

Sharing of vicious rumours about people is another strange one.  The damage done to a reputation is not considered.  Some just love to spread the news about somebody falling down.

In most social media platforms, my observation is that the same people share the same kind of things mostly.  Scientific breakthroughs will come from the nerds while the scandals, mutilated bodies and pessimism all come from different subgroups and the funny thing is everyone is consistent with the kind of content they share.

I sometimes get Facebook notifications and once I see the name of the sender I hit the like button before reading because I know that the individual always posts positive and uplifting materials.

For others I sigh, “Wetin dis one don talk again?”

Everyone is justified in the validity of their statements so it is a waste of time arguing with a grown-up.  I am sure many have “unfollowed” me because I shared something which rubbed them the wrong way.

Everyone is now a mini media house putting out content daily.  As it is with consumers of Hollywood, you gravitate to where your needs are met. This could be drama, history, documentaries, thrillers, romance, musicals, war, murder mystery, spiritual, or horror movies.

There are definitely a lot of people fascinated with horror.  So they share accidents with mangled bodies.  I would hate to use the loo after such people.  They have no empathy for anyone and one could get emotionally scarred using the toilet after them.  That inability to make allowance for the next man seems to run in families and communities.

I watched a documentary about the Japanese and how their public toilets are clean because people are considerate.  Public toilets tell you a lot about a society. When people drop their cargo anywhere and anyhow without a care for the impact of that same stinking cargo on the next man, life is less sweet. Cargo that goes around always comes around thus everyone ultimately is a victim.

With the increase in the amount of negative information being passed around and the clamour by disseminators for the next ‘breaking news’, the invention of Fake news was inevitable.

People need bad news and if the natural production line is too slow and lacking in sensationalism, then why not create the news?

“Fake News” was the Collins Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2017

Fake News: false and sometimes sensationalist information presented as fact and published and spread on the internet

The strong need to believe in the worse possible outcome helps the spread of such negativity.

Pareto Principle is involved.  80-95% of all the negative and fake news you get will probably come from about 20% of your contacts.  And while it might not be expedient to cut off these sources (e.g. family members and close friends), one might have to delete without reading or watching all their forwarded links and videos.  You wouldn’t miss much.  That cucumber that cures cancer, headaches, diabetes and hypertension will not be invented till 2099 and you will not die if you break the chain or refuse to type amen.

Shocking and sensational events will never be a daily occurrence and those desperate to hear the next ‘big thing’ will be misinformed. These breaking news addicts are best avoided.