By: Moshood Muhammed
Social media, facilitated by the internet technology and made popular at the turn of the millennium by the emergence of platforms such as Snapchat, WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook opened a vista of opportunities in every area of human endeavours. This has undoubtedly enhanced effective information dissemination and communication in a way that has never been experienced before, globally.
However, social media has not only opened doors of opportunities for business expansion through online marketing and sales of goods and services, it also fostered the practice of citizen journalism, enhanced interaction among people globally, at social, economic, political and other fronts.
To this end, the importance and relevance of social media globally cannot be over emphasized, especially in the area of information dissemination and social interaction.
However, while some people reasonably adopt the platforms in promoting their businesses, social causes, and interaction, others have at one time or the other, consistently used the different platforms in spreading lies, unfounded rumours and speculations about persons, organizations and their activities.
This development has the capacity to cause unrest and civil disturbance. Sometimes, outdated information and irrelevant messages are sent on social media without verification of their authenticity.
Moreso, some people use the platforms to show off, by virtually releasing all information about them and their families online, a practice that is steadily gaining ground.
Some kidnappers and robbers have often revealed during investigations that they get information about most of their victims from their social media activities and are able to trace them, based on the information made available on the cyberspace.
Nigerians should note that aside the security challenges, those who release virtually all their travel details, achievements or generally misuse the social media may unknowingly be sending wrong signals even to prospective employers. This is because recruiting organizations now search the social media, to gauge and understand the lifestyles of their recruits to determine if it aligns with their companies’ goals. This gives them an insight into what the prospective employee can offer their establishments.
Also, tertiary institutions also rely on social media for a background check on their prospects. This is unknown to many people who have in the process lost jobs and admission opportunities.
To correct these anomalies, it behooves on the relevant agencies including the National Orientation Agency in collaboration with Nigerian Communication Commission, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to continuously sensitize Nigerians on the proper use or way to operate these platforms and possibly facilitate reasonable legal framework to check abuse.
This move however, should not be an excuse by the government to gag the people.
Also, parents, guardians, religious leaders, social groups and the Nigerian media should sensitize the people on the need to make judicious use of the social media rather than use it to cause harm to themselves and the country.