There was Facebook, along came WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter among many other social media platforms. One can say we are now living in an era run by social media as people are spending more and more time on these platforms.
Today more people prefer ‘meeting’ on social media instead of a public place to discuss anything from business to social life. It has reached a level where people are literally living their lives on social media. Etienne Gatanazi, a Media consultant and senior journalist based in Kigali says social media has changed today’s world.
He says the social media era has come with lots of advantages that people should harness instead of just sharing selfies and looking for ‘likes’ by posting about everything they do from when they wake up in the morning until they go to bed at night.
Social media is an information sharing platform; it serves as a source of information. The traditional ways of getting news or other types of information like radio, TV and newspapers are looked at as an alternative in absence of social media, Gatanazi says.
Understanding how various platforms work is essential too, according to Gatanazi.
“Take Twitter for example, it comes with a number of political figures, It’s more of a platform through which political dogma is shared to the rest of the World. Minding what one posts on such a platform can be vital.”
On the aspect of business, he recommends that people can actually use social media to boost their sales.
“Who has a business and would love to keep it for themselves without making it known to the public? And of course this can be done through media spots.
Hilary Muramira an IT specialist says with a few do’s and don’ts one can get proper guidelines on how to essentially use these platforms to maximum use.
Being real is an important aspect, he says. This way he believes that the information one provides can be trusted.
“Be real and it is important that the information you provide should be true and you can defend its sources. You don’t want to be caught in a trap of denial and disrespect.”
Muramira emphasizes the importance of being honest to the network of friends one makes online and to also be careful on the information put out there since its open to the world and can be used against one in the future.
Don’t agree to each and every request sent to you for example with Facebook. Be selective because it’s not like every person that sends you a friend request you have to accept, he advises.
“Mind what you post, some people are judged based on what they like, share and post on social media. And also, don’t believe everything you read out there. Social media is the major source of rumors and most of this information will be wrong and misleading,’ Muramira adds.
He also says that some people share their roller coaster of emotions and make a trail of it on social media but this is not wise, “Keep a little part of you private rather than creating a dumping ground on social media by posting everything that makes you happy or sad on social media platforms.”
Mary Ingabire, a college student is of the view that if people embrace the right manners of social media, more and more advantages of this era are yet to be registered.
If vices such as spreading fake news are stopped, social media can be a good source of information, she says.
“Social media has contributed to the spread of fake news and it’s unfortunate that in today’s world, a large number of people now rely on social media for news. So there is a lot of misleading information since we have slowly rejected facts from credible news sources.”
I also view social media as a dangerous tool that can be used to monitor people more so with people who post every single detail of their lives like where they went, where they had lunch from and where they are actually heading to in the next few minutes. This is not safe, Ingabire warns.
“It is no safe place to talk yet we still do. I guess we live in a world of risks now.”
I know Social media has partially contributed to the rate of awareness I have today and somehow it gives me a chance to learn about the world wherever I am. It has also made communication easier and fun with all the emojis and cool things people can do with technology but if people just don’t limit themselves in a way, it can do more harm than good, she points out.
“I am no fan of social media; these platforms can be addictive leading to people ignoring important things in life. Social media has robbed me of certain inner fulfillments, the attention I should give to people, the idea to wake up and meditate and think about life. Waking up to look through my WhatsApp or Face book is not emotionally or spiritually fulfilling in anyway.”
“And I find that, the days I spend more time on social media, are those days when I’m unhappy,” Ingabire adds.
Jacob Abaho a Flight Captain shares his view saying that there is a lot of more important aspects people can use social media for other than just sending pictures and videos.
“Social media should be used in advertising business, since it’s easily accessed by almost everyone, social media platforms would best advertise businesses to a wider coverage and in the fastest means,” he says.
He says that the platform should also best be used as a research tool through sharing of creative ideas on the platforms since it’s the fastest means of communication.
“People, especially the youth should take advantage of the media to be innovative and creative so as to competitively develop through sharing of business, political and educative ideas.”
He emphasizes that using social media the wrong way only brings about negative impact.
“Social media has kept people busy from actually doing constructive thinking and planning, most youth spend their time texting and posting funny things to attract attention thus spending less time working.”
For Modest Rutagengwa, the managing director of Biashara trading Co., people should not abuse or attack others on these platforms.
And also for people who are working, they should never use it while at work unless if it’s a policy at work that allows them to, he says.
“For those who use it at work it should be for official use and not personal purposes when one is supposed to be working.”
People should think twice before posting or sharing anything on social media, “It is so tempting to send or discuss anything without thinking because it is so close to us but we should think twice whenever we are to forward, write or discuss a certain topic on social media.”
“We should also remember that as we let any information out, we can’t recover it hence creating a need of being so careful with whatever we send out. I also don’t like how people use it even when it is a day out with friends, couples and families. Social media is killing face to face interaction.”
But if well utilized, Rutagengwa believes that social media can move many things.
“It should be used in marketing, informative, sensitization, educative and all other forms of communications that do not divide the society.”