It is believed that technology makes the world small. Social media with various apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter among others, have influenced users worldwide.
For good and bad, the arrival of the instant messaging apps on smart phones has completely revolutionised the way we connect.
Esperance Nyirabaruta, a resident in Kicukiro, says the new apps on social media have eased communication because one can now tell whether someone has received a particular message sent them.
“Back in the day, the only form of sending a message on a mobile telephone was a text which you can never be sure whether the intended receipt has received but with whatssap, am sure that the person has got it,” she said
Janvier Popote Nshimyumukiza, a journalist at Izuba Rirashe, who mostly uses social media for both personal and professional purposes, reflected on the great contribution of social media, adding social media can be poisonous when it is not used well.
Referring to McLuhan’s quote that “… technology will make the world a global village”, Nshimyumukiza said Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook among others had evolved ‘one’ communication to mass communication.
“Every social media user is free to comment, give feedback and criticise what is posted on social media unlike in the past where people were informed, but difficult to comment.” he says.
He noted that social media is contributing a lot to the journalism profession.
A quick way to disseminate news or updates
“There is no need for journalists to meet public officials for interviews, we only tweet them and they respond. When an accident occurs somewhere, it is immediately circulated on WhatsApp which provides us a story idea. We just call the police to verify such information,” Popote says.
He added that media houses were no longer breaking news because of social media.
“As good news is quickly disseminated, rumors are also spread like that. People should try to verify information before posting it on social media,” the journalist said, adding that social media can also affect people’s work ethics.
“People in offices fail to render services to the clients as they are busy tweeting, or on WhatsApp and Facebook and this can cause unnecessary delays in rendering services.”
Magnifique Migisha is a social media strategist working at Capital Markets Authority. He said social media is a big part of people’s lives.
“Friends exchange messages and greetings through Facebook. When you want to listen to music or watch a video from your favorite artist, you visit YouTube. It is easier to check on your twitter timeline to know what’s happening around the globe.
Everything looks and feels easier to do with social media, but we need to embrace the use of social media responsibly.”Mugisha said, adding that it can be tough for people involved in his domain to work without social media.
Ceremonies preparations and invitations on social media
Christophe Hitayezu, a journalist at a local media house, has a wedding this coming September and he has preferred social media as a better way to invite his friends living in different parts of the country.
“I chose social media to invite my friends to save time going to each person’s residence with invitations cards. It is cheaper comparing to other means used to invite people,” Hitayezu said.
He added that when an invitation is posted to a group, it is not limited to your friends only whom you know but also to everyone you share the profession whether you have met or not.
A good way to promote a business
Social media have become the fastest way to sell products without going to markets. Currently, there is WhatsApp shopping.
Shopping has been made easy. Sending pictures through WhatsApp is routine. If a friend is travelling abroad or any other place and someone wants something from there then all you need to do is to exchange pictures through WhatsApp.
Interestingly, there are many Instragram stores that take orders on WhatsApp itself. Just message them the thing you want, address and phone number.
Business Networking Saving group is one of several saving groups created by WhatsApp users to empower members economically.
Elienai Rubibi Misugi, a self-employed Kabeza resident, came up with an idea of turning WhatsApp group into a saving group.
He shared the message calling people interested in joining the new group which aims at encouraging youth to embrace the culture of saving.
The group now has 30 members with the majority of being university students from different colleges in Rwanda and other community members who contribute Rwf 5,000 every month.
Talking to Sunday Times, Rubibi said that he created the platform with intentions of inspiring young people that together they can gain even when they just have part-time jobs.
“This group will help members to open their minds and think; to develop ourselves economically and learn how to save instead of spending,” he said.
Several social media users agree that social media has enhanced relationships between people. WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter have become a way through which people living far away from each other stay in touch.
They noted the creation of groups like school friends groups, college groups, and ‘grad’ school groups among other several reunion groups. However, they have also broken down how the people relate.
Social media has reduced face-to face-communication. There was a time when people would make an effort of calling that distant friend on a birthday ,but this has changed significantly. Also it is not surprising to see people out in a restaurant all engrossed in their phones.
Social media is addictive especially among the youth who tend to spend much time on it, making them unproductive, and lazy, allowing young people to watch pornography, the circulation of malicious information from anonymous sources among other abuses of social media platforms.