Society Debate: Is Social Media retarding Rwanda’s Reading Culture

It propels reading                                                              Culture never dies; it evolves, if you don’t network today, then you are heading for a dip.Imagine the shock of getting surprised, day in, day out by obvious news about something so popular that the remotest island dweller is knowledgeable about. It is inexcusable!As much as Social networks are addictive, they have become an increasingly important reading source for book lovers and uncultured readers alike.

It propels reading

Culture never dies; it evolves, if you don’t network today, then you are heading for a dip. Imagine the shock of getting surprised, day in, day out by obvious news about something so popular that the remotest island dweller is knowledgeable about. It is inexcusable!

As much as Social networks are addictive, they have become an increasingly important reading source for book lovers and uncultured readers alike.

There is something about getting engrossed and lost in the maze of links posted on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Never before has the world experienced a time where the entire globe is interconnected and reading the same information at once. I must say, Social Networking is a revolution in interaction that is attained through reading and writing.

I can best explain my point by digging back into history—back to a time when slave trade was rampant. Centuries ago, slave masters did not allow their slaves to read and write. The belief that, ‘Ignorance is bliss’ was sustainable and used as a weapon to keep slaves in the dark about, practically everything.

They lived in fear and were cut out from their freedom just because they were illiterate. Unfortunately, wise slaves who crossed set boundaries and dared to read—with the help of the educated little children they ‘nannied’—were killed for the criminal offence of reading.

Let bygones be bygones. Slaves were eventually liberated when they begun to read and write. Generations later, their descendants enjoy the freedoms they died for.

Rather than retarding the reading culture, Social Media has instead enabled different societies to redefine what is best for them. Through open dialogue, even the slackest reader has, consciously or naively been enticed to read widely. Information that was previously inaccessible is readily available for all.

The fact that social networking has allowed the sharing of information, great innovations are revealed. And from these innovations, the world is witnessing a great global movement that will give birth to greater movements in the future.

Additionally, the pattern of reading, as is known from the past, may not be the same as reading, as it is known today or, in the future.

With the advancement in ICT, the reading culture has definitely improved.  I for one have discovered numerous authors and books from internet search engines that I would never have found if I roamed the streets of Kigali in search for a non-existent book library or not-so well stocked bookstore.

With the advancement in technology, reading has become timely and somewhat non-linear. Readers can enjoy a vast range of writings from journalistic articles, to academic, research, entertainment, fiction, biographies and self-help literature among others, without necessarily having any printed document.

Therefore, it is shallow to assume that Social Networking has retarded the reading culture. It is all too easy to blame teachers and schools for not teaching us how to love reading, or blame the society for not grooming a reading culture and even worse, blame the digital era for being distractive.

At the end of the day, everybody must keep in mind that the idea of ‘sharpening the saw’ holds each individual responsible for their own growth and development.

Contact: glo.irie@gmail.com
@GloriaIribagiza on Twitter

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