We’re living in an era where oversharing is the norm. We tweet our location, Instagram what we’re having for lunch, Snapchat dates, while some feel the need to use meme to tell the whole world “when bae has refused to text back.” Social media has propelled us into a “sharing society”. In many respects the emergence of a sharing society is positive. I tend to think that maybe we are more intimately connected to our families, friends and networks than ever before. But then, has this oversharing and constant electronic connection made us less emotionally connected and not able to build real connections with our loved ones?
Has social media made all of us insensitive? Has someone ever sent you a meme or a video that is too explicit, graphic? What was your reaction? So often that not, I’m the kind that would ignore a few more times and if I see someone persists then for sure I will come after you.
Earlier this week I found myself in a precarious situation where I was trying to figure out who exactly I was talking to or what exactly I shared with my friend. This was not the first time to share video or a, meme with friends. But it was definitely the first of this kind ’cause man! The response had me at where in this decriminalising of homosexuality nation did I go wrong *sighs*.
Last week on Friday, Kenya’s High Court declined to decriminalise sections of the penal code that make it illegal to have consensual same sex. They further said a statute is not rendered vague for lack of a definition. Where Judges noted that phrases used in the penal code are clear and disclose offences known in law. Petitioners wanted the court to quash sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code. Kenyans reacted differently to this ruling even on social media where majority disagreed. On twitter, I came across a link, which from the video’s thumbnail I knew I couldn’t bring myself to watch it, yet deep down I wanted to know the story. The nosy nature in me… No. Take 2: The Nose for News in me as my Media Law Lecturer Michael Wambete would call it, I found myself sharing the link with with one of my friends, with the message, “Hey, please watch this video and tell me what happened. I can’t bring myself to watch it.” When I followed up a little later I was dumbfounded by the response. And I had to seek a second opinion, to try and comprehend what the nature of the content in the link I had shared was.
You must be thinking that I must be diabolic to awaken a cold response. No am not. By now you must be wondering what it is that I had shared. I came to learn that it was a gay man who was being beaten up for being queer. (I have no comments on LGBQT community) I decided to ask 3 of friends to gauge their thoughts on the subject. I remember having a distinctive conversation with Ken about having received or ever sent graphic images or videos, and he was categorically clear, he has never and wouldn’t entertain it unless it is a naughty one from wifey! (Yeah, that escalated too fast! haha!) But I hear you brother! Kev, will out right call you out as soon it hits his inbox, regardless of how the sender will take it. He is of the opinion that, eventually they will be like “Kev, you were right all along.” While my slay, Kagwe, is the I will ignore you until the message is home fam!
In sharing my thoughts with others, I was surprised to learn that I was not alone. It seems like social media insensitivity has plagued us all. Why complicate life? I’m for the opinion that: If you don’t like it, don’t entertain it. Regardless of who is sharing it. You need not over think whether you voicing/expressing yourself appears rude or not. It may sound cliché, one thing I have learnt is that people react differently. My friend was not wrong to react the way he did. I only needed to apply same reasons for not watching it. If you can’t watch it, then don’t make someone else watch it. (I ended up sharing it though for the second time to seek opinion! Lol)
Moving forward I want to try to make a real effort to change my current behaviour. I won’t always emotionally connect with every post that I see, but challenge myself to take a second to put myself in the shoes of the person on the receiving end. And if you, my friends, feel that I have put on my hat of “insensitivity”, keep scrolling through your feed!