Recently I saw a very disturbing artistic picture on the internet. I can’t actually remember the name of the artist but this illustration has remained stuck in my head like a bad memory. The art shows a young lad locked inside a dark room with the facebook logo showing on both his computer and smart phone. I can only see his face through the little shine illuminating his face from the computer and the phone. On the other side of the door are people seated and playing in a public picnic site; lovers hugging, kids running around, friends dancing to the tunes of their boom box and families sharing packed meal. The outer side of the enormous metallic door is nicely branded ‘social hub.’
On my first glance at the picture, I saw a silly artist stretching the realms of creativity. Its meaning or what the artist had in mind did not really matter and having been blessed with the pencil and the sketchpad I focus more on the artist’s curves, shades of light and color and the kind of symmetry he portrays. And sure he did a good job. After a few minutes I close the tab and go to a little of facebook, a little of twitter, my excel work sheet, back to instagram again then facebook, then the excel work sheet … etc and the cycle continued till five in theevening.
Leaving the office, I put my earphones on to enjoy some rock music. The presenters, one a comedian and the other a DJ get all my attention and I don’t even remember to bid bye to the receptionist or the security guy at the gate. At the bus stop my earphones are still on, this keeps me busy and helps me reduce anxiety as I wait for my bus. There are a few more people at the bus top too but I am so glued to the music that I hardly even notice them.
In a few minutes the bus leaves and immediately I got to my seat I get my smart phone and the juggle between tabs resumes again; facebook, instagram, twitter, badoo. The only missing thing this time is the spread sheet, or as you can call it work. This goes on until a lady seated next me pokes me on the shoulder and inquires, “What’s so interesting on the social media?” I remove the earphone from my right ear to look at her, “You are so glued to that thing.”
With so many words I apologize to my cousin, Quinter. How could I have not realized she was the one seated next to me! She must have been thinking I was ignoring her so I put away the phone and pull off the left earphone too to give her my full attention. Soon the chat gets interesting as we catch up on different things, of course you know girls with gossip. She introduces me to the other girls seated next to her; her class mate whom I think really looks lovely. The kind if I saw on a facebook picture I would press the like button. I complement her for her long natural hair and before we alight we have exchanged telephone numbers.
As I get to the last bus to connect home, I pull out my phone again but this time before I open the tabs or put back on the earphones, I ask myself how social is social media? I refuse to be imprisoned so I put them back and look around to see if there is anyone I know in the bus to catch up with. There is no one, and the huge lady seated next to me doesn’t really seem friendly. The temptation to pull the phone back out is great but I refuse to be like the lad I had seen in that illustration. Logged in and Locked in!
I greet her and ask her how her day has been. This is a risky move as she might confuse me for hitting on her, but she respond well. After all she is friendly. She tells me of her business and how the resent insecurity incidences have made business hard. Coming from Gikomba, the second hand cloths market, she says the Somalis have all moved out and therefore sales are really bad. Most customers are avoiding the market too and this is bad for business. Before the vehicle stops at my stage we have talked about business to politics to family life and weirdly even about Lupita and the new hairstyle women now adorn.
As I walk the little distance remaining, I don’t even remember to put back on the earphones. I greet people along the way and breathe the fresh life giving air. The trees look lovely; the kids playing by the road side remind me of my childhood and how things have really changed over time. At home I put away my smart phone and go help mother in the kitchen. She is complaining I am too old and she needs to see a grandchild soon before she dies. I still don’t even have a girlfriend so to me this is noise, but still it is a lovely conversation in a real social set up, a social hub with real people. Today I logged out of my cell and logged in to the social network.