In Loving Memory of the Letter Days

Posted by BA on August 11th, 2016 at 09:53 AM


There was a time when we used to write letters and wait for the recipient to call our land-line (for those lucky to have such at home) or meet at a particular spot – at a canteen, under an orange tree, at the back of a block, at a junction by the school gate and other such places. It was exciting! We always looked forward to a reply and when none came, we were the saddest. Communication was of the essence; we would bare it all in the most beautiful words, leaving a lot to be imagined and so much less to be assumed. The message was crystal clear!

Today, letters have been replaced with social media platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp (please add the rest. It is a tad difficult to keep tabs). I know, as human beings it is second nature to yearn for connections and a sense of belonging; what ‘better place’ to do so? I dare say we have lost our sense of true communication; we have lost our real life connection to real-time notifications. We yearn for connections yet we stray from it, consciously or unconsciously?

I really don’t intend to preach about the vices of the new media, for even I know that the internet is a convenient, popular and gratifying way to network (with like minds). However, can we beat our chests and say social media hasn’t ruined our real life relationships?

People have vested too much power on the social media, as it now appears we judge our relevance by the number of likes we get from a post, number of followers on our page and how we can make that number much higher than the number of people we follow. You put only the good out there (not like we are aching to see bad, are there people that vile?) – filtered images, best backgrounds, hot romance with bae and such, when your reality actually needs a make over. Is the new media teaching us to keep up false appearances? Are we really flaunting our best moments so that our social mates can count us worthy, or is there something I am missing? Like many things, the social media should depict a balance so that in a bid to be trendy and cool, we should endeavour to be realistic too.

People have blamed the social media for ending their relationships and as absurd as it may sound, it is not far from the truth. The social media may be a haven for meeting new and interesting (or annoying) people, but it can also facilitate ending the ones you already have.

Insecurity among lovebirds have been heightened! Seeing your orente in a picture with another person (or different persons) gives room for jealousy. You see, it is not like they don’t trust you, it’s just that a picture speaks a thousand words and not all those words are sweet nothings. This is where physical communication comes. Ah, wait! You think you can explain yourself with the social media lingua? Fail! The words and the real intentions get lost. My advice: deal with real issues that will affect your real life, in person. Let me guess, no time for that? Lol, okay.

Funny how we’ve lost our bearing. We no longer have time for the real deal; we have used our own fingers to invest in our virtual life. Actually, it is not funny! When was the last time you sat next to someone new and talked unending with a high degree of excitement, as friendly as can be, with a pinch of sarcasm but no rude remarks? How long ago did you sit with friend(s) or loved ones to discuss a pressing matter as it affects you or those around you? When was the last time you passed a compliment to someone in your immediate surrounding? Yet, your twitter fingers are always quick to comment on a stranger’s post, like an image on IG or shoot something rude at someone you literally can’t sit with in real life. Imagine sending bae a message and getting no reply hours later, although bae had been active on social media. The funny part is how desperately they would try to defend the act. You have succeeded in trading you REAL time for your timeline.

This wouldn’t happen during the letter days. You would get a note, in a brightly coloured paper, smelling as though the sender sprayed his mother’s favourite cologne with words that read, “Meet me at our spot. I need to look into your eyes while I explain things to you”. This sounds like a myth now! Social media guests will call you childish and petty for responding to a post derogatory to your person. Brethren, jealousy may be an ugly trait but it is also a very normal part of a relationship. So no, you’re not as childish, petty or jealous as your partner makes you seem, you’re only more human.

Once upon a time, manners made man, communication was almost devoid of channel noise and man almost lived happily ever after… then came social media platforms. Now, man doesn’t know where to draw the line between real life and real-time or at least strike a balance.

If the very first thing you do when you wake up is change your display picture, but it is your attitude that really needs a change; if you only ‘lol’ and smile on social media but fine lines are slowly gracing your forehead; if you’re only pretty in your social media images but are a shadow of yourself in reality; if your momma didn’t raise a rude boy but you think rude is the new cool; if all you do when you have issues with people is rant on social media instead of facing your issues directly; congratulations, you just played yourself.