I returned from a mini social media break this afternoon to meet my Twitter timeline flooded with the hashtag #LazyNigerianYouths. About 50% of the tweets on my timeline had the hash-tag embedded in them somewhere. The hash-tags increasing momentum piqued my curiosity. “What could have informed this currently trending hash-tag?” I thought to myself. My mind flashed back to the popular #WeAreNigerianCreatives hash-tag that had twitter buzzing not too long ago. Was this another hash-tag inspired by the desire to help Nigerians spread word about their individual hustles? Was #WeAreNigerianCreatives not effective enough?
I braced myself to go seek the answers to my questions out, channeling my inner P.I. However, my quest to unravel the mystery behind this hash-tag ended before it even got a chance to start. The answer I was willing to go seek out found me first, right there on my Twitter timeline. Apparently, the President of our beloved country had referred to Nigerian youths as “Lazy” during an interview. And in response to the “insult,” aggrieved Nigerian youths had taken to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction at the attack.
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Armed with knowledge of the motivation behind the hash-tag, I proceeded to check out more tweets. As I read those tweets, I felt the urge to compose my own personal response to Mr. President’s verbal attack. Composing the tweet wasn’t supposed to be a big deal. There was a template on ground already, a very simple template, at that. Tweet about what you do for a living and end the tweet with the hashtag #LazyNigerianYouths. This template was particularly suited to those with multiple hustles, and I fell right into that very category. But, as I thought to compose my own tweet, I noticed something wasn’t feeling right within me. As I tried to understand the cause of this strange feeling, I had an epiphany… Social media outrage was the issue. I had actually become tired of social media outrage.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suddenly going to start criticizing those actively expressing their frustrations via social media. I wouldn’t dare, I believe everybody has the right to employ whatever methods suits them the best. It’s just me, it has dawned on me that social media outrage would not cut it for me anymore. Especially on issues that concern Nigerian politics and politicking, I’m done. Honestly, I am. It’s not like I’ve figured out the appropriate response to these issues, no. I’m just done with expressing my disappointment on social media. If you take a critical look at it, you’ll realize this mode of expressing our dissatisfaction has been quite ineffective. I’ve lost count the number of politically motivated hash-tags I’ve seen trend temporarily on Twitter without achieving nada.
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This form of response has become a dance, one I’m no longer interested in. Politicians mess up, their error is followed by charged social media outrage that usually births a new hash-tag. Typical of them, the politician in question, and politicians generally, ignore this effort to call them out on their wrongdoings. Instead, they move on with their lives like nothing happened, assured the outrage would lose steam in no time. And, needless to say, the outrage always does lose steam, all too quickly. Which begs the question, is social media outrage even worth it anymore?