23-3-2016

The Importance Of Paying Attention In English Class

On the 21st of March, a tragic accident occurred along Mombasa road. From what I read, it involved a bus that was heading to Imara Daima (my hood) and I was naturally very worried and decided to look for Twitter updates on the accident using the Mombasa Road trend. (For non-twitter users, a trend is almost like a hashtag that helps with posting comments related to a specific topic.)

Anyway, there I was on Twitter, worried sick, looking for updates on the accident when I see this tweet:

Tweet 1

 

My first reaction was confusion, because all the tweets surrounding it were about the accident, yet this one was about… LAND FOR SALE. Being the outspoken Kenyan that I am, I quoted the tweet with this:

Tweet 2

 

By the way, I wish I had taken a screenshot to show the other tweets that were using this trend at that time; this was THE ONLY ONE that had nothing to do with the accident.

I talked to my mum the following day to make sure that she, and everyone back home, was okay. Then I found THIS in my mentions:

Tweet 3

 

So at first, I actually read this as “I’m a government spokesman” and I went on a mad rant on Twitter and Facebook about public officials using their titles to coerce people into silence. #SilyMi

Anyway, it still goes back to what first drew my attention to this Tweet; consumerism in Kenya. As a society, we’ve become more and more akin to the Keeping Up With The Jones’s lifestyle. If you don’t own an iPhone, or a Mac Book, sorry bruh, you can’t sit with us. Even the android users have their own hierarchy:

Samsung, HtC, Sony

Nokia, Techno

Wiko

Nokla, jPhone and the likes

If you don’t live in the bushy suburbs of <insert name of plush Nairobi estate/area> you just don’t cut it. It’s like there’s this never-ending pressure to always have the best clothes, the best house, the best car, the best phone, basically the best of everything. And I know “best” can be looked at in terms of quality, but let’s be real here, more often than not, we equate the most expensive things with being the best. While this may stand true for a lot of products, it doesn’t stand true for everything we purchase. But I digress.

 

This is the entire exchange I had with “Mr. Not A Government Spokesman”:

What Is This

Tweet 5

 

 

My main problem with the original tweet was that people had just died. People were injured. Others were desperately searching for information- trying to know exactly what had happened. Then someone decides to take advantage of the opportunity to advertise their land.

Some of you might say it was smart of him to capitalise on the opportunity but I completely disagree. Are our hearts so hardened to the concept of death that a trend that is being used to update us on an accident is also being used to advertise land? The moment we begin to think of a trend about an accident as an opportunity for advertising,we slowly start losing our humanity.

Looking back, I feel that I should have read that first tweet carefully before reacting. I mean, that last argument would have been stellar if this was actually a government spokesperson. I just wish that we learn to use our social media well and also learn how to use proper grammar (#I’m I a government spokesman). Lol, anyway, ranting aside, I just feel that we need to  pause and ask ourselves if the value we put on brands and the importance we give our merchandise in the name of “getting and staying ahead,” is really all worth it.

 

 

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