Players in Nigeria’s social media ecosystem have advocated, professional and responsible practices as some of the solutions to maintaining sanity in the online environment. There was also a call for stakeholders to acknowledge the sweeping influence of internet-enabled innovations and consciously manage how they are utilised as channels of communication to protect national security and social harmony.
These were some of the talking points at the maiden edition of Bodex Social Media Hangout, BSMH, held in Lagos. In her welcome address, Ms Florence Bodunrin, CEO, Bodex Media Group, who hosted the event, which had some of the leading names in the online and offline media, entertainment and marketing communications industries in attendance, said the internet and its creations are agenda-setting tools of the modern world. Her words: “We can no longer dismiss the influence of the internet and its creations. We need to recognise them as the greatest agenda-setting tools in the modern world. But we now need to exercise great caution in the way and manner we deploy them as engagement resources.” This perspective was also reinforced by Gloria Ohagwu, a presenter and producer at the Voice of Nigeria, and Lead Voice Merchant at The TalknowCrat Enterprise. While talking on “Social Media: Weapon of Destruction and Progression,” Ohagwu highlighted the paradoxical effects of social media on the modern world, saying “the internet technology has as much positive as negative impacts on our world.
“The sole determinants of the outcomes we get from using the platforms are human conducts and actions. We need to think deeply before pressing the ‘send’ button every time we engage online.” On his part, Mr Ladi Ogunseye, President of Digital Marketing Practitioners of Nigeria, DMPN, warned that “we should always ignore the barrier computer screens create in every online communication because they are imaginary. “Online is not an entirely different context from offline. We need to treat ourselves with dignity and respect. Don’t say online what you cannot tell anyone face-to-face in an offline context.” Consequences Earlier, the Executive Assistant to Lagos State Governor on New Media and Public Relations, Mr Olusegun Fafore, speaking on “Consequences of Insidious Comments in the Cyberspace,” said: “The word ‘insidious’ in the topic is the keyword. It is an adjective, qualifying the noun ‘comments’. “Without the qualifier, which expresses attitude and disposition, the word ‘comments’ in the cyberspace context may not ordinarily be a subject of concern to anyone. “But where comments become ‘sinister,’ ‘treacherous,’ ‘deceptive,’ ‘false,’ ‘threatening’ and ‘disturbing,’ they become destructive to our social composition. Then we need to become measured. “With the reach and growing influence of the internet, which is validated by the increase in the number of internet users from 200,000 nineteen years ago, to 116 million today, we need to treat our diversity as a nation, which cuts across languages, religion and cultural practices, with greater care. “We need to exercise a high level of prudence and discipline in how we engage online, particularly when the benefit of context is lost to technology-created facelessness.” Other notable speakers at the event were Taiwo James, Founder 69 Entertainment; Fatuntele Tunde, Founder Kobz Media, and Yeye Lara Fashola-Fanimokun, a maritime lawyer, who spoke on “Advantages and Disadvantages on Social Media in Today’s Tradition or Cultures.” Another leading voice at the hangout is Mrs Laila Ijeoma, owner of Laila News Blog, who discussed “What Makes Up Community in Blogging.” Additionally, a special appearance by King Wasiu Ayinde Mashal (KI), former Inspector General of Police, Chief Tunji Alapini, and other A-list artistes like Q-Dot, 9ice, Ara, Nollywood actors and Asiri comedy added colour to the maiden BSMH, which Ms Bodunrin said will be annual.