Thursday, May 20, 2010

The power of the hash tag (#)

I recently joined Twitter, which in my opinion has become my number one source of news and amebo! I heard of Yaradua's demise on Twitter, I heard that Chelsea FC scored 8 goals to clinch the English Premiership title. Twitter is a very informative avenue, my new addiction.
The hash tag (#) is used on twitter to depict a topic or a trend. The hash tag is usually employed when twitting in drawing the attention of your 'follower' to the subject. It has proven to be a very useful tool in twitter with respect to catching one's attention.

However, the hash tag can only go so far. Last week I read something on Twitter, 'Singing about the problem does not solve the problem' ( not verbatim). The hash tag can only go so far. #lightupnigeria, #enoughisenough are laudable moves by young people who have had enough and believe that something needs to be done about this crazy place we live in.(effective word being 'done').
We have gotten so used to living with the situation that we have been lulled into a false sense of inertia (is that the right word). It is as a result of this that these young people have decided to stand up to what is right and what is good. The #enoughisenough movement was very laudable and though I did not participate, I appreciate the fact that people left the comfort of their homes, offices and marched both in Lagos and Abuja. However, I believe the hash tag can only go so far, infact, the hash tag is almost powerless.

Last week, I finally got around to watching the first episode of BBC's documentary Welcome to Lagos. It show cased the lifestyle of people living on a dump site in Lagos. They live and work on the dumpsite. A friend of mine came to my house and saw it and went off on a rant about how this 'oyibo' people will not go and do a documentary on Brixton and Peckham and leave us alone. I felt sad in that instant because I realise that a lot of Nigerians would believe that and say that, because unfortunately I disagree. I do not believe that anything in that documentary was exaggerated. It is simply the reality of Nigeria, and trust me, there are more of those people, more of people that have to go through that every single day than those of us on Twitter and using the hash tag. The presumption is that you're on twitter because you are 1. Basically educated enough to make your way around a social app; 2. you have a computer, internet and power supply; and or 3, you own a Smartphone of some sort which enables you have access to the internet.

There's poverty of immmense proportion in this country and it's just so sad. It's very sad and the hash tag cannot solve the problem. Singing about it and tweeting about it wont take it away.

So what WILL take it away? doing your bit. A little at time, help the person you know who can barely get by. A lot of people hardly have enough to feed, no where to sleep not to talk to expanding on their dreams. We have a lot of options available to us and there are a lot of folks out there who have nothing.Funmi Iyanda and TY Bello have Link-a-child Project and they are making a difference. The gap between the haves and the have nots needs to be bridged and its PEOPLE who care and who are willing to make a difference, not by talking, not by singing and definitely not by tweeting. By taking a positive step in the right direction. There are a whole LOT of people who are living below the poverty line. We need to help them out of the little we have. We can make a difference through wealth distribution.Please don't say you are not the one who spoilt Nigeria, don't say you are cleaner or better than those people who live on Kuramo Beach or who work the dumpsites. Just make a difference, no matter where you find yourself.
Believe me, that 500naira you are about to use to buy a gossip magazine, a softsell, is enough to buy milk for a little baby somewhere in Makoko.


  1. tell the people! My friend told me that the welcomeToLagos doc was guilty of portraying a single story, i told him he was just as guilty to watch it and take away the single story of overhyped poverty, these were people making the best of horrible situations, not waitin around for non existent welfare packages but literally turning filth into gold.

  2. There is are reasons why I love u and call u my friend... :D and there right there... is one of them! lol

    Some Nigerians can soooo bury their heads in the sand!

  3. Hashtags are all well and good but actual action is necessary, even more important.

  4. i could not agree more! thank u, my friend !

    may i please have your permission to post this ( i'll reference ur blog of course) on facebook?

  5. yeah sure. thanx for stopping by