Social media is the new big brother

By Staff reporter | 03 Mar 2019 at 18:38hrs
Social media
Zimbabweans, most of whom are not employed, have found a pastime on social media networks where they are brewing all sorts of social skits and jokes.

They have all the time in the world as they have no promising prospect of finding a job soon.

And this supports the old adage that an idle mind is devil's workshop because some of the productions they are creating and posting online are naughty, malicious and dangerous.

The problem with this kind of content is that it is undiluted and off-the-mark.

In rare cases, it speaks truth to power, hence exposing some dubious characters along the way.

The major casualties in most of the skits and sick jokes are politicians, celebrities and in recent months soldiers and the police.

I remember that in the old days even when social media hadn't been introduced in the country there were mischievous individuals who were good at creating jokes around popular figures and these would be shared at bottle stores, baby showers and other social gatherings.

One of the personalities who found his name mudded everywhere was the late politician and vice president of Zimbabwe, Simon Muzenda.

Not that Zimbabweans hated him, NO. But he was a character that depicted the old school of thinking and the jokes portrayed him as ‘backward'.

And Muzenda knew about the multitude of jokes that circulated around his name and persona, hence always jokingly brushed them aside — it made him even more popular as a social sarcasm character.

Everything Muzenda touched or said was turned into a joke.

But Muzenda was lucky that social media hadn't arrived at our doorstep!

Social media platforms have also destroyed the myth that only ZBCTV is able to screen events live, be it news, live debates or any other special arrangements.

Zimbabweans can now watch live events on social media platforms and it's cheap.

Opposition political parties such as the MDC which had for years been barred from ZBCTV have also suddenly found a ready platform with its leader Nelson Chamisa being a beneficiary as he screens his own talk shows.

And because of social media, government departments, especially the military and police have recently been found wanting.

While they can dish out their propaganda and spin story events on ZBCTV, today there is social media to correct them instantly.

With the emergence of the citizen journalist who uses his/her phone to record videos and take photographs, recordings can now come from any part of the country and they can be instant as events unfold.

Social media has given government a torrid time as it has turned out to be the Big Brother; watching and recording every evil perpetrated mostly by those in authority.

There was a time that government ministers and officials continued to insist that fuel in the country was abundant when the opposite was true on the ground.

What happened? Social media began to release videos shot from all over the country of fuel queues snaking kilometres on end. The expose was embarrassing because of the V11!

While the security forces tried to deny any wrongdoing — shootings and beatings — during the August 1 and January 14 violence that rocked the nation, the videos that were produced by the citizen journalist were overwhelming.

The live footages exposed the atrocities by the army and police, hence exposing the blatant lies by those who are supposed to protect us and abide by the rule of law.

Social media has also made the job at ZBCTV very hard as spinning the truth of events happening on the ground becomes harder by each day.

And I am imagining how much live footage would have been shot had Gukurahundi happened in today's era. Unfortunately while there are eye witnesses, future generations would have learnt a lot about this massacre had there been something on tape!

And we recently had the #CharityCharambaChallange, a challenge in which social media users told outrageous lies as they emulated ZRP national police spokesperson senior assistant commissioner Charity Charamba's press conference where she had rubbished as fake a video which showed police officers and a soldier brutally assaulting a handcuffed civilian.

The challenge, however, had its casualties as Bustop TV (an online TV station) had its cast comprising comedians Gonyeti and Maggie arrested after they released a skit on the subject while donning what looked like police uniforms.

They were, however, made to pay $20 fines for wearing police uniforms without the permission of the police.

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