History never really says goodbye.
History says, ‘See you later.’ – Eduardo Galeano
I once had an honest conversation with a bunch of family friends when we had gathered around and we were delving into the issues of privacy, comparing back then and now; about the prevalent nature of stuff like leaks and happenings all over the world going viral on social media.
The argument on the table was that the generation before us equally did the good, the bad and the ugly like we are doing now but just didn’t have the tech we have in our generation to put it all out there; in other words, they didn’t have the spotlight as we do now.
The whole thing popped up in my mind when the demonstration on KNUST’s campus went viral on Twitter and other media platforms via videos and pictures from all angles and all corners of the university, capturing the events and immortalizing the incident forever on the universal web that is the internet.
It got me wondering, how much have lost concerning the past and our history just because these things that have become a normality in our time and day weren’t available then?
Remember the unfortunate event of the infamous Hurricane Katrina incident? In the first place, in relation, the ‘Eyes in the Sky’ article that talks about the evolutionary trajectory that satellites have taken and how that now it is possible to even detect a natural disaster and the scale of it before it hits, there would have been early signs and warnings for the people in that vicinity to if not be prepared at all, have an idea of what was going to happen and what they were possibly going to do about that.
If it did happen regardless of the organizations that exist in this day and age with the technological aid that they possess had existed in that timeline perhaps the aftereffects of the hurricane wouldn’t have been so painstakingly slow and devastating. Lives would have been saved and more aid handed out to the people in need.
The beautiful thing that social media brings to the table in times like this is using it as a platform to share our personal experiences with these kinds of things and relate it with the people most affected providing in a sense the reassurance that they may have lost their stuff but ultimately they still have life and they are not alone.
For some weird reason, social media has broken the diverse borders between ethnicity, culture, color, and race and has brought more people together. It has proved that no matter how far away someone might be it is possible to be a beacon of hope to others and in a sense shows the better side of humanity.
In this part of our world, history is everything. It is the most magical thing to sit at a round table and listen to the conquests of a nation or a people in ancient times. The sentiment that comes with it is one that money cannot buy. But I recently watched a video where native Ghanaians were being asked who brought cocoa to our nation; it was a sad thing to watch seeing what looked like the apparent younger generation give all kinds of answers in their bid to get the issue of their chest.
It’s funny until it isn’t when you think about it. These are things that are taught in our basic schools and junior high schools so if school-going children cannot answer questions about their homeland then I shudder to think about what the future will look like.
I think for the most part it is sad that our history has a nation that has a whole lot of gaps and just a select few legends possess the knowledge of what happened back in the day.
Imagine if all these people were gathered to tell their stories in a way that is social media friendly that would engage the youth. We’d know more about ourselves because the truth is we are lacking when it even comes to knowing where our home towns are, to speak of the nation in itself.
In the words of Stefan, a good friend of mine ‘I was a man who lost his heritage and his kingship, a tooth which lost its root and its crown.’ And that in itself speaks of the missing pieces that if things like social media had existed back then would have been different.
Of course, it hasn’t come with no ill will. The argument continues and day in day out we see evidence of the evil social media can evoke if left untamed. In our generation, things like sex tape leaks and confidential conversations coming into the light in the face of the public have assumed a norm.
Just recently there was the circulation of an apparent video of musician ‘Wendy Shay’ being caught in bed with Artist manager ‘Bullet’ and it went all over in a space of minutes. What we do realize here is that everything is a double-edged sword and in the same vein that it could help back then, it being present here plays a bit of a detrimental role.
But the issue is not about trying to get the youth to not patronize social media. It’s about the moderation of the content that is consumed there and that comes down to the individual.
Because on those same platforms, organizations like Apple launch their new products and we have the privilege of watching and drawing conclusions for ourselves.
I am convinced of two things; history said see you later for us to be able to witness what we couldn’t see for ourselves then in our time, culture and generation.
And the second is the fact that whether we like it or not, social media has an invisible hand in making that happen for us. Like Richard Brautigan, I say ‘all of us have a place in history. Mine is in the clouds.’