Is Social Media Revolutionizing The Term “Stranger”?

Last Saturday, I was at a wedding event that sentenced a close buddy to life imprisonment in marriage.

*insert appropriate emoji here*

Is my mantelligence narrow, or has anyone else ever realized that only the married squirrels hurl themselves under cars’ wheels?

Well, at a wedding where the only person who knows you is the groom – with whom we’ve been buddies in campus – banter can be such a nightmare. It’s worse when the ceremony is an invite-only one.

Picture this; paired up couples all over the place, plastic smiles and no Wi-Fi. Some situations make you discover how you’re too single for weddings. Well, there was this one who offered me a seat near her, at the reception. However, she looked like just being polite; no intentions of being friends. From there it was a downward spiral into that familiar smorgasbord of silent awkwardness with her until I recognized her from her personal Facebook page. Quite active on social media, I remembered posts on her personal affairs that she publicly shared on social media.

Wait. We’d even had a chat on Messenger the previous week. She knew I’d battled writer’s block sometime in the past by making short notes off a book on baby names. On the other hand, I knew how she hates the government – “the government is so poor at telling lies, why can’t it learn from my boyfriend?” – just from her Facebook posts. Suddenly we had something in common; that same thing we hate.

Yet, since I sat there with that ‘stranger’, I’ve thought of how social media has greatly changed the way we view strangers. Parents of teens these days are worried about two things: what their sons download and what their daughters upload. We share so much about ourselves subconsciously to strangers online. That stretches from what I think of the weather on Facebook to the other extreme of photos of your supper on Instagram. I accept that it’s debatable how I think photos of body parts and fake eyebrows are less gross than those of your untouched food. But that’s topic for the other day.

Either way, going by the testimony of my barber, using the right emojis can turn online strangers into friends as miraculously as Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. I’ve also witnessed people blossom from strangers to couples. I’ve even watched some degenerate from social media stagger into the friend zone too. After all, strangers are friends waiting to happen. Then they become friends, and then we look for more strangers and the cycle continues…

Some have even made it a profession. A strange-preneur is the business of getting the attention of strangers on social media and even planning strange things with them. Like street protests, health bill fund-raisings and house parties. Social media in the same vein is the strange part of media. That’s me leaving you with something to think about.

Otherwise, like your mama always said, ‘take care’. You can talk to strangers. Everyone is trying to sell you something. That includes me too.

phone.gif

This piece by Joe first appeared in the Capital Campus magazine on February 18, 2017.

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