Facebook reminds me of my village square. Lots of African literature have folktales around the village square and Facebook, to me, is our modern village square.
The village square was where people gathered after a day’s work to drink palmwine and chat with friends, to patronise the rumour-mill and sneak-a-peek at some wild lady by the corner when the wife’s home.
Children sometimes come out to play, share fake stories heard from adults as well as wild imaginations. The adolescents seek attention, sharing sweet nothings, sometimes flashing new ornaments, which evoke admiration and envy simultaneously depending on who and who is watching.
The village square was the centre of entertainment, parties and festivals. It was the place where criminals were tried and sentenced by the people. It was the place you could say anything and probably get away with it or have the king’s guard’s pick you unceremoniously afterwards.
If you lost your fame at the village square you were doomed, your reputation tarnished. Villagers would warn their children about you even if they did worse in secret. The unspoken rule was never to be caught.
So in the village square, angry wives played loyal, children were nice as long as no adult was watching. Sometimes the adult didn’t care; they’d rather wait to look down through those spectacles (that always seemed to hang on the tip of their noses) when your mess blows up.
The village square is where neighbours and relatives meet as they go about their daily activities, share the latest births, deaths, the peripheral how-are-you, the classic I’m fine and greet your families, till our paths cross again or not. There, homes are branded based on perception and gossip, the self-appointed jury is inaugurated, wives are picked, betrotheds are dropped, marriages made, tested, tried, marred, dissolved or resolved.
At the village square, one cannot hide if not hidden. So the way to hide is to hide what you really want hidden or stay hidden, but one cannot always stay hidden. You can be one thing out here and another in the closet; your closet is fine, as long as it’s trending.
But be wary, for whatever enters the village square is public gist, and then every person including the lunatics, dogs, chicken and creatures of the evil forest will have an opinion, even dare to cast a judgement.
The village square is no man’s land, yet some dominate it, share the controlling thoughts, gist. There, culture is made, shared or changed by the people, for the people. People at the village square are a mob, some intellectuals, wisdom hairs and reckless necks, a curious mix, a mumbo jumbo, a juggle in a box of human persons bound by a thread of beliefs, fears, location, attributes, values and vanities.
Facebook is like my village square; it is our village square.
What’s on your mind?
Any news trending today?
What did they wear to the party?
I used a nice toilet, share, like, tag!
Here you say what’s on your mind, stupid or not, hoping it makes you popular as you check your like count. Wawuu! Uncle de-DM slider, weh done sir! Profile scanner, face on da beat, brows on fleek, filter chic, pepper-them-gang, yellow in the morning, black in the night…private chatting with the cute stranger…hmmm.
Children are lost in this Facebook square, so mummy comes online…can’t see the kids in the stream of groups…oops! Block? Click!
Facebook is our new village square, but like my village square, what happens out there is not as important as what happens at home. We eat at home and get counselled before heading to the square, remembering the son of whom you are, for punishments were real and happened at odd hours sometimes…lol.
Mind your business in this our village square. Keep what’s private private, or those who praised you will also raze you. It’s not about the village square; it’s about you. Find your centre not at the square, but in your centre, your heart, your GOD.
Remember the son of whom you are, the child of God. You are like Christ in Facebook, this village square of ours.