USE OF FOUL LANGUAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

It is not uncommon for certain persons to heap gutter language on fellow panelists on social media. These persons may include individuals we wrongly confirm as friends on Facebook or even former school-mates and childhood peers. We thought we knew these people but really, how well do you know a person you lost contact with decades ago? Save for the advent of identity thieves, hackers and email harvesters, the best friends I have now are persons I met in the virtual world of social media. So, when an individual chooses to define and describe you in unholy adjectives rather than the subject under discuss, what do you do? I have used the method of protesting to my adversary but does

this approach always work? How about deleting his offensive comment....since afterall you own the thread and the onus lies on you to keep it neat? What if the guy hounds you to your inbox and continues his tirade there....often using a fake account if you had already blocked him? A certain guy who claims to be a doctor actually did this to me! A Christian guy labelled me a muslim terrorist for commenting on Israeli "exploits" in Gaza....while on another thread, a muslim described me as a Christian terrorist for disagreeing with him! Now, must I be qualified so ingloriouly for having a dissenting opinion? And yet as I protested to another panelist on a doctors' group, his reply was something like...."Tosin, each time I see you lodge these funny protests, I just laugh. Look! This is social media and you better get used to it!" This is supposedly from a fellow professional colleague. Just how bad can things be?! Some people are simply at ease with flinging invectives back and forth.....and may resort to blows if in physical contact with you....as we often see our legislators do! My extrapolation from all this is that some individuals are simply mannerless! Such behavioural bents compelled me to found ANALYTICAL MINDS...but had to release the following circular at some point to stamp out crudity from the group:

"GUIDES TO LEAVING A GROUP, INCLUDING THIS...
This Group was conceived to be "exclusive"....being minimal in membership.....to brainstorm among close friends trying to avoid the crudity out there on our walls. But then, the group blossomed in numbers...above 5,200 at the last count! And since we are not ruled by arrogance, we thought it wise to admit new members....so long as they abide by....and are ready to be guided by...our cherished rules!

We have observed that some members (mainly new and young ones) find it impossible to cope with our rules....and may want to leave this group. We encourage them to do so....and seek succour in "more liberal" Groups.

If I attempt the deletion of their names myself, I would need to flip through hundreds of pages to reach the names of members....especially new ones! This is costly and time-consuming. We are now very many. Facebook has no Search Feature for deleting Group members. If you have made up your mind to leave this Group:

Please do me a favour.
Go to our front page.
Scroll down and click on "Info".
Scroll down on the new page and click on "Leave Group".

On the next page that appears, place a check in the the box preventing people from re-adding you to the Group.

Then click on the "Confirm" button.
We find it necessary to make this release not out of self-conceit but to offer assistance to members whose names were added unknowingly to this Group without their prior consent. Some members may also find our Rules and Regulations "too strict"....having failed to read those rules earlier on.

Thank you for assisting.
Sincerely,

Dr Tosin Akindele
Founder, Chief Admin and Host

ANALYTICAL MINDS"

The following is another plea to a member:

"Dear Member,
Your choice of words is surprising....knowing fully well the onerous duty I have in keeping our pages neat....a sure point of attraction to intending members! No point being incorrigible in a group you entered out of your own free will and attempting to be a law onto oneself, is there? If you could yell at me and imply that I go brush up my english for the little I said, how "safe" are our other Admins in your hands? I know the signs of a difficult member...which are clear now. Please live by our rules. They've bonded us together for so long....as we increase in number by the day. Our membership is over 5,000 now....of closely-srutinized persons....because ours is an EXCLUSIVE group.The thrust of my last comment is:" We advise and insist that members refrain from using words capable of kickstarting a tirade of invectives across board..." It takes only one unguarded word to tee off a sordid criss-cross of invectives. We passed that stage eons ago. You are brilliant! But one adage says: "people get hired for aptitude but get fired for attitude". Your aptitude is not in doubt. Surely! So we are honoured to have you in our midst. My doubts reside in your attitude. I have taken the trouble to say this much because I do not see you as just any person....or member. But gone were the days when individual members felt bigger than the whole. Not even our Chief Admin would succumb to such pride. We configure this group such that other Admins can checkmate even the Chief Admin. Our hope is that this Group would outlive its founding fathers. Any member who feels he cannot be corrected is free to exit this group.

Sincerely,

Chief Admin"

.....and as the guy persisted in his tirade, not only did I politely urge him to exit our group, but my "block" button also came handy in his case....

.....for the value resides not in the number....but the quality....of members!

Dr Tosin Akindele is a Lagos-based medical practitioner, founder of Analytical Minds, good health advocate and social critic.

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Articles by Tosin Akindele