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Light cyber stalking- the unspoken thing we all do!

These days when you meet someone and there is an attraction from either one or both parties, there is bound to be some light cyber stalking involved. In my unresearched definition, light cyber stalking is:

“Going through someone’s social media platforms, sometimes saving their images without wanting the person to know. The aim is to satisfy your curiosity about the person.”

I purposely termed this ‘light cyber stalking’ because there is the unpleasant definition of cyber stalking in the Oxford English dictionary, which is described as:

“The repeated use of electronic communications to harass or frighten someone, for example by sending threatening emails.”

For the purpose of this article, I humbly ask that we stick to my unresearched definition of light cyber stalking :-). And according to that one, I think most of us can agree that we have been light cyber stalked or we have light cyber stalked someone. I have had a couple of suitors go on a ‘research exercise’ by viewing my social media platforms as a means to satisfy their curiosity about who Bongeka is, some even to the extent of saving my photos on their phones…hmmmmm still not comfortable with the latter part!

I have also been on a social media expedition, seeking to satisfy my curiosity about my crush-lol yep and after disclosing this to a few friends, guess what I discovered? That we all in this together comrades! Hahaha… I have come to learn the comforting truth that a  couple of my friends also cyber stalk their ‘crushes’. For example, they look at photos dated 2010, investigate the females in these photos, interrogate dress codes, find out where they like hanging out, how they think and what they like.

Light cyber stalking is a new way of gathering information about someone in the digital age. Though this seems like an innocent exercise, my slight concern is that it may lead us to form inconclusive perceptions about people. A friend of mine shared an example of wrong perceptions being formed about people on social media. She echoed that, if you are a woman in her late twenties and your social media is flooded with images of your frequent fine dining visits, trips with the girls around the world, looking good and always posting about how glorious life is, you will be placed in a category of people called ‘abathanda izinto’ (loosely translated to mean those who love and consume the finer things in life). She continued to say some men will even go to the extent of being intimidated to approach you because they feel you will be high maintenance and ‘not’ wife material-whatever that means!

In my own light cyber stalking, I have also formed exaggerated conclusions about my crush’s photos and status updates, sometimes to a point of working myself up over nothing. Since most people are doing this already, I started this dialogue to say it’s OKAY! lol, and as we continue with our light cyber stalking journeys we need to employ self-control and do it in a manner that serves to appreciate the existence of another glorious being!

 

Image courtesy: http://marcellapurnama.com/by-the-way-stalking-is-fun/

Let activism live beyond the BIG campaigns…

I was watching one of my favourite talk shows recently and one of the guest speakers said something profound. I won’t get into the detail of his statement but the key thing he was trying to raise awareness about was that, collective societal transformation is more powerful and sustainable when we recognise that it starts as an internal individual journey.

I loved his rendition and felt he gave language to some thoughts that have been on my mind around activism.

I think we can agree to a certain extent that, the influence of social media platforms in our generation has created more leeway for people to be ‘activists’ in the comfort of their own homes. Whether this form of activism is effective or not, is still a question that needs answers.

I really love the following definition of what activism is- “Activism is quite simply taking action to effect social change; this can occur in a myriad of ways and in a variety of forms. Often it is concerned with ‘how to change the world’ through social, political, economic or environmental change. This can be led by individuals but is often done collectively through social movements” (http://www.permanentculturenow.com/what-is-activism/).

I think in the world there is a general sense that people really do want to see “change” and by this, I mean, people want good change that enhances their humanity and doesn’t violate their human rights. The one major concern is that, in bringing about this change in most cases, the focus is heavily external. E.g. people embark on these massive marches and run various social media campaigns to create awareness about a social ill with the ultimate end goal of bringing about change in that social ill.

Social media has made activism more profound also in that as we become more of a global village, we begin to stand for the same social causes regardless of where we are in the world. This has been translated in the form of social media campaigns such as #BlackLivesMatter; #PrayForParis; #BringBackOurGirls; #16 days of activism for no violence against women and children.

These social activism campaigns are good but I think wisdom keeps shouting at us that real change is an internal journey of multiple interventions happening over a consistent and long period of time. It’s not a one-time event but a deliberate continuous process.

I am aware of a few people who consistently post impressive and philosophical things on social media to a point where that’s all they do. They don’t embark on any social action about what they post.

My enjoy life tip is this- Yes, it’s good to be a member of some society transforming organisation, it’s good to be part of social media campaigns and raise all sort of awareness about various economic, political, social and work issues, but I also think it’s not only about what you say and post but what you DO!

A true activist is somebody that puts their zeal/passion into action. If you really want to redress an issue, in the spaces that you find yourself in, do something. But more importantly, let it start with you, don’t say one thing and live another. Lead by example and let activism first start in you and eventually it will pour externally- AMANDLA!

 
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