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How social media is Defining a Generation of Young Africans.

March 27, 2022 By Chukky Derrick

In the early 2000s when the first markings of the social web was set these where basically static websites that allowed users to simply send messages or in better terms to ‘interact’ with one another as this was the highlight of web 2.0 as of the time. In the earlier days of the internet or world wide web as of the time the internet was just being birthed as of the time and people/companies just wanted to go online for the sake of it i.e., having a digital face. The rise of prominent founders like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey of Twitter were the highlights of the birth of this new generation or better still, millennium. Connectivity is the new norm and has become ever so integrated that it’s hard to think of a regular day without the use of the internet, from sending emails, instant messaging to tweeting the world is now closer than it has ever been.

Here in Africa, the social media trend has also caught the attention of the much younger generation. The rise of insant messengers like 2go, Nimbuzz and Snaptu were the first markers to show the potential to be much effectively utilized by the teaming youth of the continent. Apart from channels and streams in the lights of network marketing on social media which is the new revolution in markedly not just the younger population but in organisations as well. This trend in general was largely purported in the year 2020 by the novel coronavirus pandemic which forced the whole country into lockdown and people were forced to work from home and in this light many people who did not know that there was a thing like remote working were just finding out for the first time.

Social media in Africa and the workplace

Apart from TikTok shorts showing and highlighting workplace experiences social media in Africa is immensely revolutionising how work is done. Promotions, social media marketing and online campaigns, surveys are just a select few of the constructs in one of the major ways social media has improved human communication both in the workplace and outside the workplace.

 A major disrupt in Africa is in the health sector which in the past health practitioners needed to leave the workplace and hit the streets in ‘door-to-door’ campaigns to enlighten the masses on health wise benefits and smart decisions to boost and maintain optimum healthcare. These campaigns are now made in the office via social media channels. The younger generation are more or less the spearheads of this new narrative in social media platforms and the workplace. Social media apps like Instagram live streams have replaced word of mouth means of passing information and has the greater propensity to attract and produce even better results than traditional means of reach. This is one of the many advantages of what social media is in Africa today.

Social media
most popular social media channels across the world | source : Addthis

Social Media is reducing unemployment in Africa

In countries like Nigeria with a massive youth population and crippling rate of unemployment in the country fresh graduates out of school with little to no prospects have turned into full blown entrepreneurs with the leverage of social media. Youths now have the capability to create businesses from the confines of their homes, this is again another one of the major advantages of social media in Africa. Activities like remote working and freelancing via channels where youths can acquire gigs via social media channels like LinkedIn to network and make new connects.  

Disadvantages of social media among Young Africans.

With work now taken online these young generation now has the capacity to become founders and CEOs of startups and ventures with very little capital or resources, accessing billions of active users across the world. Though social media has been listed with many a great advantage social media sure has its disadvantages and call me primitive for saying this but in Africa most of the so-called disadvantages are in a ‘cultural’ and ‘traditional’ scheme of things but apart from that, there are the basic and common ones, most importantly the effect on mental health today. With the rising rates of depression from social media addiction among young Africans due to impressionable and flaky social media constructs youths now create air-brushed perfections of themselves online. These ‘profiles’ do not tell the whole story of the user and certain cases are even fabricated, a user upon seeing these profiles begins to feel pressure to keep up with something that does not exist.

The disadvantages of social media effects among young Africans in recent times can be said to have been outnumbered by the positives because in environment where one can hardly find a decent job social media in Africa is actually doing a very fine job of bridging the gap, bringing people closer and scaling SMEs and businesses to profitable levels, these in turn has birthed a limitless new generation with a much bolder voice where a lot of things were very much limited. This new generation via social media has access to tons of information at the ready at their fingertips. A limitless and free generation is going to be one of the best developmental progress on the continent, the latter would then birth the rest of much needed progress be it economical or at a global scale at large.

Social media in Africa is fast spreading as people are getting more acquainted to the internet like never before via their smartphones and with businesses going digital and online it’s very important to note that we are witnessing a swiftly progressing Africa which is mainly spearheaded by its teeming younger populace and the continent in general needs to accept this new divulge and create even better grounds for it to thrive and nurture not just for the betterment of the continent but for its youth in general. Africa has some of the countries in the world with the fastest GDP growth as a rating factor and its safe to say that its youth with the power of social media and the internet have played a major hand in the attracting of foreign investors to the continent which in turn boosts productivity and development.

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