Discovering the joys of using Facebook
THE UGANDA RECORD, Wednesday, 17th March 2010
I must say I have become an ardent Facebook user. It’s a tool that can be used well or misused.
Recently I posted a comment on the Kampala Facebook page that while Kampala is a joyful city bustling with activity, one is astounded by the level of poverty and hopelessness the moment he or she makes a step out. This realisation is more absorbent the moment one hits a bit of the rural areas. I was engaged by three people who held opposing opinions. I re-emphasised my point.
I had my early childhood in beautiful Kabale but on my latest visit there, I was appalled to see it seemed to have been downgraded to a trading center. The road from Masaka to my hometown of Mbarara was a nightmare to travel yet it is traveled by the powerful in the political leadership of the country, and I shuddered to imagine the state of the other roads they never see.
How those in charge can let roads to decay to such a level is a shame and an indication of the level of their concern for the country. Roads and communication are so crucial in development and any country that does not attend to them will struggle to attain a certain level of development.
It is very difficult to find such a poor state of roads out of Uganda. I have not been to the war-hit north but I can only imagine the pity it must be. The erstwhile vibrant industrial city of Jinja has now become a sleeping oldie. Maybe our leaders have a reason to stymie development. Beyond the façade that a common visitor to Uganda sees, there is absolute misery and a state of despair.
This brings me to the role of technology in the modern world. Facilities like Facebook have become powerful tools for disseminating information. Opinions can be shared freely without being censored or requiring editorial approval and more importantly, messages can be beamed across the world instantly.
Nowadays one does not have to check the newspapers to get the latest happening. I learnt of the Bududa landslide through Facebook. Long opinions can be written as ‘Notes’ and besides one can upload almost anything for everybody to see.
Politicians who are awake have not fallen behind on this new trend. We all remember how Barack Obama and his team made full use of this. In Uganda’s case, all major opposition party leaders now have Facebook pages and people across the world send them messages daily. There is no easier way for a politician to get direct opinion from people than through this facility.
Churches, organisations, businesses and academic institutions have not been left behind.
There are many people, especially of the older generation, who have only viewed Facebook as just a social network for youngsters. I am sorry to say they are missing the point.
Facebook can be used in whatever way one chooses to. Some people share jokes and stories, others photos, others catch up with gossip, others discover old friends, others meet new friends, others share opinions while others build a following.
In South Africa there is a common saying that walala wasala – you snooze, you lose. So let them lala.
What I enjoy is that I was able to express my opinions on Facebook and engage freely with people I don’t know. That’s now the beauty of technology. I will use Facebook more ardently.
Stephen Twinoburyo, Pretoria