It started like a harmless fun. A harmless fun any rational man will find agreeable. I mean being a member of that bright, bruising, beautiful and bracing online community of chattering classes. To salvage my ebbing ego, I became a reluctant conscript into the platoon of online glory seekers called Facebookers. To many starry-eyed and bewitched fame seekers, Facebook is a hot platform. To me it is over-rated, over-bearing, intrusive, gossipy, divisive, controlling, thought numbing, marketing-oriented, immoral, crowded and addictive. It encourages our longing for nostalgia, searching out and material and social comparison.
It inflames our craving to be seen, heard, appreciated and even respected. It turns us into zombie peeping toms forever looking to see what our friends, colleagues, girlfriends, wives and enemies are up to.
With Facebook, we submit to the errant conduct of virtue, vice, pride, lies, deceit, hypocrisy and cyber flirting. With our modem, we can now connect with a Facebook glamour-model that encourages our voyeurism, our libido and our appetite for bohemia. There, you will meet Lotharios with baby-lotion smooth skin and eyes crying for ravishment. It is a place where we put our best mask on. It is a place where we hunt for willing damsels to add to the treasure trove of our philandering.
To my wise eyes, Facebook is where we swing from nothing into something within minutes of uploading a new set of grinning pictures of our moment of good times in the company of friends and families. It is where you will find long lost charmers begging for a comeback. It is where perpetrators meet their victims and on bended knees beg for forgiveness while invoking the alibi of juvenility as the devil behind their timeless evil.
It is the place where faceless cowards turn into over-bearing, confident tricksters. That is where Akoni will meet his conman. Believe it, it is where the blind maga will find a stealth, stalking scammer. It is the insufferable heaven to those who want to feed their ego and line it on the cyber highway of endless but fruitless search for fame, fun and frolic. It is equally a place where one can tap into and harness the enormous human resources scattered all over the world. It is one of the greatest vehicles to act as agent of change in a fading, degenerate and unhappy world.
My initial cynicism and trepidation of the monster of online engagement melted into thin air the moment I began to lap the razzle-dazzle atmosphere of Facebook platform. I began to embrace Facebook warmly as a God-sent anchorage to hone my social skill, advertise my intellect, connect the connectables, engage the engageables and learn new vocabularies from network gentries. The auguries of social dilemma that lay ahead had not taken any form. My rubber has not yet meets the road. I thought I was winning in the thought-for-thought combat war of the Facebook platoon.
Then a rootless, raw, core, Facebook apostle called Tony Cash heralded himself into my wall asking for friendship. His profile holds nothing deep about him. I learned my first online lesson. Facebook is a small world where the pedigreed comingle with the rootless in a happy, real time of harmless fun and frolics. Then my zippy, dippy Tony Cash began to act like a despot on my wall, plastering it with all kinds of fanciful, flesh-and-blood distillation of odd pictures and stories. First, he sent some male performers yanking their crotches. Then another set of black women dancers in flexing thongs as they rolled their ikebe in authentic Makosa rotation before the cameras.
I learned my second lesson. Facebook is a place of colliding paradigms where the primitive hordes with nasty, perverted heart can co-opt you into the roll of pornographic dishonour. Then the greatest storm of it all hit me like a tornado. He plastered the erect phallic symbol of a rap artist on my wall. A woman may fantasise at the sight of a shattering 9incher in its turgid, menacing look as a boon to her Friday night, but I found his immoral assault quite rude. Someone said it was a phallic jealousy. Probably!
I began to realise that there is no limit to what one can discover on Facebook’s info-socio democratic highway. A right turn may lead you into a world of experience and socially beneficial interpenetration. A wrong turn may land you into the realm of the absurd where a totally, unknown gnomish spirit from Lagos can steal your soul as happened to me. I met Debbie through Facebook community. It started like all good things. Harmless and entertaining. She looks fragile, funny and fabulous. She is an educated, saintly-looking woman with no obvious care in the world. Once we became friends, we got on famously without any perverse motive. After two months of boundless humour, laughter and shared wisdom of how to manage our lives, she began to get curious.
She began to speak in futuristic, uplifting and nostalgic terms about her desire to meet me anytime I visit Nigeria. Each time we collide online, her effusion is usually a projection of her cannibalistic credential. I forgot to heed the warning of Thomas Hardy that: “A lover without indiscretion is no lover at all.” She told me all the nameless horror I would be subjected to anytime I set my London foot in Lagos. Lagos, that city of endless paramour was where Ngozi once had me gagged and shamed my macho. I wil neither forget nor forgive Ngozi. Ravening, threatening and raw-boned Debbie will not gag me but has threatened to eat me like Indomie. In the passive and mysterious medium of Facebook, we are constantly faced with a state of vicarious tension. Such is the case in a real-time cyber space where we leave behind our genetic code for millions of onliners to stalk, feast and preyed upon. Help!
How do I prepare for a woman who had been slacking her carnal talent in cannibalistic terms? ‘I will eat you like Indomie…. I will eat you like Indomie…. I will eat you like Indomie….’ Believe me, when your life stagnates through the imponderable demands of mid-life reality, something ought to be out there to rekindle the back-end of middle age. Who knows if Debbie’s pre-emptive strike on my libido is what I really need to earn my badge of honour as a frontline Facebooker?