I worry about social media feminism discussions.

I used to wonder why some of the discussants devolve into personal insults when gender issues are discussed. After all, they are not related to the people they are arguing with, are not marrying them and may never even meet them. Then it hit me.

If we discount busybodies and general trouble makers, many people are really sensitive. It’s just the way they are wired. When they feel attacked, their response is to return fire. They are fueled by anger, pride and frustration.

It’s sad, because it means they can never come to the table of debate with honest intentions. In life, if you only want to relate with people who think like and agree with you, you will live a cloistered existence. Why do we have this obsessive desire to be right and to have the last word on social media?

I also dislike the fact that we mostly debate on social media without data. It’s such a horrible thing and doesn’t advance knowledge, only characterisations.

I guess that’s why I like Dr. Ola Brown (@NaijaFlyingDr). You may accuse her of many things, but she always has data sources to back up her arguments. Let’s leave speculation for a minute. I once asked a Lawyer to fact check divorce and abuse complaint rates in Lagos State. His findings convinced me we have deep gender issues in Lagos, at least. Those who work on VVF & child marriage in the North have their own story to tell. I have also published research on porn addiction.

I wish more people and institutions would publish their reports & surveys in easy-to-understand formats, and in bite-sized chunks on social media. Maybe when we are faced with cold data, we will stop abusing ourselves and finally confront the real issues on these online streets.

Social media is a microcosm of life. It represents a specific demographic and if you use it very regularly, it also represents you. It is no longer just online. It now impacts commerce, dating, politics and socialisation. It has become life. Many, who belong to thriving Facebook groups like The Beverage Room, Female in Nigeria or Dating & International Networking, have made real life friends from social media. They have dated people they met there. They attend events offline. They have “tribes”.

If you are forming tribes on social media, you can no longer take lightly, the level of vitriol and anger you consume here every day. This is the arena from which you choose friends. This is the place that educates and influences you. It is no longer just Twitter or Facebook. Social media’s ideology feeds you. The news you read here affects your truth about and perception of the world. It is amazing how we willingly poison the pool we all drink from.

Social media's ideology feeds you. What you read affects your truth about and perception of the world. Click To Tweet