The Zuckerville congressional show
We are all citizens and we love it. Our passports are constantly updated pictures, videos, live coverage of our humdrum lives. We chat on it; we depend on it to reconnect with friends and classmates we haven’t heard of since graduation, we spy on frenemies just to know what they’re up to and when they’re likely to attack. Wives are on it to check what husbands are doing, gauge whether or not they have forgotten their marital vows or cohabitation rules. Jealous husbands monitor their wives’ friends at least to prevent hitting close to home. Parents use it as passports to curb the excesses of their teenagers.
Of course you know what I’m talking about because you are one of 100 million Zuckervillers out there. You might have voted Trump, Magufuli or Buhari at the last election, but your real loyalty is to Mark Zuckerberg, the maverick drop out who has given us an addiction worse than cocaine, heroine and all hallucinogens put together. It’s called Facebook. Of late you have expressed disappointment.
Disappointed in what and over what, if I may ask you? Mark Zuckerberg did not invite you, you begged him to sign you on. You pasted all your details there and the moment you put your first post; made your first like and/or made the first friend; I put it to you that you knew what you were up to. You knew that your so-called privacy is compromised.
It’s been compromised before you met Zuckerberg. When you opened the first e-mail address, those stuff in fine print you signed without reading because you were too eager to get on the information superhighway, they gave you out. And I have news for you - ignorantia juris non excusat! Yes, that’s Latin and it means - ignorance of the law is not an excuse so please just give me a break about deactivating your Facebook account. If you lived anywhere you’ll need Messenger for that free chat with your relative in the habroad, and you need Whatsapp too to keep in touch with those community association and alumni members - so stop the posturing.
If you deactivate your precious Facebook profile because it was compromised or harvested by CambridgeAnalytica and sold to satan and the angels, you’re still not free! They knew where you went yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that. Yes, they’ve been watching you from the day you eagerly registered your SIM card and went home with the latest handset. If need be, they’ll plot your graph since then and be very afraid what it’ll reveal - to your snoopy spouse or your overbearing boss. Here is the good news - that information is safe. They won’t be revealed to your partner to speed up that divorce proceeding, or likely given to your employer to speed up your termination. So, just relax, reactivate your Facebook and keep bathing in the sea of narcissism.
Of course you know your silent protest is mere posturing. You know you’d like everyone you’ve ever contacted to know that your son or daughter has graduated or gained admission into a school. You know you count the number of likes when you nod your head like the agama lizard at the number of likes to your birthday even though you were born at midnight. Your wedding anniversary is round the corner and you’re not buying a second honeymoon ticket to Dubai or Cuba, so you’ll make your spouse’s head swell with the number of likes to the picture of the anniversary cake you ate alone with your better half. You want as many of those like buttons as Sai Baba would need Kano votes, so please stop pretending. Addicts that we are-all hooked and loving it.
We know there’s another world, untouched by our narcissism, one where parents don’t advertise the larger-than-life image they want us to have of themselves and the qualified and unqualified privileges of their immediate family members. That world is the real jungle, not the concrete ones we live in. It is made of mud and thatched roof or makeshift tents that could be dismantled in a heartbeat. There are no traffic jams except of black ants in their file, you are free from racist police and the overbearing uniformed person. The only things you need to keep eyes out for are the few remaining wild animals and poisonous snakes, spiders and other ruminants. But if you found it, you’re likely to stay away from it.
In the jungle, you tend to breathe better because by the time the smoke from the occasional plane touches down, its poison has been tethered. However such destinations are becoming legendary. If you find one, you’re pretty likely to snap pictures of it and post it - yes - on Facebook. Your envious friends are likely to take up the challenge, find it, and invite themselves and their friends to follow your footsteps. Subsequently, one American business mogul is likely to find a figurehead government official and soon there’ll be bulldozers, cranes and payloaders chopping down the trees, exterminating the insects and trophy-hunting the wild cats in the name of tourism. Even your Eden could not survive the Zuckerberg effect.
At last week’s Congressional hearing, Mark was described as an icon of American business success. Remembering that the State Department casually said a few weeks back it would ask for access to social media content of visa applicants; listening to the patronising questions from a usually robust congress members; it is obvious that the biggest mole on planet earth and beyond wants cooperation and not condemnation. It may retort, like Trump if it doesn’t have its way, but Zuckerberg and Zuckerville are a great source of privileged information useful to big brother and its allies. Your Facebook content is yours, but not the page. So, you’re in deeper than you think. Yes, Big Brother knows what you did last summer; it knows where you went last night and where you are right now and you can do nothing about it, so embrace it!