Social Media and Civilisation




    Once upon a time, very strong men were selected specially for message delivery by the means of donkey carts, horses and on foot. They travelled kilometers, village by village to fulfill their missions.  Some used the African traditional ways of communicating to their various communities.  This include; the beating of talking drums, (every tribe or village had their special drums), masquerades which are displayed in different forms with unique purpose for each incidence were commonly used.  The most interesting was the use of birds which was believed to be associated with witchcraft or magic.

    When there was good or bad news, certain signs were used as indicator; the nature of the mean used to communicate tells what kind of news it was.  “And if the news was related to dead or calamity, all kids were taken to the next village [or compound as the case may be] whilst the elderly attend to the matter,” said one Sonko Sulayman Badjie, a 96-year-old native of Ebo Town.

    Besides the traditional ways of communicating, man was using his normal means to communicate to distant relatives, which was slow but among the few means of communication. Badjie shared asserted that academic lessons, especially in The Gambia, were written on walls, trees and later on blackboards to teach students who wrote their notes on leaves, carved woods driven from trees or on stones. Then the Madrassa system was more common in Senegambia.

    Our fore-fathers survived with this system for ages, then the human thought of better ways of communicating and teaching the young. The pen/paper system and postmen letter delivery were introduced. Students started to do their work in black and white, go for field research and consult teachers to advance their studies. On the other hand, man began to communicate to far relatives by paying a postman for the service but despite the new ideas, it still took days for the mails to reach their destinations.

    Journalists, been the people who create awareness, educate and entertain the world, started writing and publishing relevant information needed by the public within a day or two when the newspaper was invented. Then the radio came to existence and man could listen directly from the source and get updated as soon as possible. Everyone was happy and comfortable with the beautiful innovations.  With time, telephones and televisions made things much easier for we could make and receive calls from afar, hear and see what was happening in different parts of the planet and as well use these medium to communicate.

    I believe success is all about creativity, innovation and growing other people. The individuals who discovered internet communication system have dissolved all boundaries and transformed the world to a global village which is a great achievement.  Computers became more useful and we could send information through email. Mobile phones came in and we talk to people around the world anytime, anywhere.

    Moreover, this has created awareness and keeps everybody informed, job opportunities for those working with companies or institutes dealing with communication machines and Information Technology such as mobile phones, ipads, Tablets and Laptops among other gadgets that have all facilities with access to internet connection.

    As we use the internet for different purposes, people are able to do their personal business, chart with friends and family on Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, Skype and Viber, the list goes on.  Many get news and updates while others use it for official or business transactions like buying stuff online with credit cards, booking air tickets and marketing. The work of the press also became simpler for they now use little man power to get information around the world; correspondents provide timely news to their media while in different destinations.

    Apart from the aforementioned, the education sector has also improved to excellence. With technology and introduction of technical knowhow in schools, students do most of their assignments online or copy notes in flash drives/gardgets which ease their work and that of lecturers. Handouts are provided in both hard and soft copies for students and most researches are now done on Google and other sites of the internet.

    The youth that are not going to any form of school also have knowledge of technology with the influence of mobile phones, social media and the rest of its kind to run businesses and communicate to folks. Some of them get job opportunities by operating cyber cafes where many other youth buy time to run their errands.

    Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, a young man running a Cyber Cafe confessed that he has never been to formal school, but has managed to run the Café and now teaching many youth the basics of internet and Microsoft.  “I believe being in line with the world is not part of going to formal school but with civilization,” he asserted.

    The most special benefit for students is the scholarship opportunities they come across to further their education abroad. Today, out of the number of Gambian students in the Diaspora, a huge number of them are beneficiaries of scholarship offers either through the government or individual influence through the internet.  This has contributed immensely to the development of the country’s education sector.

    As creative minds are coming together, more ideas are introduced into social media and our world, now in one touch!

    by Saffiatou Colley