Joining social networks via the internet has become a highly contagious trend in Botswana lately; there is simply no disputing it. The amazing thing is that it’s not just amongst the youth; the trend has spread to the elderly as well.
Almost every student within a tertiary institution and above has a facebook account, while most office workers log into the different networking sites from time to time as a way of distraction. Although careful observation would point out facebook as the most popular networking site locally and internationally, Batswana have familiarized themselves with other networks such as tagged, edumela, skype, bebo and hi 5 to name a few.
It turns out there are quite a number of reasons why individuals prefer to join sites rather than get their mail straight from yahoo or gmail.
Most of those who form the facebook majority claim it provides them with more information about the person they are interested on checking, this could either be a long lost friend or a new love interest. The sites also allow one to post up as many pictures as they want to, without restriction of abuse on any material. Many people have revealed their surprise at coming across some of their old school friends ten years later.
According to some American tabloids, there are a number of people in America and elsewhere that met through the net for the first time and ended up getting married in real life. America has an overwhelming number of different sites, the biggest being facebook and myspace which have also found their way over here.
Therefore it’s not unusual for people to browse the net in hope of finding a life partner or targets for a series of one night stands. Majority of cautious individuals in America have learnt to only accept friend requests from people they know. Whereas in Botswana, one would accept friend requests from people they don’t know just to increase their friends list.
As is human nature, there will be strangers that one gets along better than others with and an emotional bond is born. Now in most scenarios the stranger will be from the same city as you, they are funny in their photo comments and from what you see are quite attractive, and as you chat you notice how interesting they actually are. To a certain point, they are able to bring a smile on your face when you are down, you are lonely and feel that you have a special connection, whether its friendship wise or relationship wise.
The feeling is apparently mutual, what should you do? Do you risk ruining the perfect image you had for the stranger by finally deciding to meet and finding out how you click outside the network? Or do you continue treasuring the special connection by restricting net friends to the net while continuing living your life the way you normally do?
But isn’t it that in real life you could become the best of friends if you were to meet. But why exactly were social networks created. Another interesting observation would be when one tries to terminate their personal account with a particular network, the survey would ask you questions like: why are you canceling your account? Is it because you have (a) too many friend requests, (b) another account on the same network (c) met someone….
In a random interview carried out by the Sunday Standard, it was revealed that most people are frequent users of the much publicized favourite: facebook.
Malebogo Dintle, a third year student at Limkokwing says that she has been a member of facebook, tagged, hi5, skype and edumela since last year, but she preferred facebook. According to her, most people surfing the net are shallow, especially men, regarding how they would only be interested in someone if their profile picture is pretty or attractive.
“Sometimes I will get guys offering me their phone numbers and sending me countless friend requests that I just ignore. I only joined the net so I could chat with some of my friends overseas,” says Dintle.
While Joe Hans (not his real name), 26, says he lives off social networks because he can easily pick up girls from the sites. According to him, girls easily fall for his charms and all he had to do is pass them his number through the sites and they would talk about when to meet.
‘Listen, girls who declare their single status on social networks are desperate, they need a man’s attention, who am I to deny them that chance? (He laughs). Plus it doesn’t hurt that I am quite handsome,” said Hans.
Wendy Keatla, 19, says she had quite a number of friends she met through social networks. They were bought together by their love for partying and having fun. They don’t complicate things but meeting for coffee or something else they don’t have in common. Imagine her surprise when she found out she was actually in the same classes as some of her network acquired friends.
“I saw their pictures in facebook, the crazy things they got up to and I was enthralled, now we send each other invitations to parties and even attend some together; its just bliss,” said Keatla.