Relationships and socialmedia publicity: Will it always end in tears?
By KIRSTEN KANJA | 5 months ago
Should couples share intimate details of their love life on the Internet? What lessons can we learn from those who have? We explore
“It will end in premium tears” and “mtaachana tu” are two phrases Kenyans on social media have popularised this year to “warn” seemingly happy couples who publicise their lives on social media that they will inevitably part ways.
While the words might sound harsh or ill-spirited, the phrases are used as a warning to those blindly and blissfully enveloped by the honeymoon stages of their connection.
In this age of social media, couples that publicise their relationships expose themselves to scrutiny and mockery from the public. Some go from posting date nights to more intimate moments, laying bare even signs of trouble in paradise when they add and delete each other off their respective social media pages amid escalating arguments.
Going by recent experiences by couples in the limelight, it is more and more Kenyans on social media are coming to the conclusion that while it is not wrong to put the one you love on a pedestal and tell the world that this is your person, it is important to strike some sort of balance that will keep your experiences from the cruel judgement of the “social media family”.
Popular Youtubers Frankie “JustGymIt” Kiarie and Maureen Waititu are the latest pair to have their dirty laundry hit blogs and spread like a wildfire.
The week kicked off with the former couple’s post-break up squabbles that have involved what many say is a lack of closure and acceptance, heated arguments over time with the children, financial support and custody.
As the pair who spent six years together took to YouTube to share their sides of the story, the public made a spectacle of the parents who share two young sons.
That these public displays of bitterness and anger will forever live in our Facebook and Instagram history as well as the depths of our YouTube timelines is a constant reminder of the phrase, “the internet never forgets.”
Before that, it was the case of celebrated gospel disc jokey Samuel “DJ Mo” Muraya and his wife of seven years Linet Muraya, popularly known as Size 8 Reborn.
The drama started when infamous blogger Edgar Obare claimed the couple’s marriage was riddled with multiple infidelities, despite the picture perfect family posts they would put on social media.
In the midst of public humiliation and ridicule, the couple held a united front and took things up a notch with public displays of affection, vacationing and kissing the hot coastal days away in a reconciliatory vacation.
Another popular influencer couple recently causing a stir is Milly and Kabi of the “Wa Jesus” family. The pair documents their lives on their YouTube channel and their respective social media pages, always portraying an image of a perfect and immaculate family and never shying away from the public eye.
Recently, social media was abuzz when Kabi treated her husband to a surprise gift -- a billboard with a birthday message to celebrate his 30th birthday.
As 21st century creatures, we learn more about social media usage daily, and the prominent Internet activity by celebrities we admire and hate in equal measure should serve as a lesson on what to do and what not to do on social media.
The threat of exposure and humiliation is a constant one on the brutal World Wide Web. Coupled with other lurking downsides such as cyber-bullying, impersonation, identity theft and stalking make it crucial for social media users to be keen about what and how they post on social media in order to protect their privacy.
Rachel Machuka, a digital marketing strategist says that the biggest mistake celebrities make is giving a perfect face to the world. She says that there is a lot that happens before a photograph is taken and it is not an accurate representation of the social media user’s life.
“As they settle to take the picture, perhaps the clothes are sponsored by a shop or a designer. Maybe the photoshoot is planned too. As viewers, we keep striving to reach the levels these celebrities are portraying, and it is unrealistic,” says Machuka.
According to Machuka, social media is supposed to be a reflection of society, and this cannot be when celebrities use the sites to show off perfect lives and huge accomplishments.
“Celebrities should mind the mental health of their fans. They should paint a clearer picture that the luxurious vacations and all the success is not easy to achieve and requires hard work. This will motivate viewers rather than give them a feeling of hopelessness,” says Machuka.
Once a person posts information on a public platform, it becomes everyone business, Machuka says warning that social media users should think twice before putting out their personal information.
A person should have a clear goal for their social media accounts. If it is a professional platform, he/she should focus on executive ideals and values. If one is seeking fame and recognition, he can share some personal information, but carefully.
“Share what you want your audience to learn from. Don’t change the values of your social media page midway. Sometimes we follow Christian entertainers for their insight on faith and religion, only for them to change direction along the way in terms of posts and start putting up boisterous pictures of a luxurious lifestyle,” says Machuka.
You should never post your location on a social networking site, Machuka warns. This places a person at high risk of stalking.
“You never know who is watching your social media page. Turn your location service off while surfing the internet,” says Machuka.
According to Machuka, another important factor many people fail to consider is who you are with in pictures.
“Ask yourself if the people you are with in the picture are comfortable with you uploading it. Don’t post someone’s image without their consent,” she says.
An emerging issue is nudity and the use of vulgar language.
Machuka says people have begun to depend on social media for likes and compliments.
“Many social media users show more skin in the hopes of getting more likes. How do people treat each other away from their phones? If you are loved and complimented in person, you will not be seeking the affection on the internet,” says Machuka.
As a general rule, Machuka says that a person should be on social media with a main goal, and act in line with it.
Back on Facebook, Njeri Migwi who is an activist against gender based violence, gave her large female following some lessons from the Frankie-Maureen saga.
“Do your best to have your own money. Imagine being given a month’s notice to move out. If you don’t have money where will you go? Don’t assume you are a wife just because you are living together. He might say you are just a caretaker, a diligent girlfriend, roommate etc get your papers even from an AG wedding,” wrote Migwi.
Migwi further warned the ladies that children don’t keep a marriage or save the relationship.
“Have children because you want them not to keep a man. Don’t you dare stop your life, education, jobs or opportunities for a man. Don’t quit to build mills and boons fantasy marriage in your head. Be your own cheerleader, pat yourself in the back you are all you have,” wrote Migwi.
“Ensure your name is put on every deed and document that you contribute to”, warned Migwi, “asking women not to trust promises and ‘I have put it in your name’ claims.
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