Thandiwe Mokotso – Lesotho

  • May 12, 2020 at 9:28 am #2587
    Huong Nguyen

    Names: Thandiwe Mokotso
    Country: Lesotho

    Re: Kectil Assignment 2: Social Media and Personal Branding


    (2) Please write a short paragraph of less than 300 words on the negative personal effects of social media on youth in your community or country. Have you or someone you know experienced depression, cyber bullying or other negative results using social media? How was it handled if at all? What is the youth social media culture in your country l? Can youth take a stand and change the culture?

    Most youth are pressured to portray a glamorous life on social media in order to fit in with certain circles of friends and upper classes. Some even pretend to have happy marriages or come out as rich. Others go as far as taking loans to buy cars and live the expensive lives. There’s pressure to be greater, happier and prettier than the next next person since people are always comparing their lives and competing. Most youth are unemployed, instead of ensuring they have basic human needs they opt to get luxurious items therefore they always in debt and stressing over everything they have and don’t have.

    Tjekatjeka Thakeli has endured depression and cyber bullying more than anyone I know this year. He started a campaign after graduating law school called Hire a Graduate where graduates walked around town wearing their graduation regalia holding boards with their various qualifications and contact details seeking for jobs. This was created due to high unemployment rates in Lesotho. He got a job from that campaign and became quite popular. Being some kind of public figure or influencer gained him a lot of attention. He was also always posting his personal life on social media; his family (wife and child), he developed an aluminum business wrote a book on unemployment struggles.

    This year he had an affair and took hhis girlfriend on a vacation to the beach in Durban. The girlfriend later leaked their pictures and caused a lot of chaos for him. This put him under a lot of scrutiny, received plenty of hate speeches people saying his wife stood by him while he was an unemployed graduate, now that things are looking out for him he mistreated her. People came at him for living a double life by posting his family as if he was happy at home while he was cheating on the side. Long story short this scandal cost him his dignity, his wife left him and he still is the most ridiculed young man on Facebook. Recently he posted that waking up early was a great weapon for success that people should make a habit of waking up early but people did not receive that well saying since getting a job he looks down on others suggesting they are lazy even though they had no works to get up early for like he did.

    In conclusion, the social media culture in Lesotho is probably similar to most countries; its used for getting global academic opportunities like scholarships, learner-ships, online courses and fellowships, its also used to share job opportunities, drive initiatives, meet people snd share news and trends.

    (3) In your opinion, is excessive us of social media by youth an addition? Are the damaging effects as bad as drinking or drugs?

    An addiction forms when a particular physical or emotional dependency is formed on a particular substance. Doing something consistently turns into a habit which in most cases results in being an addition. Social media excessive use can most definitely result into an addiction especially by the youth who are majority users. Social media vary various importance that make it easy to get addicted to; youth get jobs via advertising agencies that are highly active on social media, youth get a voice and social media provides them a platform to speak out and be heard, social media makes us aware of global opportunities that unfortunately we cant get in any other platform. In addition socializing and networking becomes a bliss on social media, news and trends spread more flawlessly on social media and people get to meet like minds via those platforms easier than they do in real life because it covers a global space.

    Effects of every addiction are similar therefore social media addiction can very much mimic similar ones to drugs or alcohol or even worse. Being on social media requires internet either by WiFi connection or data bundles, this are very costly and finally draining for the average person meaning its even worse for someone who is addicted because they don’t think logically they could easily choose buying data bundles to stay active on social media over buying basic human needs with their last cents. In addition social media gives some people a high in a sense that they just light up and rely on it to be emotionally mentally and spiritually relaxed and stable when going through tough times. Some could argue that drugs and alcohol provide the same kind of high and senses of relieve.

    Those addicted on drugs and alcohol go out of their way to get money and sponsor their needs to have access to them. The same applies for social media addicts. Families are destroyed due to unhealthy additions either because time and attention are always diverted to the addiction not on things that actually matter. Money gets misused to sponsor addictions. Addicts think of nothing else besides their addiction. They can jeopardize jobs that give them a living and studies holding a promise of a better future buy neglecting them and only focusing on the addiction.

    The emotional implications of social media addiction however seem to be more daunting than those of drugs and alcohol I presume. One is prone to cyber bullying, depression seeing as how majority of social media influencers are flourishing financially, traveling the world and living their best lives. This therefore can make anyone feel like they are not doing enough and less accomplished therefore end up loosing focus of what they have and only focus on the glamorous things displayed on social media that they don’t have and most probably cant afford.

    (4) It is said that use of social media reduces job and academic performance either by wasting time or by consistent mental distractions? Do you think this is true or false and why?

    I believe this is true to a certain extent not entirely because many people especially youth self-distract with social media. For most browsing on social media feeds is what comes to mind it whenever they have access to a gadget or connection especially WiFi that is usually uncapped at a work place or school. Others have a really short attention span, they can only focus on work or study for a certain period then need to take breaks which they may spent going through social media.

    In addition getting social media notifications can shift one’s attention and focus from what they are doing no matter how important it may be. When a notification pops up it registers to the brain as urgent whether it may be important or not.

    Sometimes trending topics can also reduce job and academic performances because as youth we enjoy keeping up with things and people as well as staying informed about everything happening around us regardless of how important. This may be at the expense of an employer’s time or academics either an assignment or exam. Therefore one may end up missing deadlines neglecting their actual paying jobs because they weren’t paying enough attention or failing to study and prepare hard enough for a meeting, test or exam just because they got caught up on something in social media. This support that social media may affect job and academic performance by wasting time o consistent mental distractions.

    However there are plenty of other reasons despite social media that can cause the same effects such as over- sleeping, getting hooked by a book unrelated to work or academics, binge watching series, going out for drinks, having personal emergencies or even juggling various things like work, school and other priorities. There are countless reasons for constant mental distractions such as procrastination, stressing over finances, family or health problems and struggling to focus on other things. As much as social media plays a role in failing to effectively use our time, it can not be blamed for everything every single time youth don’t pull their weight.

    (5) Please write a paragraph of 400 words or less on whether social media played a role in government elections or politics in your community or country? Have you experienced “Fake News” in your country? Have you observed the attempted manipulation og public opinion using social media as a platform? Has any social media networking been shut down or censored?

    In the previous elections social media played a tremendous role. The youth used social media to campaign their favorite political parties. Youth fought for change; they joined a party called ABC and participated in ensuring the manifesto was by-youth-for-youth. On paper it was the. Perfect party to bring about long awaited change on job creation, sponsoring more youth to go to tertiary schools, supporting small businesses and having more youth representation in parliament. Social media was buzzing with this party. Youth were very hyped about it and it became the most talked about party before elections. The party therefore won by majority seats and became the leading party even though there had to be a coalition government due to other parties having support of various age groups.

    We have experienced fake news in Lesotho; there was once a Facebook account by the names of Makhaola Qalo. It was a fake account that revealed government secrets. Some revelations were backed up by facts, paperwork, signed documents and solid prove while others were pure propaganda solely aimed at tarnishing the government reputation. It was easy to believe information from that account since some of it turned out to be true. However some was bias and unverified. It caused so much chaos, the public was even threatening to topple the government and demand re-elections. Government leaders had to address the information published and suggested shutting down Facebook because of how damaging that account was. Rumors even had it that a private investigation was launched to catch the culprit behind the account. However nobody was known to have been arrested for that. The account was deactivated not long after the rumors started circulating.

    (6) Please write a paragraph of 300 words or less on whether current social media “influencers” are having a positive effect on youth in your country? Are they “influencing” the right subjects and actions? Please be specific and provide names.

    A Kectil Fellow Limpho Phokojoe has a positive effect on youth. She helps small YouTubers grow and se YouTube as a paying business. She shares business tips to influence others to prosper with social media marketing. She’s also a change maker that I’ve had the privilege of working and volunteering on various community projects with. We also shared the experience of being YALI-RLC-SA alumni. In addition she introduced me to the Kectil Program. Shes a power house in my country and she continues to make a positive impact in communities in Lesotho.

    Mamello Makhele also has a positive effect on youth. Shes a young nurse who came from humble beginnings. She is an SRHR issues in Lesothos. Shes a fellows of the SheDecides movement who gets to represent Lesotho in various conferences world wide where she becomes the voice of youth on SRH. Shes a YALI-RLC-SA Alumni and has been selected as a Mandela Washington Fellow for the 2021 cohort. She tirelessly represents a girl child in policy making in the health sector and is a peace and security advocate for women and girls. Shes a fierce young woman consistently fighting to make the world a better place for females.

    Lineo Matlakala is also one of the biggest change makers in the country. She is a YALI-RLC-SA Alumni, a Mandela Washington Fellow and a Founder of the Barali Foundation which aims at addressing social ills affecting women. She has hosted meet and cry sessions where women and girls got together to share their struggles, she started a safe abortion campaign where she encouraged women and girls to share their stories that led them to the decision of having backstreet abortions and got the psychological help. She also helps rape and abuse victims get protection and justice. She is also an author and story teller who speaks about life issues affecting women in Lesotho. She is the realest influencer I know who has changed so many lives to the better.

    (7) Is there a lack of positive role models in your community or country? Does social media make it better or worse? What kind of role models would you like to see leading the voice on social media? How can you and your peers make that happen?

    There is definitely a lack of role models in Lesotho for variously reasons ranging from the fact that we are a small kingdom with very high unemployment rate, corruption and lack of youth representation in the political space as well as policy making space. Social media has encouraged fashion and beauty influencers to be the most highly productive while other fields have very limited representations. We rarely see influencers addressing social ills and social change. I would like to see role models aa young leaders, change makers, movers and shakers all striving for a better tomorrow. Youth driving for positive change, breaking the stereotypes, challenging the status quo and having fearless conversations that are perceived to be uncomfortable or a taboo.

    My peers and I can make that happen by partaking in fellowships like the Kectil Program that provide uncapped knowledge and skills on how to become great leaders then imprinting on other youth to not only talk about issues but take action and fight until desired changes are achieved. We can also mentor and imprint on generations after us in order to break the stereotypes and help them unlearn and relearn what it really means to be a young leader in a developing state. This would ensure that factual and true information us being shared and terrible leadership traits and practices become a thing of the past. We would also develop initiatives and foundations that enable us to go to the grass-root levels and help the vulnerable members of the communities, motivate and help them become the best versions of themselves as well as empower all age groups to put in the work for a new world era; the Africa we want or Agenda 2063 for indeed on order for development to be achieved we all jointly have a part to play to bring the desired change.

    (8) Do social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook lead to narcissism- an effort to get self-attention? Is it leading to the “look at me” syndrome? How is that damaging to the poster and the reader?

    To some extend such platforms do lead to narcissism. Majority of people post only the best parts of their lives or even exaggerated versions. Every sparkling lifestyle easily gains attention because low-key what majority crave for, therefore when people see something they desire they react to it and the posters drive attention to themselves. The more one posts is the mire likely they are to get many eyes fixed on them and their every move. This can be damaging to the poster because it invites unnecessary invasion of privacy. When laundry is aired to the public there is bound to be a lot of backlash, scrutiny, fanbase and cyber bullying. Loved ones get a chance to easily keep in touch with the poster, positive feedback may arise from strangers simply reciprocating to content posted and receive it with love and positivity. Some may even be drawn to the content because they are seeking tips and tricks to turn their lives around and get to the same level the poster is in life. Unfortunately some may develop obsessive compulsive disorders and idolize the poster and duplicate every move they make in an attempt to be like them.

    Furthermore, enemies get access to the same content the poster is sharing and may receive it with negativity and hatred and therefore make it their lives mission to discredit everything posted. This may vary from commenting negatively on the content, passing belittling and discouraging remarks, being insulting and preying on the self esteem of the poster and dissing their every move and things they cant change about themselves such as physical features, their history, family or any part of their lives that’s sensitive and fragile.

    In addition, social media data costs are very high. Readers get invested in the content of the poster so much that they are always spending money kn order to be able to browse social media feeds and keeping up with their favorites. This is money going down the drain and time being wasted on monitoring someone live their live. Time that could be spend on far more important and life changing content or activities wasted on someone who is doing their makeup, out for drinks or traveling and living what seems like their best lives while the readers lives are on a stand still. In most cases both the poster and reader end up with obsessive compulsive disorders; the poster for always stressing over what content to post next and the reader on what has been posted.

    (9) Is it possible for youth to show the self-discipline to limit themselves to 2 hours a day on social media?

    It is highly possible for youth to show self discipline to limit themselves to 2 hours a day on social media. Some youth are already not very active on social media to begin with. For some people social media is a form of communication with loved ones. Those who use it for communication even fo days without checking their feeds because they have developed a culture of being more productive and vigilant when it comes to what their time is spend on.

    Some youth just enjoy keeping up with trends and being well informed, therefore they spend a few minutes a day on social media simply catching up. This are mostly the type that don’t post much but rather keep track of what their favorites are up-to. They go through social media only to comment and share posts. So for them discipline comes easy because there is minimal attachment.

    Others are very active yet smart about it. This are the self discipline award winners. They post content then move on to other things while readers are focused in their posts. They check in for a few minutes when they have time and engage on posts of others but they don’t necessarily spend all day online doing that. These are mostly called influencers. They spend majority of the time creating content for others to obsess over not the other way around.

    Simply put everyone has a choice on how much time they spend in social media and what kind of content they pat attention to while they are at it. It is possible to spend 2hours or even less on social media and it is definitely possible to develop and portray self discipline on time spent on social media. Those who may seem to be struggling just need to develop habits of keeping schedules, finding new things to spend time on, learning, exploring and being devoted to other things. Too much free time encourages social media addition because an addiction is formed on what one spends most of their time on.

    (10) A positive aspect of social media is education and awareness. Please describe a few examples where youth in your community have learned about an issue or subject and reacted appropriately to address a situation because of a social media campaign.

    A local Facebook news and media platform called Hoatiti News and Media published a story of a 22 month old girl child who was born with an extreme cleft lip that needed an operation costing M50,000.00 and and appealed to the public to come together with monitory donations to help fund the operation that is scheduled for early May 2020 on one of the hospitals in South Africa. A local television Lesotho TV also interviewed the mother who went with the little girl on the show to discuss the medical procedures required to correct the extreme cleft lip. The interview was two weeks ago and so far M42,500.00 has been collected by circulating the hoatiti media’s post on Facebook and other platforms. Even local organizations, youth led groups, clubs and organizations lend a helping hand. (Please find the attached picture of girl who will hopefully have enough funds to have the cleft lip operation in May and the campaign circulating)

    In 2018 there was awareness on lack of sanitary towels in public school learners therefore majority had to miss school during their menstruation. An events planning youth group called Team Shanghai started a movement called Party with a Difference (#Pads4ASister challenge). They organized events in clubs and hangout spots and approached local artists to form the lineup in order to maximize attending. In stead of issuing out tickets they urged every one attending their events to buy packets of sanitary pads as an entry fee. Then after collecting the pads they identified schools in remote areas and distributed them and made a difference. Majority of youth led organizations adopted the same strategy and turned into a culture. For every event they held they collected sanitary pads as entrance fee and distributed them to orphans, vulnerable kids and schools. Youth also campaigned for pads to be made freely available in public toilets in malls, clubs and every accessible place for girls to benefit from them instead of having free condoms everywhere because sex is choice while menstruation is an uncontrollable natural process.

    Thizozo, Donny and a few other young people started a lockdown food campaign for families without income, street kids and orphanages during this global pandemic of COVID-19. From donations they have collected so far since our country has been on lockdown for about three weeks now, over hundred families have been fed thanks to this campaign.

    2) I think I am a reserved yet friendly person. I try my best to spread positivity and I am very bubbly. I always try to be a rainbow in the clouds of people I meet. I dress decently, I was watch my language and try not to say hurtful things. Like most girly-girls I enjoy looking put together and dressed up with my hair done pretty. Personal presentation is quite important and people taking one seriously depends on it.

    a) I would look for someone who knows how to positively present themselves. Punctuality is important because time is money. Preparing for meetings is a professional trait and its important to have someone who engages and shares intelligent realistic ideas. Its important however to give people a chance and talk to them and pick their brains instead of judging them for what they look like. Someone knowledgeable about their job requirements, eager to learn, result and goal oriented. A team player aware and respectful of the organizational culture, mission and vision is what to look for.

    b) Oral presentation with a power point requires a lot of preparation. Dress conservatively and in a way that reflects our various personal brands. Research is essential on the kind of audience and organizations hosting a presentation for, this helps with the kind of content and language they may respond to. What one chooses to wear is important because personal presentation builds trust. One needs an orderly , factual and memorable presentation. Also having personal interpretations of content shared is important. Slides shouldn’t be too busy and clustered, words shouldn’t be too heavy, color of slide pallets should be neutral and easy on the eye, size of fonts should be visible and easy to read and there should a balance of wording and pictures in slides. Simple and innovative content is key. Clean bullet points should be used to articulate points and they should be straight forward. Lastly test audio-visual before hand to avoid any technical cliches and the speaker should be audible and convincing.

    c) I would check for their passion and drive since social media is mostly used for expressing ones likes and dislikes. This makes it easy to tell if they won’t hold back on anything while doing their job. For instance if one is a catholic always condemning premarital sex and use of contraceptives then hiring them for a sexual reproductive health project might raise conflict of interests which may compromise the quality of their work.

    1) The panel had a lot to say on this one, it was very engaging and they were emotionally invested because of how relatable the issue of social media is. They believe using social media to destress can result in a lot of negative posts, emotional and vulgar language may be used and this may cause a lot of backlash and add to the already existing stress. Also social media introduces a lot of modernization and western culture which we easily adopt neglecting our heritage and culture. We get influenced to be like others and end up forgetting who we are.

    Learning about issues on social media can be tricky since information shared isn’t varied nor backed up by facts so it can cause unnecessary chaos and panic. For instance when the COVID-19 pandemic hit there was a lot of propaganda that spread fear about reasons behind it, causes and depopulating the world with 5G. This can cause depression especially since most people feel helpless.

    In addition, as people we are very sympathetic and reading about real life problems of strangers or even people we know just makes us sad and adds to our own stress which may cause us anxiety and depression. Moreover, the glamours lives portrayed on social media put a lot of people under strain. When we see friends and ild school mates flourishing and fetching their lives while ours are a bit stagnant we get a bit envious and depressed and start feeling like failures.

    People are free to say mean things without caring for how people may receive them. Hence social media had a lot of cyber bullies. This destroys people’s self esteem and that can lead to suicidal thoughts. Moreover not having access to the internet or having a battery die may cause others depression because they always feel the urge to scroll through social media feeds.

    Social media causes a lot of peer pressure to post “cool” things as a measure that people are doing well in life. This ranges from having the latest smartphones with certain picture quality, going to certain places and wearing certain clothes. This may cause depression for those without the financial muscle to afford all this things. In conclusion the panel discussed the issue of youth loving quick cash hence the constant mental distraction that prevents them from performing their jobs fully. Hence forex trading and tender preneurs trend so much. This may compromise their actual daily work if they are always on social media or busy trading online all day.

    2)The panelists definitely agree with the kectil rules of social media use. Using social media use should be a law that everyone gets held accountable for breaking. Panelists do agree that given the platform one shouldn’t make their posts about them alone since they can say something that might help someone or change peoples mindsets on certain topics. Limiting time and being disciplined about social media use is also the most important factor we learned from this assignment therefore this gives us enough time to actually spend doing other things and being with people face to face and being in the moment without distractions of checking our phones. Also social media requires a lot of empathy and consideration for people’s feelings in terms of content posted therefore being cautious is encouraged.

    Further, spreading positivity and good vibes is a responsible thing to do, not posting out of anger, being mindful of the kind of influencer or poster one is and watching out for fake news is another rule that more people should be careful about. Lastly well written content is very advisable since a little typo may ruin a genuine post and be translated into something entirely different. Therefore I definitely have been sharing the rules and encouraging others.

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