It is day 7 of freedom, after an unscheduled pit stop allowed me more free time than I had before. I was up at 3 a.m. this morning because I really needed a distraction free environment to work on the book projects (both mine and my client’s). My brother-in-law is back in town and apparently, me and him together in the same room is not the recipe for progress. So after having spent several hours on our gaming console yesterday, I had to make up for lost time.
Speaking of yesterday, something happened which is the very reason for this post. Let me begin by saying that right now, in my country, we are living in politically unstable times; the amount of hate mongering and divisive politics which is witnessed is by the mammoths. Everywhere you turn, you find so-called ‘loyalty pledges’ which, if you scrutinize into well, you will discover is just the output of someone whose mind has been wired by divisive politics and segregation agendas. And there is no greater platform upon which this can be seen that on social-media
As it is clear knowledge by now, I am a person who cares deeply and speaks out very strongly about personal branding. I believe that what sells better than just academic qualifications, is the brand quality that is associated with you. Nothing attaches value to your product or service than the brand associated with the provider. You may not have the best quality material, or have all the facts together, but if you have a strong enough brand, and a huge enough brand following, you can start a movement with even the weakest of manifestos. This is because, you have built a fort around your brand and everything that comes out is regarded as so.
As I was online yesterday, putting up our latest audio broadcast, I was appalled by the amount of hate and tribal based marginalization that I was seeing. It was just too much to take in that I logged out immediately. After which as I was having a discussion with my friend James, a realization; a prophecy of somewhat, dropped on me.
I foresee a scenario where 5-10 years from now, when one desires to apply for a job, a government grant or even for a VISA, they will be expressly denied; not because they do not qualify, but because their past social dealings have put a dent on their brand.
I don’t know if you are aware of this or not, but opinions change. There is some wisdom that comes with age, and as one matures up, some of the things which, in their youth, they thought were that important, suddenly don’t matter that much. The second thing I wish for you to understand is that we are all working for something; you may be single, married, with or without kids, a youth in your late twenties or early thirties, aged or life has just begun for you (i.e. you are in your forties); everybody is working towards something. And some of these things take time, built day by day, brick by brick until one day, you look up and discover that your structure is complete.
The state of things is as a result of he choices you made yesterday and where you end up tomorrow is because of the choices you make today. Is it worth it, to place the success of your future at the mercy of your itchy fingers?
Yes, I understand that it is your account. Yes, I understand that you have freedom of expression. Yes, I know that it is your account your choice. And yes, I know that you can quit reading this post right now and go watch the evolution of dancing on YouTube. But I will ask again, are you willing to put the destiny of what you are building and your future at the mercy of your itchy fingers?
Don’t you know that you are free to choose, but are not free from the consequences of your choice? Will you be as adamant about your freedom to choose tomorrow, when you are denied entry into an opportunity because of some of the ‘loyalty pledges’ and ‘standing up for my rights’ posts. Did you know that it is very possible to speak out on what you believe and stand for your choice without being oppressive, and that your revolution can have just as much flavor without having to use the spice of tribe.
We all have a responsibility. One that we did not choose and that we cannot avoid. We have a responsibility to build up each other and not pull each other down. We have a responsibility to care for and protect one another. We may not like it (especially myself), but it is placed on us. It is placed on us to learn and submit to those who came before us and to train and build up those who are coming after us.
The bible states clearly in Matthew 18:6 that, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea”
Such a fate awaits anyone who, by their words and by their actions, cause one to stumble. This is why I feel so sorry for the inventors of the online game ‘Blue Whale’. They may think that they have escaped, but lo unto them. For when the day to pay the piper comes, no hole on the earth will be able to hide them. Their fate is specially preserved for them, sealed with their name and biometric signature. And no number of firewalls can protect them.
“But I did not force them to read my posts.” “Is it my fault that they took what I said literally?” “That is not my problem. Did I put the knife in his hand or the rope around her neck?” Truth is, you kind of did. Let me ask you, what were you expecting when you put that content out there? What were you gunning for? FOR PEOPLE TO READ IT, OF COURSE! And with the passion with which you wrote it, of course you wanted to solicit some emotions and reactions, searching for people who thought like you. So don’t come up here and tell me that you did not do it for people to read it and react to it. If that were so, you would not have shared it the billion times you did and tagged your entire friends list to it. You wanted it read, you wanted reactions to it. That is why you kept coming back every five minutes, to see who liked and shared and retweeted it.
Let me end by repeating what I said earlier, opinions change and with time, your opinion will change. Times will change and seasons will pass; elections will come and go, but the internet will not forget. Every day, we leave digital footprints with everything we do online. When you are grown and important things start happening in your life, some of the foolishness of your past will be brought out. What sort of effect will your past updates and tweets and videos have on your brand? Ask yourself this, before you hit that post button, will what I am about to put up build or destroy my brand in future. Because believe it or not, it will all come down to brand. Brand is what will make people hire you, or do business with you, or even invest in your venture.
Everyone has a day of reckoning and yours is coming. What effect will what you do today, have on you tomorrow?
Who is responsible?