Many people undermine and condemn coming on Facebook and other social media but I smile, particularly when they give religious sentiments as excuse for the condemnation. Though the percentage of those condemning it has reduced considerably but I still need to elucidate the spiritual significance of a social endeavor in the 21st century. Meanwhile, I mention Facebook because it’s the most popular of the social media and very relevant to my exposition. I am in essence referring to social media in general.
Ancient biblical gates are not just structures for city defense, they are places of discussion, debates and contentions too. That is the place of “watch” for the city and where the ruler’s acceptance or rejection is known. The Bible talks about speaking with the enemies at the gate (Psalms 127:5) and that suggests fierce arguments like those between opposition parties. Though biblical gates are physical structures with geographic locations, they have social presence too and that’s the significance of this article. The inventors of social media obviously didn’t plan for this but that’s what it’s doing; online social presence with geographical dileneations. That is, once you register your city and country, that determine the gathering of friends and people and the kind of posts that filter through your wall.
There are some social significance of the Gates; 1. The place of Watch. 2. The place of debates. 3. The place of scheming or political maneuver. 4. Sometimes, it’s the place of City authority and culture/religion. I discovered through careful study that these are noticeable on Facebook too and like biblical gates, there are Porters too on Facebook; appointed officers to monitor and report the activities to the authority. Though some people reside on the gates, it is not supposed to be residents, just for the porters. In fact, some gates are so big that residence on it are like mini cities. The significance:
1. THE PLACE OF WATCH: Beyond posting pictures and jokes, those who have foresights can read between the lines, can analyze the activities on Facebook and make very good projections. In fact, if it’s the PAGE you create, there’s INSIGHT icon for professional analyses of your page. Just going through someone’s wall / timeline, you know what the person is going through, priorities in life, religious perspective, political inclination and other social believes. The same way, you know what’s the general opinion of the leader, what the people are going through and what it might lead to. I have people I discuss what I analyze and foresee with, whether spiritual, political or just fashion or new product trend.
2. THE PLACE OF DEBATE: Speaking with the enemies at the gate doesn’t suggest exchange of pleasantries; some people come online just to transfer the frustration in their lives to someone else. Some come to defend their “food” and source of income, while others just come to display their ignorance and immaturity. Anyhow, fierce arguments take place online and they sometimes get very bad. Battles take place at the gates too and defenders and attackers don’t find it easy. I remember defending my Principal and attacking the opposition; It sometimes get very bad, really bad but someone got to do it. Lol.
3. THE PLACE OF SCHEMING & POLITICAL MANEUVERS: By now we all know about this aspect of social media. At biblical gates, Boaz could scheme to marry Ruth without contradicting the customs. Jezebel could raise false witnesses to accuse someone and ensure he’s guilty of death; they happened at the gates. Today, same happen online; false accusations, propaganda and malicious publications to slander and kill people socially and politically. We know what the publications are targeted at and for some of us can tackle or diffuse them when we are operating in official capacities. New products are introduced and there are fierce indecent battles between competitors online. Nowadays, politicians are introduced and sold, first online (at the gates) before the full offline activities.
4. THE PLACE OF AUTHORITY: That is, to show who’s in charge. When Jonathan was going to win in 2011, it was first established on social media. When he was going to lose in 2015, he lost the social media appeal first; his authority at the “gate” was scorned and rejected. The same thing with Buhari; he won first at the “gate discussions”, they subdued the enemies at the gate before they won the elections. I know you can remember all the FE-BUHARI noises. On Facebook, you know who is in charge; who truly bares the authority. The talks/debates at the gates are not trivial as some assume them to be.
5. Finally, ” the gate” is also the place where “mere men” and prostitutes live. That’s why you have porn posts of Facebook and all sorts of disgusting promo. Nude pictures and immoral posts pervades everywhere because there are vultures online. That’s why frequent visits to the gates is for those who know what they are doing or else, you’re considered as men of easy virtues; the kinds that were available at Jezebel’s disposal.
I tell people; “it depends on what you come (to Facebook) online for and your perspective to it also depends largely on your temperament. You don’t have to condemn people who go to the ” gate” but what they go to the gates to do and how they do it. Everybody can’t be at the gate and profiting at the gates is not for all”. Preachers now take their messages to the Facebook and other social media. Leaders appoint socia medial managers (Gate porters) and they visit online often too, inspect and make comments/ give instructions at the gates.
Whether you believe it or not, I just did a little exposition at “the gate of Nigeria” (where I make frequent visits and understand the terrain very well), for those who care to broaden their perspective of Facebook and online activities.
Good morning my friends and have a blessed week.
- Adeniyi Rotimi Johnson a.ka O J A S O P E wrote from Abuja.