Thursday, August 23, 2012

#SaveFunmi: Social Media Campaign/Con

I cannot say precisely where I first saw the #savefunmi campaign, it was one of those things you see everywhere: Facebook, Twitter…broadcasts/status on Blackberry. All I knew about the campaign was a female University of Lagos Law graduate needed five million Naira to treat a type of cancer that affect her hand. Last I heard, over five million Naira had been raised. I know a lot of people made that possible but I have to recognise the effort of @omojuwa, the guy was all over my Twitter updates. Now that you've given her the money, it's time to give her your prayers because this is cancer we are talking about not malaria.

Raising the money might be fast but it wasn't easy. As expected there were people who regarded the campaign as a scam and probably the biggest social media con in Nigeria. They believed it was an exploitation of people's gullible nature of what they read on social networks. People were more likely to believe what was seen repeatedly on social media without verifying it, and the [un]fortunate part was it spreads fast.

For instance, someone sent a broadcast to me about the #SaveFunmi campaign and the first line read "Help my friend Funmi…"

It was only natural for me to ask, "Do you actually know the gitl?"

The response was, "No, someone that knew the girl sent it to me."

"Are you sure the person knows the girl?"

The response was, "Of course now, why would she send it if she didn't know the girl?"

"Well, you did."

Imagine I did not verify it and decided to pass it along. Imagine I assumed that my friend knew her and used that as a reference to defend the campaign. My credibility increases the credibility of the campaign/con. People usually include on their Twitter bio "ReTweets are not Endorsements" but it was, always. You shouldn't expect to say something and not want people to assume you stand for it. It was better off not to write at all. Twitter might be 140 characters yet people find it difficult to pay attention to every single word.

I am not interested if the campaign was fact/scam but I have to applaud the organizers, they reached their goal. This campaign also revealed to me a fear I have of the growth of social media in Nigeria. Nigerians [on average] are too lazy to verify any information. Once they read any news/information their first action was to pass it on to their friends.


  1. Beautifully written and I couldn't agree more. Read the write up on myne's blog too. Please keep it up