For many, social media offers a better opportunity to interact compared to the physical world. This is not unrelated to the reality that most people spend a significant chunk of their time online. Friendships, romantic alliances, and businesses are forged through the different platforms. The flip side to this is a growing unhealthy rivalry and pressure to be seen as successful. A trend that has given rise to the jostle for the “intelligence crown”. And so, everyone wants to come across as the most knowledgeable across every subject matter.
The inclination to grandstand and project oneself as a connoisseur of knowledge is an art only a few have perfected. Oh yes, It is indeed an art. Many of those we tag influencers or who have a huge following and charge a sum for endorsing brands have deployed this artistry to attain that status. They are vocal; seem to always have a sensible contribution to the trending discourse and their views are often adopted as a holy grail of sorts.
Wondering how they do it? Well, you’re welcome as I reveal the secret. Here’s what you need to know, and more importantly, do, to come across as cerebral in the competitive and chaotic world of social media:
Have an opinion on everything
The idea of sitting out a topic one has little knowledge of should never resonate with you. You see, social media conversations are unlike other types. You’re likely going to be chiming in your viewpoint amid tens of others who may or may not know quite a few things about the hot topic.
For instance, you may find yourself in the midst of a heated argument concerning government’s decision to shut the borders in an attempt to grow patronage for the made in Nigeria rice. You know you are oblivious of this policy; you’re probably only learning of it, but heaven forbid that you keep mute and allow others have the floor. Talk. Talk a lot. Talk some more. And if you get called out on your ignorance, insist you know what you are saying.
Soon enough, you’ll earn the respect and admiration of people like you who are none the wiser but who are not quite as gutsy as you are in displaying their ignorance.
Disagree with every popular narrative
It’s one thing to genuinely see things differently when a controversial matter is being discussed, and another to disagree on the premise of not wanting to be agreeable with others. Those who are desperate to be seen as intelligent have a contrary opinion all the time because they want to be that lone voice in the cacophony of voices. They know they are lying to themselves, but they need to project the image of a non-conformist just so people can acknowledge their willingness to stand alone.
When everyone is decrying the prevalence of child marriage in the north, insist it is a culture that should be respected. When the vast majority are praising a Nigerian who has done the country proud in some competition, declare that their feat is nothing special. With time, you’ll have people who ascribe intelligence to you just for daring to be different.
Cultivate loyal cheerleaders
“He whom the herd has pronounced intelligent is intelligent indeed.” Once you understand this rule of thumb in the virtual community, your job is half-way done. A huge number of those who are touted as bright on the streets of social media are only declared so because they command a large following. This band of followers are quick to shut down any dissenting voice that seeks to expose their leader.
Imagine having that level of clout and power—one where humans like you have no scruples staking their reputation— just to make you look good. Map a strategy to grow a cult-like band of cheerleaders and you’ll always have people who defend you even when your lack of depth is apparent to the rest of us.
Confuse people with big grammar
Highfalutin ideas and grandiose comments are almost an exclusive preserve of social media these days. They are deployed by those who really have nothing to say but are aware they can bamboozle the undiscerning with embellished remarks. It works all the time and will probably work for a long time to come. Got no clue about what the intellectuals are debating? Repeat what somebody else has said, only this time, throw in a bunch of eclectic grammar, and you’ll have your audience applauding and clinging onto your every word.
The social media cosmos is a unique space where nothing is really as it seems. Understanding this will help you navigate the platform with an insider’s knowledge and the dexterity you require to be known and respected as somebody.
This article was originally published on the author’s blog, Lolo’s Thoughts, on October 16, 2019.