As Kenyans we have some peculiar traits that separate us from the rest. One of this, I believe, is the assumption that one must always have an opinion on everything. For years people would keep their opinions to themselves or share them in small circles or evening barazas but then came social media.

Social media has helped us amplify our voices and opinions on issues on a larger scale than ever before. Kenyans on Twitter, KOT, are one of the most active online communities in Africa and very few can compete with our vigor on a global scale. This is not necessarily a bad thing. But as the wise men – and women – said before, with great power comes great responsibility.

So, do you need to have an opinion on everything? Yes. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right but there is one small bit we forget – you dont have to air your opinion on everything. This is especially true if you’re not commenting from an informed position.

Social media users need to realize that one can be held liable for whatever they post online. Of late we’ve seen a number of cases where people have been sued and taken to court (on criminal charges) for content they posted online. Of course you will argue your basic right to express yourself freely but if whatever you post discredits or harms another person then you have no sound argument on this basis.

So what I’m I driving at here? Information. The problem with social media is that it feeds you little bits of information and as much as this might sound credible, we must cultivate the culture of making sure we are well-informed before posting or reacting to something online.

There’s the little matter of your digital footprint which is left when you post online. Most of us can’t remember what we posted years or months ago but the internet never forgets and this can easily come back to bite you. Stay safe. Don’t air your opinion on everything you see on the timeline – unless you’re well informed on the matter.2014-05-06-socialmedia