Blogs have been abuzz with news of the latest internet feud between Ghanaian Yvonne Nelson and actress and Nigerian blogger Linda Ikeji which played out on Twitter yesterday. It began with Linda Ikeji posting news of a new film alleged to feature former lovers Yvonne and Iyanya. Yvonne was quick to refute the report asking Linda to be accurate with stories involving her name.
This then graduated into a full-blown dialogue over social media which saw Linda claim it was Yvonne’s team that sent her the false news in a bid to get the actress mentioned on one of Nigeria’s leading gossip blogs and Yvonne deny these claims.
While we are none the wiser than the rest of you as to who is in the right, the question here perhaps should not be “Who is right?” or “Who is lying?” but “Should this argument have taken place on social media?”
Of course Linda Ikeji and Yvonne Nelson are not the first two in Africa or beyond to partake in a social media squabble – Rihanna does it almost weekly after all, and only a few months ago we saw the Emmy Collins vs. Noble Igwe Twitter feud unfold. However, perhaps in a world where all eyes are on media and celebrity social media feeds, these beautiful, talented and intelligent African women, both role models to many in their own right, should have taken this off the net.
How so? Yvonne could have reached out to Linda privately to refute the claim. After all it should not be too hard for a celebrity of her status to find out the contact details of one of Nigeria’s leading media personalities. If a phone number is too hard to come by, Linda’s email details are on her blog for all to see, and I reckon she would not have ignored a email coming from the Yvonne Nelson camp.
Likewise, after Yvonne’s first tweet to Linda, Linda could have reached out to Yvonne’s ‘team’ – only in speech marks as the source sending Linda the information in the first place could have been anything but – initially, or Yvonne herself via social media to seek a more reliable contact to verify the news before hitting back at the actress with full force and accusing her of sending false news in a bid to get a media mention.
A tweet or an Instagram post or a Facebook status is only a click away for most of us, and while it is only natural to hit the ‘enter’ button in the heat of the moment and make what should be a private conversation/rant/rambling public, in the social media age, those that have the sparkle of their celebrity status or the power of their polished pen should be all the more careful in what is public and what is private.
Here we have two amazing African women, both leading in their respective fields, with thousands of followers on social media hanging on their every word, and yet they momentarily (or for a few tweets at least) seem to have forgotten what separate us women from girls. In this day and age, perhaps beyond the celerity circle, it is important for any woman to remember a spat on social media is the 21st century grown-up equivalent of a girl fight on the school ground, with all the school watching with glee. So not cool.