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Ikeoluwa Dosu: A Few Tips For People Who Thrive on Gist!

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I remember a time when people would say sex sells (doesn’t it still?). However, for millennials, the truth is gist sells. And gist about sex sells even more.

A recent piece on The Economist rightly suggests that ‘‘gist” is often used both as a noun and a verb meaning “gossip.” I can gist you or I can give you the gist.

Proving exclusive gist or gisting exclusively can make you a pretty penny in our digital world. You don’t need to be an established broadsheet or tabloid newspaper to make it in this world of gist and gossip. From TMZ and the Daily Mail to our very own Linda Ikeji, there are a plethora of sources depending on your preferred style of delivery. I mean why do half – make that three quarters – of us come to BellaNaija, if not for gist?

For everything that is in high supply, there must be a high demand for it to be profitable. There is no shortage of demand for hot gist in our local communities, and beyond. From who is Ngozi’s baby daddy and how Tunji got the funds for his new house to what Kim Kardashian ate for breakfast, we want to know about it. I think it’s in our nature: we see something and we want to report, share, and discuss it with our nearest and dearest. Sometimes it’s simply for information, other times for learning a lesson, and during the worst times to gloat and make ourselves feel better about ourselves and our situations.

I personally think there is a difference between someone who likes gist and a die-hard gossip. Someone who likes gist likes to keep up with current affairs including the fascinating lives of real-life celebs, social media celebs and even local ‘celebs.’ The thing with gist is that more times than often it is already out there, essentially front page news. Gossip, on the other hand, is consistently and proactively trying to gather or spread information (verified and unverified) about people in your proximity and beyond.

I am in no way trying to justify being nosy (who am I kidding?), but I think there is an important distinction to be made. Regardless of which of the above categories you may fall into, here are some red flags to look out for when it comes to you and other people’s business.

Idly Consuming
This is when you’re spending too much of your time consuming and analysing other people’s businesses while neglecting your own life. You spend the day scrolling through gist and gossip blogs when you have deadlines to meet, ideas to turn into reality, people around you to help and support.

The people you are concerning yourself with are achieving their goals and making their money. Even the gossip sites get paid every time you click and idly take in every story at the expense of your to-do list. Get a grip, my friend, real life is passing you by. You have things to accomplish so that maybe one day the story of how you achieved your goals will be headline news or a feature story.

Emotional Imbalance
Are your emotions thrown into chaos by the business of others? When you hear that your old acquaintance has achieved something, you see neighbours post their holiday snaps, or see Toke Makinwa posts another designer bag, do you feel some type of way? Are your emotions bubbling with anger and resentment? Are you feeling jealous, hate and envy? Then you need to check yourself and quickly. Take a detox from all the sources through which you find gist and assess why these things are causing so much internal disharmony. What is missing in your own life that you feel that way? Work on yourself, friend. Another person’s success should not have such as an adverse effect on you.

Becoming a Judgina and Judgino
You judge people harshly based on information that may or may not be true. You hear that this person did something that you would never do or maybe you have even done but because it’s someone else you think you are better than him or her. You read one story that has not been verified from an unnamed exclusive source and you start to make assumptions and conclude that what you are reading must be true.

The truth of the matter is that all gist and gossip is sensationalised and exaggerated – it wouldn’t be gist or gossip if there wasn’t that extra exclamation mark or change in tone to really give it some punch. Be considerate and don’t make assumptions, friend. We all have demons we are fighting – fortunately for you, yours aren’t on view for the world to judge.

The Highlight Reels and Warped Realities
Your perception of the real world is extremely skewed as a result of other people’s seemingly best moments. You see people posting their best lives, you read about all the highs, and you begin to compare and contrast. Now you find yourself at the bottom of the best life barometer.

Yes, some people have great lives that you may aspire to, but those lives didn’t just appear on their doorstep. They worked hard, sweated blood and tears to produce the lives you see. Don’t get me wrong, you will always find a fraudster purporting some lifestyle based on lies and deceit, but you need to decipher between that which is real and fake.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Friend, continue to work on your journey. Use the highlight reels for inspiration and one day you will truly be living your ‘bestest’ life too.

There are two key things to remember with gist and gossip: First, we all will be subjects of gossip and/or gist at some point in our lives (some way more than others) simply because we are human. Whether good or bad, someone will have something to say. Second, what is hot gist or gossip today will be cold by tomorrow morning. We are a generation with a limited attention span, seeking the next big thing in seconds. So don’t worry too much when it’s your turn. In any case, however you feel about gist/gossip/current affairs – whatever want to call it – don’t take anything you hear from a third party this too seriously. Be kind, focus on real life, your own life.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

A prolific iphone note writer who every once in a while coerces herself to writing ‘properly’. I am a full time diaspora babe with a heart for home – wherever that is – identity crisis much?! A pessimistic believer with a touch of shade. International development is formally my thing – this leaves me ranting often so I soothe myself with songs and a place far away from this world.

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