Imagine a little corner of the internet, a place filled with all sorts of characters. A place where people come to laugh or cry, based on what is being presented to them. A place with a comment section rife with all sorts of comments, small fights and arguments, littered with insults (some of which you haven’t heard before, you take mental notes and wait for the moment to use them. It’s like an insult farm).
Here’s a few I’ve learnt, much to my absolute amusement: rada rada, awon weyrey, orisirisi. Terms like slay mama and slay queen have also entered my social media vocabulary.
If you’re thinking Instablog9ja, you’re on the right track, but that’s not where I’m picturing. Instablog9ja is a whole other hilarious, often sad world. I’m picturing the very popular Joro Olumofin blog. Joro’s blog was established not too long ago, now having a separate website here. However, of course it all goes down on the ‘gram (here)!
Never heard of Joro?
Here’s the low-down: It’s an advice page. Fondly called ‘the love doctor’ by himself as well as other blogs, Joro’s blog provides a platform through which people can send in queries about issues with relationships and life.
The attracting factor is that they are kept completely anonymous, the exception being when they are trying to look for partners. Another exception is when their identity is uncovered by the person they wrote to Joro about. It’s all a recipe for serious drama! I honestly think those who make TV shows probably take notes from the stuff going down there.
The First Encounter
I would say Joro is like a 21st century Nigerian Agony Aunt – or in this case, Uncle (I felt sooo slick when I said this ‘agony uncle’ line, until I saw that in this article someone already said this. Shame!). I tried to come up with a cool alternative to Agony Aunt, but my Thesaurus failed to deliver. Onto the rest of the post!
I’ve always been fascinated with what is going on in the lives of other people. It gives me good inspiration when I create characters for my stories. I also like to learn from their mistakes, their struggles. In my tween-hood, I’d get magazines and flip immediately to the advice columns, wondering what was troubling people. It’s not like I’m happy they’re facing those challenges, I just want to know.
And so, it was no surprise that I would one day find this part of Instagram.
I don’t remember how exactly I found him, but I clearly remember it was one of his videos where he was mimicking female Lagos socialites AKA ‘Lagos Big Girls’. He stared at the camera, wiggling his hand, which had a ring on one of its fingers. His knuckles were painted black with markers (mocking the ‘artificial yellows’), while he sported a ‘gele’ and colourful beads atop a lace blouse. It was hilarious.
Entranced by the squeaky ‘female’ voice saying “he knew…he knew”, I went to the source of the video. And that was how my relationship with the Joro blog began. Although, this fascination kind of diminished when he went on his Instagram rant, which he later ‘apologised’ for here (Side eye).
I’ve seen all sorts of questions on that blog, from the downright hilarious, shocking, to heart wrenching. Like I said earlier, the problems told to Joro range from life issues to relationship issues.
Now and then, he also pumps out articles which can be quite interesting. Here is one of them:
Here’s what I’ve observed:
- We all need advice, and most of the time it feels so much safer confiding in absolute strangers, because they don’t know us.
- We all are prone to making mistakes – some worse than others. Basically, human beings mess up – a lot.
- Life isn’t easy…at all (the most obvious truth)
Anonymous requests for help are a great idea. A lot of people (including me), due to fear, can’t muster strength to confide in people around them. This is because if things go awry with that person, your deepest fears & secrets can be exposed to the whole world, and reputations are tainted. I can’t even imagine the kinds of things Joro’s eyes have seen.
Picture this: You find yourself in an extremely complex situation – maybe it has to do with a highly risky decision you made, or a complex relationship issue. You have typical African parents & relatives around you who you already anticipate will react hysterically, shouting without offering solution. You have a choice between them and an anonymous advice outlet. Which would you pick? Some know they’ll face something this:
How Effective is It?
The issue I have with the blog, is that though Joro would respond personally via email, the person’s issue is then placed on the blog, soliciting the public opinion. This is where all sorts of issues start. While some things people do are just disgusting and warrant a stern response, the sheer amount of insults can be disturbing. I’ve also seen this insult trend on platforms like Break or Makeup (long abandoned it, too much going on).
Sometimes I picture someone in a broken state, pouring their heart out into a typed message and pressing send, desperately seeking advice. This person is probably feeling trapped, suffocating under the weight of their situation. And then, they go on the blog only to see comments or downright impractical advice. Another question I ask myself when I read some of these things is this: which advice would the person go with? There are some very sensitive issues people write to Joro about, and all sorts of advice trails in – long and short.
There are so many factors to consider, the advisers have a variety of backgrounds, coming from different walks of life. They’ve been raised differently, had different experiences, which have formed their opinion. All these factors come into play when people give their advice. I wonder how the advice taken from these comments have affected people and their lives!
For example, someone will say they’re pregnant, and people would advice them to abort. Another would reveal some deep seated issues which have caused their marriage to become hell, and some would remark ‘you should’ve known before you got married. Don’t come and complain to us, you’re in it now.’
Some would say they have cheated on their spouse, and people would advice them not to tell the spouse about it, to die with the secret. How does one even begin to discern what is right? In some cases, it’s obvious what the right choice is, but in others it is much harder. Someone will write in crying out because they have lost all will to live, and you will see some ‘advicers’ saying ‘go and kill yourself’.
The thing is, when God is not in place, people can be really led astray. I believe there needs to be a platform where people can safely share their issues and get not just any advice, but proper advice. I think he can really take advantage of this platform, developing it into something bigger which would help a lot of people.
Most importantly, I also feel we need more safe spaces, places we can spill out the contents of our heart without being shut down with insults. Let’s face it – though people are always like ‘ignore the negative comments’, it is no lie that negative comments sting, even when a string of positive comments have come before it. Advice columns are so popular, you see them all over blogs – Bella Naija, NSG, Break or Makeup etc.
If I want advice, I want Godly advice. I want advice that won’t end up with me being worse off than before. And, I want to be able to spill out my worries to someone without worrying about them spilling it to the rest of the world down the track. Currently, I don’t have many people like that.
This is also why a strong relationship with God is not just needed, but important. Of course, I have said here that I don’t have that yet, but I want it.
A strong relationship gives way to discernment, and one can have wisdom when it comes to decisions.
More Lessons Learned:
- Marriage is something that should be taken very seriously, especially choice of spouse. Deep and thorough analysis must be done before you decide to settle with someone. You can’t afford to disregard character amongst other things. You can’t afford to rush in due to pressure or ‘i-want-to-belong’ syndrome.
- A lot of people get themselves into pits very easily
- Greed can ruin people
- Don’t compromise your values for ANYBODY.
- Yes, love is a nice feeling. However, you must guard your heart and mind. You must try not to let yourself be overcome with emotion. Allowing yourself to be swallowed by emotions can lead to a series of compromising situations, and you’ll only get hurt in the end.
- You have to let go of toxic relationships as early as possible…you just have to.
Anyway, until that safe space comes into place, I guess I’ll continue the occasional peruse over Joro’s blog, sticking to my diary also.
Ever heard of Joro’s blog?
What do you think of Joro and other advice columns/blogs/pages like this?
And last, but not least, did you like the post?