Image: Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona/Unsplash

I’ve come to the realisation lately that my WhatsApp groups are severely underperforming. Never mind my Telegram situation. If I were to rank my social media messaging groups’ output and effectiveness on a scale from zero to Earth-shattering, mine are maybe rattling in at a 1 or 2. No offence to my groups, but I’m getting performance anxiety. Where is my social revolution I ask?

Part of the problem is size. There is, it seems, a magic number and I’m sorry to say my social groups are either seriously hyperinflated or just plain underwhelming in terms of peak participation. Which is probably why all we’re managing to organise are a few random birthday celebrations and some regular walks.

Twelve members is the golden key to global domination. Why, just last month the “Dirty Dozen” practically ground the entire nation to a screeching, dysfunctional halt. With a series of strategic messages, broadcasts and emojis, 12 comrades unleashed more fire and brimstone than an angry demigod throwing shade and thunderbolts from Mount Olympus.

The instructions to “petrol bomb” the police stations, empty the shelves and to finally squash out the nefarious capitalist influence of the golden arches — as in “McDonald’s must fall” — were where coming in thick and fast. And look, the comrades could be onto something — the multinational food industrial complex is playing havoc with our waistlines.

And then there’s the case of the The “Disinformation Dozen” — another group of 12 who, according to the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, produce 65% of all the anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. That’s a sum total of 12 anti-vaxxers who make and spread practically all the bizarre videos, tenuous arguments and insane leaps of illogical reasoning that are presently giving the Covid wings. It’s damn efficient if you ask me — just try putting that genie back in the bottle.

To be fair, we have a historical precedent for the power of 12 — just look at the Apostles and how effectively they spread a certain prophet’s religion. And they did it all pre-WhatsApp. Just saying.

 This article was first published by the Sunday Times.

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