This is what you do when you want to address bad behaviour without calling a person out.
If you’re active on the mean streets of Nigerian Twitter or just about any social platform for that matter, you must have heard, read or used the term, “shaking the table” once or twice.
Urban Dictionary defines the term as “When someone says or does something that is usually unacceptable and makes people uncomfortable in order to make people talk about something”
Basically, it involves saying something that a lot of people are uncomfortable about, knowing that it will ruffle feathers among those who are guilty or at least, related to the subject matter.
Example: When a student activist goes to an event with Senators Melaye and Adeleke in attendance and makes a quick-witted comment about senators who are more popular on Instablog9ja than the Senate chambers, he’s shaking the table, very vigorously.
The term became popular after K. Michelle used it, on the reality show, “Love and Hip Hop Atlanta” to sarcastically warn another of the show’s characters, Karlie Redd to abstain from shaking the table unless she wants to be shook.
"This table you're shaking is made of wood"
Recently, for some reason, the slang has experienced a resurgence of sorts on Nigerian Twitter.
We may not have had a term to describe it but Nigerians on Twitter have been shaking and breaking tables for a while, with a list of casualties that includes Toke Makinwa and everyone’s favourite career confusionist, Tunde Ednut.
Nigerians cannot help letting their creativity to bear in these situations, so there have been some instances where this term has been used in a way that will have you doubled down with laughter and weeping simultaneously for whoever just fell off.
You people don't enjoy good things
As with everything good though, Nigerians are already overusing the expression.
Even when it’s not necessary, Mufutau from Abule-Egba also feels the need to tweet “This table you’re shaking…” to every tweet he sees, whether it makes sense or not.
We’ve abused the term alright and I’m sure when it leaves, it won’t be with fond memories.
But shaking tables is also very important, so much that when we stop using the term, we must ensure that our hands are tightly fastened around their legs and ready to shake when called on.
Once you’re popular or find success for something in Nigeria, it’s very easy to get comfortable in your position. Nigeria has a very intense culture of worshipping success, celebrities and heroes.
It is why some of the most badly behaved personalities and fraudsters in the country have a greater following than the President.
The entire allure of social media is that just about every voice counts. So, by shaking tables, we can check behaviour and conduct that we do not approve of, without directly attacking a person or launching a witchhunt.
We may be about to send the saying down the road to perdition but at least, we'll use it for something sensible before it ends.