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Friday, March 9, 2012

What Do Nigerian Tech Blogs Need To Be?

*Before this post begins, I'll like to state that as a member of the tech-blogging community, I'm very likely do defend members of the community. Blame Creation*

About a week ago, I was hit with a link. @EditiEffiong linked me to his first 'real blog post' and it was "

Nigerian technology bloggers: A search for relevance".

The title interested me so I read it. You can read it here.
Basically, he's disappointed in tech blogs. We don't have leaks like BGR
and we don't cover enough startups like TechCrunch. In fact, almost all of us ignored the fact that Airtel launched a False-G network. So this post is just a few thoughts about our community, the problems we face and how we can solve them. I might go off sometimes. I've just been told Loy Okezie replied.

1. Leaks

I agree that we don't get enough links in our own tech industry. Our industry is small and still growing. In fact, we get more boring press releases than leaks. We also get more Americans contacting us than Nigerian startups. No, a leak is not when you're friends with a startup founder and he emails you screenshots of his upcoming BlackBerry app.

2. Startups

I don't know what's up with startups out there. It takes a lot of snooping around for me to actually get scoops on startups. Sometimes, I see a facebook ad, sometimes it's a link. When launched, I saw a tweet from @OOTheNigerian.

Startups reply emails late. So let's assume I'm doing my daily, random, internet snoop and I see something by a small Nigerian company. The first thing I always do is to draft a post. I just type it, save it on Dropbox and on Wordpress. Then I contact my editor[if she hadn't already seen the drafts], then she emails the startups[seriously, if you dont have an email address or some way of getting across to you, you should get off the web]. Sometimes, they reply, most times they don't. It's frustrating.

3.Service Provider Launches

I'm tired of typing blog posts about Nigerian ISPs upgrading their service to a new version of '4G' that hasn't even been delivered in the UK yet. I mean it's not even everywhere in the US. In fact, Huawei is working with an Angolan firm on rolling out Africa's first 4G network. Ha! There you go Swift and Airtel

Read: 4G Does Not Exist

Telcos suck. Telcos don't reply your email. When Telcos reply your email, they tell you they'll get back to you and I'm like "This is an email dammit. If you're not going to give me a device for a review, just tell me". Telcos will rather post a 250x250 ad block on a lifestyle blog where their ad block battles with almost 50 other ad blocks[see LindaIkeji and BellaNaija]

P.S Regarding the ISP suckage, can we talk to the NCC or do a blackout or something?

4. Reviews

We review software. It's easy to review software. We download the app, or we link it to someone on the team who then downloads the app and puts their thoughts down. When it comes to hardware, it's a whole new struggle. We don't have $599 to throw around on a new iPad review. It'll be stupid of us to do that.

On the review part, I'll like to say that Nokia is doing a great job. They've got a very good thing going on with Mobility. It's great. I love that kind of relationship. I tried to contact encipher on the INYE one time, the email address on their website was mistyped or false. I was dissapointed.

5. Talent and Other Tech Bloggers

It's difficult getting people to work for/with you for free. Tech blogs are really really really small startups. On Technesstivity, we've got a problem with hiring bloggers. I send out a tweet that we're hiring and people send me DMs asking how much we'll pay. I mean I don't even know how good you write and you're asking for money?

It's also a problem getting people committed when they're working for free. I mean they've got school, relationships and other important stuff going on in their lives so what's a blogging job that doesn't pay?

Personally, I've done a lot of work for free in my short life. Maybe it's because I don't pay bills yet but I'm more likely to do stuff I enjoy and believe in than do stuff that'll bring more money for me. I don't know if it's got to do with how I was brought up or what I've read or the Google influence of letting things be free but I'm generally like that.

So, if you've got the money and you think you can get the best talent by offering them money, go ahead then. It's cool.


6. NEPA and ISPs

I try as much as possible to draft up 2 blog posts each morning. It's become a ritual. I feel weird when I dont do that. Most of the time, I don't get to draft posts in the morning. As I type this, my Starcomms modem has refused to connect for the last 3 days. Traffic is dropping. That sucks

On the NEPA issue, I can't be paying for 24 hours internet if I get electricity at night. Now this means for the 12 hours when I'm offline or mobile[WORDPRESS FOR MOBILE SUCKS THE ULTIMATE SUCKAGE], I'm off the grid. I'm practically oblivious of what's going on in the industry. My laptop battery is currently flat out because for an entire year my school had electricity problems and I had to switch my laptop to sleep a couple of times daily. So there's that.

7. Events

Sorry, but I will not go for an event in V.I that starts at 5 when I live in Yaba. I can't be risking my life like that. So I'll go to V.I, we'll finish around 8, then I'll now be working on the streets of Lagos alone? Naa G. Naa. I've moved even further now so I'll be covering less events.

For events that have a considerable number of Twitter followers, it's always easy to keep up. It's very easy to keep up. I mean, you just follow the hashtag and retweet.

8. Allow us criticise and Praise

Before I started tech blogging, I used to read a lot of Loy Okezie's posts. I think he was just beginning his foray at the time. Up till now, he still openly criticizes startups and established tech companies based on his opinion. I think we need to be left alone. People need to let us think our thoughts and let us put it down. It's human to withdraw into your shell if you get criticized a lot. Except you like the attention of course.

We also need to praise stuff we like, If I think something is addictive I should be able to say "It's addictive" and "I love it". Not like we don't want criticism but it has to be constructive and realistic man.

9. Start a tech blog dammit! Or join one

I mean you don't see me criticizing fashion designers. I'm not in their industry, I don't know what they go through. Hell, sometimes I don't even care. So Editi needs to join a techblog for him to understand what we go through.

10. It's 12.02 AM,

I have a headache, I have done no blog posts in 24 hours because my modem's bad and I've been up since 6AM.

Before I end this, Here's a shoutout to everyone who's in the tech-blogging mini-industry @MobilityNigeria @Faaridah @otekbits @emmagine79 @wexcely @webtrendsng @tekedia @techloy @tpcast and everyone who's out there trying very hard to put Nigerian content on the map and inform Nigerians of what's going on in the tech world. You just have to subscribe to one of these blogs. Warri no dey carri last o.

Success isn't easy but we'll definitely get there. Definitely. I can feel it :D