February 11, 2014

Stop pinging, start blogging

By John Abayomi

Osaron Ifijeh is an advertising practitioner who is a great friend. He is an active contact on my Blackberry Messenger, (BBM). Everyday is refreshing with his poupuri of messages; If you think Osaz, as we his friends call him, will ping on advertising products and services, then you are in for a rude shock. Osaz writes stuffs, you read, nod your head, smile, wink and quickly rebroadcast, pretending as if they originate from you.

His messages include breaking news, celebrity gossips, public service announcements, traffic alerts, stolen vehicles reports, motivationals, advices on marriages — not forgetting those rib-crackers on Akpors.

I have known Segun Aliyu for about a decade. Lately he has become more of a pal online than offline: we connected on all social media platforms – except the ones that have not been created from Silicon Valley or not popular in Nigeria. But unlike, Osaz, Segun is rather a more serious BBM’s messenger as he broadcasts breaking news, even more than Vanguard online – although since he isn’t a trained journalist rumors are sometimes presented as news.

He is also at home with riddles. They are often fresh, apt and intellectually exhilarating. Generally, his messages are not the kind you just read and pass on to your BBM contacts; rather you save such on your phone, forming the bulk of those special messages you constantly read up to feel good.

Well, many of us are like Osaze and Segun. We have loads of interesting materials to share with the world but are unconcisoius of the potential and magnitude of what we’ve got; some people are so creative that the content being shared on BBM, if and when harnessed, will send today’s popular bloggers out of business. For example, have you ever written something from your heart and shared with your BBM contacts and they inturn ask you , ‘where did you get that?’ Then I have good news, you have no business pinging, you should be blogging.

I know there are questions to be tackled: How can I go about blogging? There are too many bloggers already, what else is there to be written? Is blogging not sheer waste of time? Will I get paid? What if nobody reads me? I can’t string words together? Can I afford a blog? How do I compare with established blog in my area of interest? I don’t have the time? Who will advertise on my blog? How do I integrate social media with my blog. The questions are endless.

Not to worry, this is the essence of this column. To grow a legion of bloggers, help those already blogging to improve their game, increase traffic to their blogs, encourage people to make a career off blogging or even as a retirement plan.
We shall also be looking at corporate blogging, new media apps, trends and analyse issues in blogosphere and the internet in general, as they affect our work and leisure.

Before we go on, let us take the basics for the benefits of newbies – like they say.
What is a blog? Is there a difference between a blog and a website?

Blogs are from the word web logs, which  according to Webopedia is a “Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual that is typically updated daily” ; Webopedia added that, “blogs often reflect the personality of the author.”

It consists of free blogging, where the owner creates his/her blog, names it and starts posting content immediately.  Also refered to as blogs are websites which are not free as the owner registers (pays) for a domain name,  for example, and host the site with a hosting service provider. In essence, Linda Ikeji is a blogger on her as much Bellanija on The citizen reports website, Saharareporters is also a blog.

I know these examples mentioned are successful bloggers who have been around for years with dedicated readers and followers. But I tell you there are hundreds of bloggers who are small with few readers, some just family members and friends in their areas of interest who are growing their blogs steadily  into the future. You are not alone.

Finally, you have a huge market. According to Internet World stats, Nigeria has over 48 million Internet users, the highest in Africa (Egypt comes a distant second with over 29m users). You can imagine having this huge Internet market waiting to hear your story, your opinion, your point of view! And the good news is, the more people  you can attract to your blog, the higher your potential earnings, apart from the fame that comes with being a celebrity blogger.

So, when next you pull out your BB to broadcast a breaking news or to compose those cute lines to share with your contacts,  think again, stop pinging, start blogging!