We did our first post on Techmtaa on 24th December 2009. It has been long since and we have made impact, enemies and some mileage. After almost and after almost 600 days (604 to be exact) I believe we can draw some lessons. Before Techmtaa, I used to blog on other platforms or post long mails and forum replies. Now it is basically blogs and a few magazine articles.
There are some few lessons we have drawn from the experience;
1 Stick to Being Yourself
This is not about the blog’s policy only but also you as an individual. You will disappear off the radar very fast when you change from a thought leader to someone who looks to dupe corporates with fake accolades. When you worship corporates even when they are wrong, they will use you as an attack dog but will quickly dump you when the strategy of lying to themselves and you helping them in the process have failed.
Most of the tech news makers who used to hate me and came to understand me knows that I like sticking to the truth whether they like it or not. It has earned me many enemies and some calling my immediate death but just like Malcom X said, “Africans didn’t win independence sitting and doing business as usual.” They fought for it. Some of us will have to be attacked for others to enjoy the fruits of being successful bloggers in Kenya.
2. Appreciate Perfection, Criticise mediocrity
I tell you that even my own dad would not dare do something which I think was wrong. He would get the strongest rebuke which sometimes made him ask whether he was dreaming or facing reality. I told him off when he was wrong and will continue to appreciate great products, services and moves but wont hesitate to point out the stupidly thought out ideas. It is as simple as that.
3. Embrace not being Perfect
Trust me, you are going to have many spelling and grammar hunters screaming down your kneck how you are not worth doing any posts just because of the one or two mistakes you have. No one is perfect and even Daily Nation has to employ layers of editing of grammar, spelling and recently even employed special editor for calculations. You are probably only and individual. Be happy in your imperfection.
4. The Higher the Amount of Reactions, The Greater the Impact
You cannot be a blogger who when people read your blogs then they will comments like “spot on”, “nice”, “Cool stuff”, “I wanted to say that” and many others. They are lying to you. I am not criticising those who leave such comments but what kind of reaction do you get? There are those who when they want to lie to you how great an impact you made, they would urge you on using such comments. I value those who write two or three sentences as comments than the “wow” men. You remember this article?. Lessons lessons!
5. It is Very easy to Start a Blog But Hard to Sustain it
You might have many who are bloggers but how many blog regularly? How many get to sustain the tempo of their blogging. When running a niche blog like tech, you will get many copy cats because every person who has some tech background thinks he can blog. After doing his/her first post, he will see no second post coming and will resort to either contributing comments on the existing blogs or will just resort to hating on the established ones.
6. Don’t Go With The Crowd, Create Your Own Path
It is very easy to go with a crowd. It is like the parable my dad always told us of the herd of cows. My home area, Kano, can sometimes turn into a semi desert when the rains don’t come in time. But removing only one cow out of our herd of cows to take it to a place with better grazing areas might not bee easy not because the cow does not want grass but because it is used to a certain crowd. Same mentality is common in blogosphere.
7. The More Times you Blog, the Better
The more times you blog in a day, the better. Do short and clear posts in a day but keep the tempo. Even in the ordinary websites, it is hard to get visitors when there are no updates to come back for.
8. When they copy you, Know that You Are Successful
Just like some would want to sell their kidneys to buy iPads or open fake Apple stores or Safaricom shops, when you are a successful blogger, people would want to open fake Twitter accounts with your name and even start fake blogs. Don’t deter such people, they will always play second fiddle to you. It is like those people so scared of Agwambo that when Raila starts ODM, they start ODM-K and when he starts LDP, they start LDP-Asili.
This means that you have moved from being a news reporter to a news maker.
When they all grow up, they would like to be you and they have to mention you in every blog post they make to remain relevant. That should be a measure of success. These are the times when you look for Rick Ross track called “Make it Rain” and play it so loudly in your hood.