Saturday 8 July 2017

Enhancing Economic Growth In Africa Through Technology

To be more specific, this article is about 
enhancing economic growth through people using technology that is mostly derived from, or related to, the internet.

I hope this article will help you, if you are a young African, to become a more pro-active and progressive user of the internet. In other words, I want you to finish reading this article and decide that you would drastically reduce the amount of time that you spend on Facebook idolizing Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Also that you would curb the amount of time you spend playing games on your phone, or creating and forwarding unconfirmed information on Whatsapp.

Instead, I need you to think seriously about HOW you can use your devices (your smart phones, your tablets and your laptops) as vehicles that move you faster towards achieving your goals in life.

As a matter of fact, for those of you who know, in your hearts, that you have not set any real goals yet; using your devices properly could actually help you to discover what your goals should be, and continuously help you to refine those goals.

So the natural question that I would expect from you now is for you to ask me, "How?" 

"How can I use my smartphone or my laptop to reach my goals, or to set goals for myself?"

Information Is​ Power:

Answering questions like this one is exactly why Digital Africa was created. So stay with us (follow this blog) as I attempt the answer:


It was actually my friend and favorite blogger, Joy Isa, that asked me to write this article to "change the perceptions of Nigerian youth about the value of digital networking", as she wrote, in a Hangouts' message. 

She confessed that I had successfully changed her mind about the Web, and that I had convinced her that there was some value in networking online. 
I had indeed gotten her to join Google+, and she has been trying since then to be more active on that platform. 
She started her blog, she joined a few G+ communities for bloggers and writers, and she has even overcome some of her online shyness by joining a few conversations with strangers on the g+ platform. Of which live in many different parts of the world.

But, clearly, with this question, she is still not sure of the value in all of this.
So my post here will try to re-address my claims again. But this time I want everyone of you to pay attention.

The Effect Of The Network

In my opinion, the greatest value that the internet brought to us is the ability to communicate with anybody in the world, anywhere in the world, and at anytime of the day.
Seriously, think about it for a few minutes.

Your first reaction may be to think that the telephone did this very well before the internet came along, right?
Yes indeed it did. However, the internet adds two things to that communication miracle that the telephone never could:

1. The ability to instantly discover information from heterogeneous sources. 
2. The ability to recover information from conversations that happened days or years in the past.

Oftentimes this info comes with variety to choose from, can be very timely, and it can often give you the ability to give feedback to the publisher/curator of the information. 

You couldn't just pick up your phone and talk to the President of the US before, right?

But now you can mention him in a tweet. 
Now, I'm not saying that you have a good chance of getting a response from him. But it is possible. If Your tweet strokes his ego well enough, he could respond or retweet your tweet. And who knows what else could happen from there.

You couldn't pick up your phone and call an astronaut for information about some of the more mundane tasks that they carry out while in space. Today, you can follow Samantha Cristofioretti on Google+ and literally keep up with her minute by minute activities on the international space station.
And get your questions in with a chance to get her reply
All you need is to think of a problem today, and you can probably instantly find a solution to it offered online.  Well not saying that all info online would be correct or truthful. 
Chances are, somebody somewhere else in the world had already thought of solving that problem, and has also shared how they solved it in a blog - or through a social media post that can be discovered through a Google search.

But unfortunately, many of us are seriously underrating the gravity of these things. And that is why we do not really take advantage of them the way we should.

My Networks My Journey

When I began my current journey, I had this strong desire to "get to the future" before most people in the world. The plan was to quickly plant my feet firmly within an industry that had a massive potential globally, but was not yet competitive in Nigeria. 
My friend introduced me to digital print marketing, and a chance to sell the first Kodak Nexpress digital colour printing press in Nigeria.

I wrapped my soul with zeal and flung myself at this opportunity, because I knew that if things did not work out there, digital printing was not far from digital marketing (which I was already "flirting" with - however, from afar).
So after several years of very sluggish growth in the digital printing world, Kodak sent an Italian Nexpress business developer to give us presentations on how to create a market for the Nexpress.

I learnt a ton on that occassion, but most of all, the Italian dude from Kodak (Salvatore Massaro) introduced me to 2 things that would soon become pivotal to my present life:
Search Engine Optimization and Google Plus.
I became flat-out ravenous for all the information I could find SEO, while I constantly followed the conversations of the most popular SEOs that were on Google Plus.
My zeal was able to push me to throw away all reservations and bashfulness, and work myself into the conversations of these experts of SEO. 

I was eventually able to get the attention of the most legendary name in SEO: One of the pioneers of the craft! He is the Black Knight: Sir Ammon Johns. Networking with Ammon Johns got me to connect with many other awesome people from the digital marketing world. These connections extended my reach into the Semantic Web 

The value of this was that I always had easy access to the very latest information in my chosen industry.
The high level of know-how possessed by these people I was now keeping company (keeping virtual company that is) with, boosted my own ability to learn and understand how things worked on the world wide web.

I cannot stress how much you can potentially gain from merely maintaining conversation with the right people (on the right topics) on Google Plus. And I had never found this type of richness from LinkedIn or Facebook.  

Marketing is research, research and more research.
A lot of people know that they can do some very powerful research on Google search these days. The kind of research they could not have gotten even by paying lots of money to research consultancy companies a few years ago.

However, many people still do not know how to use free Google search's Advanced Features. Even less know about using search operator functions.