“Nigerian Tech blogs are getting increasingly boring and lacking original content“. A friend of mine tabled this opinion recently on Twitter. I have been on a hiatus from active participation on Twitter and Facebook for a while now and didn’t see it immediately.
I am still not jumping back into Twitter, so this is where I shall discuss the subject. Having blogged since 2006, I have been around a while and have a longer tunnel view of blogging in general in Nigeria. This does not mean that I have a 100% correct view on the industry, but hopefully I have insights that anyone can learn from. Here are my thoughts outlined below.
1. Original Content Is Not Profitable
Blogging is an industry now, and most bloggers out there – myself inclusive – are after a healthy bottomline (AND THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!!). The truth, the Gospel truth and nothing but the truth is that original content is not quite profitable in these parts. News and sensational items sell more. Those bring in more traffic and more clicks than any original content you can come up with – and cost much less to create in terms of resources. Advertisers want traffic, so bloggers go for the most cost-effective route to traffic. Good business sense, if you ask me.
This is not a tech blogging thing only. From gossip, news and political blogs all the way to tech blogs, original content doesn’t pay the bills. No-one wants to pay for it. The readers won’t pay for original content. Brands don’t want to pay for it either. Brands prefer to send in their sponsored articles for bloggers to publish “as is”, so you will often find 20 blogs all publishing the same thing.
The situation is that Mobility and a few other Naija tech blogs invest in a fair amount of original content, while the others….well…see the next item below.
2. Original Content is an endangered specie
I spend hours writing a hot, sizzling original article for publishing on Mobility Arena, and before you can spell “MTN”, ten other tech blogs have reproduced it, sometimes with minor modifications here and there. A few bloggers with a conscience reproduce it and include a tiny link back at the bottom of the post.
So, while a few blogs like MobilityArena and some others produce a good deal of original content, it ends up not so original after it has been copied round. Plagiarism is making nonsense of the concept of original content.
Even if Mobility Arena comes up with a new style or concept tomorrow, it will be copied too – and so “lose” its originality. This is what the social age is about – sharing and copying. And then, many times, chasing originality for its sake is counterproductive and retrogressive. There are many scenarios in which it makes perfect sense to stick with what works, even if it is being done by everyone else.
3. There is not much newsworthy stuff happening in the tech space
You can take this anyhow you like, but the Nigerian tech space is mostly hot air and hype. Most apps get launched and do not see more than 100 downloads. Because it is a world full of startup hype, the “tech” blogs that cover startups have more stuff to write about. Other than that, you have the networks (nothing much happening there), and hardware manufacturers (some interesting stuff from time to time).
But even the smartphone world has gotten extremely boring. For the most part, nothing is happening with BlackBerry, Windows Phone, Firefox, Sailfish, and Tizen. Once a year, something happens with iOS. And the rest of the year, multiple Android OEMs release smartphones that are more or less a copy of one or more existing devices. Boring. See?
This is Not Unique to Naija tech blogs
Pick any ten American tech blogs and skim through their content. Chances are that 80-90% of the content is similar in terms of news. There is greater diversity in opinion articles and reviews, but the trend is not much different. If you have read one American tech blog, you have mostly read what there is to be read anywhere else. Consider that most of the news on many Nigerian tech blogs are culled from American tech blogs, and you get the picture. This “boring” is everywhere.
Now, Before You Blow A Gasket
Don’t blow a gasket. I didn’t write this article to give any excuses. I have highlighted some of the issues involved, so that those interested in finding a solution to them can have a clear picture. I am an advocate of original content, and Mobility Arena produces a great deal of it. A few others do too. There are two sets of Nigerian tech blogs – leaders and followers. Just stick with reading the leaders. The followers mostly reproduce content from the leaders.
I think that oversabi dey worry my friend and others like him (Hi, guys!). LOL. It is a techie thing, o jare. Techies get bored quickly, and to make matters worse, the mobile world – the modern driver of today’s tech – is very boring at the moment, as I’ve explained earlier. He is bored with everything, not just Nigerian tech blogs. Blame the game, not the players. In truth, there is little happening anywhere in the tech world that you will miss by reading just the top 3 Nigerian tech blogs. Very, very little.
oversabi = too much knowledge
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.