Of A Blog Being A Community

My name is Beaton but you call me B. I am a digital storyteller, which basically means that I use the medium of the internet to immortalize myself the only way I know how by WRITING.

When I am not writing I am builder of blogging communities running an online platform that serves to bring together and network bloggers from all over Africa, where the world meets Africa as we like to call it.

where the world meets Africa

The Blogging Culture: A Website means community

A website means community

I am blogger although technically when no one is around, I call myself a writer with a blog. But what is a blog anyway?

what is a blog?

To answer this I will have to delve into a brief history of blogging and WordPress

Blog comes the word WebLog which means literally a log of the web

Blogging started in the developed countries, around the mid to late 90s, when it was mostly online diaries……  By early 2000s blogging had become, A THING a movement even a full time business for some, not just endorsing products and affiliate marketing but marketing and selling their own skills services and crafts as diverse niches of blogs mushroomed.

It no longer was about just personal diaries, but lifestyle, fashion, health fitness, travel, tourism, parenting; the list is endless there’s a type of blogger for everything somewhere on the internet; even those who blog about blogging.

Here’s a fun fact……Did you know WordPress was built and evolved from a blogging platform called B2/CafeLog which had gained quite a huge community count up until the programmer created of the platform vanished leaving a sizeable community who no longer had developer support.

An innovative user of this platform worried about this development came up with the idea to create anew platform integrating the “cool stuff” from there and adding more features and May 2003 WordPress was born

15 years later here we are:

32% of the internet powered by wordpress

What does this mean?
There’s a huge community of bloggers and its growing and so too has the definition of what blogging is; blogging has no longer has a clear cut simple definition, it means different things to different people.

The official definition of blogging goes something like this:

a website whose posts listed chronologically from most recent to oldest updated regularly usually by one author


I can attempt to summarily define it as:
The online updating of content onto a digital platform

Something as simple as posting a status onto your Instagram, sharing a note on your Facebook, tweeting a tweet or even a video on YouTube or updating the content on your website; blogging is a little like running a magazine.

Blogging has transcended simply being just something you do on the internet; its more than just a marketing tool too; its also a political tool, an awareness campaign raiser, a society watchdog and even custodian of culture. A blog is like a key that opens doors to worlds one can only dream and tap into the community of people beyond the person simply on the end of the screen

I call my blog a gentleman because opens doors for me

A website is more than a conversation; a website is a community and for community to flourish we need each other..

Redwoods trees grow to dizzying heights reaching for the sky and last for thousands of years yet they have very shallow roots

How Do They Do This

The secret to their strength is that their roots … intertwine with other redwoods to create an underground network of powerful connections.

I have kept my personal blog for about five years now and my reach stats look  like this


I did a little research via my peers in the blogging community to see if anyone had any ideas why the blogging culture in the global south is so low  and the most common reasons were as follows:

The Cost of data is very prohibitive Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) released a report in October showing that on average 1GB of data costs 2.5% of the average monthly income; this translates to over two billion people living in a country where 1GB of mobile data is unaffordable… and bundled internet packages make the net be largely regarded as a just social media since all people do is mostly go onto social media

As for people not understanding the blogging culture, that’s part of why I am always encouraging and helping out fellow content creators and building blogging communities it seems like fun but a lot of work goes into having a website and when you put effort and get nothing back that why websites die……

How to support bloggers

  •  Number One Read our work
  • Subscribe, like, comment If you read and love something or find it useful say so
  • If a product is being sold or reviewed why not buy or recommend to a friend
  • Share links with your friends
  •  If you spot any errors hit the contact tab let us know
  • And Pay US ha!

Remember Archimedes’ famous quote; that give me a fulcrum, along enough lever and a place to stand on and I will change the world

 I say to you:

Give me a blog, an audience and an internet connection, and I will move the world.

~Beaton

Thank you!!

~B

PS And while I have you here, I am part of blogging community that picks a weekly blogger to crush on, I am this week’s Blog Crush but you dont have to take my word for how A Blog means community have a quick read at these posts:

Beaton 
Becoming The Muse

Makupsy – Dreadlocks Love Affair

Leo – Dreadlock Rasta!

Ubu – Of Possible Coffee Addiction

Hey Anci – Beaton -the man,the dreadlocked hallmark card and the myth

Life With Dimples – BlogIndabaWednesday ~ B

Tee Madzika – Wednesday share a creative 4

miss chiseche – wednesday creative crush

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Of The Guarana Energy Drink: A Review

Kgalagadi Brands has an affordable alternative to the energy drink market that will be hitting shelves in a supermarket near you (If you are in Zimbabwe that is ^_^ I wouldn’t know if they have an eye for the international market yet, we could ask them)

If I were you I would be wondering how I found out about it, when its not yet in the shops right?(unless you are reading this review after the official launch TBA)

I saw their promotional tweet on my timeline:

Because curiosity and hey; word to the wise: people love giveaways I followed them and true to their word; they delivered right at my gate too.

(if people from Kgalagadi brands are reading this you really should look into a deliver an energy order service as part of you distribution channels and not just be bound to conventional markets festive gatherings are loading……..)

Guarana Energy Drink retails at 50c for 400ml of energy drink conveyed to you in a plastic sachet

In these trying economic times one cant really get hung up on packaging but it’s a tad hard to look cool sipping on juice from a satchet…. Well I poured mine into a glass……

The are four flavours to pick from Lemon and Lime; Berry Blast, Electric and Vanilla.

The idea of vanilla flavour sounded nice, so I tried that one first.

Verdict: Vanilla was my least favourite one, it wasn’t quite what I expected probably considering I had sampled it thinking ooooh vanilla I love vanilla, sometimes I re-purpose the baking vanilla essence for other things

Electric had me curious so I tried that next

Electric Flavour

Verdict: The electric flavor with its fruity taste turned out to be my favourite maybe because I tried it with no expectations I would have loved it more if it was blue in colour!!!!!!

Berry Blast

Berry Blast

Verdict: taste as one would expect from a blackberry black currant flavoured juice

I tried Lemon and Lime last thinking I was saving the best for last

Verdict: I was wrong! It almost ties with vanilla on being my least favourite if I could try vanilla again I might prefer it instead. But it tastes like it would be better served as a cocktail mixer drink and I noticed they say so too… if you know, you know…..

One does not normally drink energy drinks for their refreshing taste: if you want the energy you will get the energy they pack quite a noticeable jolt and their active ingredients in equal and sometimes higher than the competition but for a lesser cost

Per 400ml serving

Caffeine 128mg
Ginseng root extract 324mg
Guarana seed extract 8mg

Overall verdict:

It’s a bargain and if you an energy drink junkie I would say go for it your pocket will thank you though I really think they should have a range which comes in sports bottles or resealable sachets and then one can use the sachets as refill packs….. one can rock something like this yeah?

At the time of publishing this post they were on 47 followers on their twitter page and still had the give away running; so you can also try them out for yourself and I am curious on your thoughts if you would or do.

Their twitter page is @Guarana_energy

~B

PS Also if you are an energy drink junkie you might want to watch your consumption as bingeing on energy drinks has potential health problems Drink responsibly

Of A Website Being A Conversation

A website is a conversation

A Website is a conversation

Well if Code Is Poetry……Then A Website is A conversation.

I am a story-teller I come from a line of story-tellers  its in my blood we used to sit round a fire and tell stories and now, we gather round our devices in this digital age stories are immortalized on the pages of the internet, I start digital fires.

Screenshot (53)

A Website just like a good story, tells not just a story but it’s a conversation; it captures the mind, it engages your audience and they ask those four words every story-teller loves to here…. And Then what happened next.

So you have a website its perfect everything is on fleek. The design is flawless, the seo is optimized so is the device compatibility….

Screenshot (54)

And then what happens next? What comes after:

Screenshot (56).png

The internet is where websites go to die, buried in the digital grave of the information superhighway… Here is how you keep it alive:

  • Keep it up to date

Screenshot (57)

Have you ever visited a website only to find that content on it is all outdated?  Everything was uploaded and edited probably on the day the site went live and then never again. You scroll along, nothing new to see here, and they just lost a reader or client or potential stream of revenue.

  • Consistent content

Content is king

Schedule a content calendar, so you always know what and when you are posting.

Social media has changed the way websites are treated. Your site must be RELEVANT and  RESONATE with the audience and is also CURRENT.

relevant

*Cant find a word for current or up to date that begins with R

Whats worse than a site that is irrelevant and does not resonate with an audience …. Well I would have say one where you cant find the contact details. Maybe removed because they don’t want emails flooding inbox telling them how out of touch the site is…..

  • Contact Details

contact details

Contact details should be easy to find. If you include an email address, make sure it’s a working email address,  and please respond to your emails, you might want to even keep an eye on your spam folders too.

  • Interaction

Like I said a website is a conversation, and a conversation means you are not just talking to or talking at but you a talking with someone.

A website is a conversation

Make it easy to engage with you. Don’t add sign up procedures that require one to create an account and chant incantations on a full moon night, maybe howl a little, then verify they are human by making a small sacrifice……

A website is a conversation, engage with your audience if you get an email, reply, if you get a comment reply to it. You might want to have links to your social media visible on your website and likewise your social media pages points to your Website.

Interact

I visit a lot of websites, blogs mainly, the ones I keep going back to are the ones where I feel my presence is appreciated and will probably respond to the call to action from them, than have you ever read a post on a website and then left what you felt was a comment that needed a response and the site owners just ignored you… its like a blue tick message on Whatsapp.  And chances of me coming back or subscribing…. low

Here is protip for bloggers who want to build their readership, its ridiculously easy….When a fellow blogger reads and comments, go to their site and read and comment some of theirs. Read other blogs go out there and find them, read to see how other people write or interact with their audience, and read to find out how to not write, if you go to a website and find things about it that you don’t like then you learn to not do that on yours……..

  • Be classy

Make sure that your call to action is not over powering. You click on a website and the first thing that fills the screen is this:

Call to action

A large pop up window covering everything else, telling you to subscribe to the newsletter….. why should I subscribe when I don’t even know what you are about, I don’t want you in my emails I don’t know you like that, the conversation hasn’t even started……

I might probably close the page entirely without proceeding further, I really might and my chances of subscribing if I do proceed are slim…..On my tiny screen its easier to close the site entirely than to try and press the x to close the pop up window.

A Website is a conversation….. what does yours say?

~B

This was part of my presentation at the WordCamp Harare 2017 you can find my presentation slides here: A website is conversation 

Of The Harare Agriculture Show: A day at.

harare agriculture show

The Harare Agricultural Show is an annual agricultural business exhibition held at the Exhibition  Park Harare. Why they still call it “Agricultural Show” when it might as well as be the biggest Business exhibition event in the country second only to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair is something I wonder about to be honest.

The Agricultural Show is another tradition we adopted from our colonial heritage. When the settler farmers launched it back in the 1900s it was a platform to share and exchange ideas on commercial farming; at a time when the indigenous landowners were being displaced from their ancestral homes to communal reserve areas, where they were restricted to subsistence farming, leaving the fertile arable lands to the settler farmers.

After our independence from colonial rule the country underwent a controversial land reform to reclaim the land that was stolen but there is still an uneven distribution of this resource vital, which might explain the mostly unspoken sentiment that maybe what has simply changed is the face of our oppressors. Where one settler farmer used to own large tracts of land, it’s now a senior government official or a decorated army general or war veteran and the rest distributed more along partisan lines and more as a reward for patriotism than capacity to utilize to the land assigned. Small wonder our agriculture production has been at an all-time low, from being Africa’s breadbasket and in charge of SADC’s Food Security, to us needing aid and donor support; though the government now seeks to make corrective measures through various intermediary processes to develop sustainable agriculture, some of which would be great if they could weed out the corruption that everyone turns a blind eye to, seed and resources being misappropriated.

The Zimbabwe Agriculture Society (driving force behind the Harare Agriculture Show) has taken a radical strategy to “reposition itself as the centre of excellence in facilitating national agricultural development that ultimately impacts positively on rural livelihoods.”

To consolidate, broaden and deepen value chains, while highlighting the “push-pull effect” and close, and perhaps inseparable, linkages between sustained agricultural productivity, industry resuscitation and increased capacity utilisation, and the resultant improved economic growth, the theme for 2018 is:

FIELD TO INDUSTRY

 

field to industry Produce Connect Develop

The icon depicts the various activities and ingredients to ensure a good harvest, a link with industry and the main actors, while showing the resultant economic growth, and all this enveloped in the year 2018, emphasising the need for urgency among players to ensure agriculture-led economic growth.

History lesson and current affairs aside this year I decided to attend the Harare Agriculture show… wait that’s a misleading statement. My services “were volunteered” as a chaperone to my nieces and nephews, so they could attend. I almost said I was too busy to do it but I did not have the heart after seeing the excitement written all over their faces when they found out they could go if I was taking them.

They really should just rename the Harare Agriculture Show to The Harare Children’s Carnival Show, they are the ones who enjoy it the most from face painting to amusement park rides and of course how could I forget candy floss.

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Mostly all I remember from the show is mostly waiting in lines.

  • Lines to get into the show. There was a high turn out and of course because of the cash shortages people use plastic money, so it takes longer for each person to get served, and sometimes the system would crash and I kept thinking there should be an easier way to do this like prefund my ticket and simply waltz through the gates like they do at toll gates ? The queue for those paying in cash was super short and moved quite rapidly how I envied them. Cash is king these days
  • Lines to buy tokens for the amusement rides. And of course those with cash got served first and faster.
  • Lines to actually get on the rides. All the really cool rides had lines so long that looking at them just sapped your energy so we ended up picking the less fun rides
  • Lines to buy food. Those selling food and snacks, if they did not make a pile of money then, I don’t know what they were doing.

With all this going on I never got a chance to visit the exhibition stands for any of the businesses though it did look like a great networking opportunity I was terribly sorry to miss but I did see a cow or two and some pigs.

harare agric show

And just when it looked like the fun evening festivities were about to begin which would kick off with the customary fireworks display rivalled only by one you see at  Meikles hotel on New Year’s we had to call it day, it was getting cold and dark and the little ones wanted to go home

Harare show

dancing

are you not entertained?

My verdict would I attend it again? In a heartbeat (especially if I wasn’t on chaperon duty and if I was, I would make sure we went first thing in the morning before the rush)

Maybe next year I might even consider being an exhibitor cause I thinking what kind of national business exhibition attracting foreign exhibitors does not have an easy to find online presence, no common hashtags, so people can easily share moments, such as this one. Free wifi should permeate every corner of the exhibition park  and if you are only finding out or reading about the Harare Agriculture Show today, a week and some change after the event that’s exactly my point, businesses in Africa need to embrace more of the digital world and by extension bloggers and their networks instead of treating it as a hobby sport by people with internet access and too much free time on their hands………..

And that’s why next year my exhibition will be a Bloggers Hub. I wrote it down so it could be real. Now someone help me make my dream a reality step, into my office and let’s chat about it over coffee…..

~B

Day 9 of my blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home