Menace of Blogging Youths

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Nkiru Sylvanus, a victim of bloggers indiscretion
Nkiru Sylvanus, a victim of bloggers indiscretion

A lot of Nigerian youths have taken to blogging as a medium to air their views and to also make money but lack of regulation has revealed the danger inherent in the medium

|  By Ishaya Ibrahim  |  Jan. 28, 2013 @ 01:00

THE news initially came from a blog site with this screaming headline: “Namadi Sambo’s Aide Marries Nkiru Sylvanus as Second Wife.” Sylvanus is a Nollywood actress and currently an aide to Rochas Okorocha, governor of Imo State, while the vice president’s aide referred to in the headline is Umar Sani, his senior special assistant on media. Once the story broke on the internet, it went viral and many other blog sites culled it.

Mark, call for regulation of the social media
Mark, call for regulation of the social media

They never bothered to verify it or wonder why the story did not have an accompanying picture of the supposed wedding in this age where almost everyone has a camera phone. But as it later turned out, the story was a hoax prompting Sani to call a press conference to refute it. Welcome to Nigeria’s blogosphere where every youth has now become a publisher cum editor.

The blog is saturated with stories that are true, half-truth or outright lies. The emergence and growth of blogs in Nigeria has seen many youths creating their blogs for a variety of reasons.  For some persons it provides an avenue to express themselves, while others are using blogs to make or hope to make money. Cinderella Amos, a blogger, took to blogging for the love of writing. After leaving Newswatch where she worked as an intern, she set up the Cindy Amos blog to continue with her writing streak and also use it to upload the stories she had been covering while at Newswatch.

 It was after she had been neck-deep into it that she found out that she could also make money from the blog. “I have been getting adverts and the money has also been coming”, she said, adding that her dream is to make enough money to publish a newsmagazine.

Gbenga Olanipekun, another blogger, is a student of Osun State University. Olanipekun started his blog The Voice247, to express his political thoughts on the state of the country. According to him, the blog gives an informed analysis of political happenings in Nigeria. Other blogs thrive on celebrity gossips, fashion, sports and many other issues of interest.

Cinderella Amos, a blogger
Cinderella Amos, a blogger

However, blogs have become an avenue for publishing unverifiable stories just like the alleged secret wedding of Sylvanus to Sani. This type of situation prompted David Mark, Senate president, in July last year, to call for a check on the menace of the social media on the Nigerian society, accusing some people of using the media to demean their leaders. Mark said the need to check the social media became necessary, as they do not have the avenue for retraction of whatever they had done to damage people’s image.

The impact of blogging upon the mainstream media has also been acknowledged by the United States government. In 2009, the US journalism industry had declined to the point that several newspaper corporations were filing for bankruptcy, resulting in less direct competition between newspapers within the same circulation area. Blogs were now filling the vacuum leading to the discussion as to whether the newspaper industry would benefit from a stimulus package from the US government, since blog sites were providing the necessary news.

But President Barack Obama said the emerging influence of blogging upon society could not replace the print media. “If the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, then what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other,” Obama said.

A blog is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web. It could be the work of a single individual or of a small group. Most quality blogs provide commentaries on particular subjects or on a variety of issues and is also interactive, allowing visitors to leave their comments and even message on a particular issue.

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