When the idea came to share my experience from blogging, to public speaking, consultancy on social media matters and now a recent debutant as a lecturer at one of Germany’s top universities, Freie Universitat of Berlin, I was held back by my story being used against me as being a show-off. I then decided to write it anyway because I again remembered how much I get inspired even to this day when others achieve success, especially outside our shores. The jabs will of course come from those who can’t stand me but I am sharing this because like @Abuja_Facts who in a recent interview with Metropole magazine said his eureka moment came when he listened to me speak on social media, someone will read this and be fired forward like a rocket launched into space only this time into a path of unending success.
Yesterday’s milestone was not lost on me. Here I was a Nigerian whom if this story is to be believed is supposed to have a useless passport in Germany yet gets to have a new course specifically designed based on his own speeches and writings on issues around the African continent. Looking at the faces of students from Colombia, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Turkey, United States, Bosnia, Germany etc, it was not lost on me that I had completed my National Youth Service only 2 years before. In two years, I had moved from being a blogger, a public speaker and have effectively become a lecturer. How did that happen?
This column itself tells you everything about the how. Persistence is certainly one. Despite crazy travel and work schedules, I have never missed a week since 7th March 2012. That’s almost 80 weeks! This column does not give room for many words so I will pick a perspective of what you might need for yourself. I was discovered on the Internet! All it took was Google, the investigations, then phone calls to people who knew about Nigeria, then confirmations, an email to me followed, a short lecture in Berlin followed last February, then a request to expand the lecture which is what began yesterday.
I have written about how many have used social media to better their lives. I have spoken about the boundless reach of our activities on these platforms. I will say it again, social media is a tool, it will be useful to you only as much as you can make it. If I ran a boutique, you’d have to kill me to stop me from tweeting about my stock. I keep seeing people like P Diddy, Tyrese Gibson, Piers Morgan use social media to advance their brands, sometimes subtle, yet in very strategic ways. For some, it may not even be social media, it may be that thing you believe would help make you into a successful man or woman someday. You are sometimes discouraged by those who say, “this thing will not do anything.” You can choose to listen to them or you can choose to focus on what they cannot see and through dedication and persistence make them see what they refused to see. People may hate you but when you succeed, then you’d have answered them in the most effective way.
People can argue about your ability to make it but they cannot argue with your success. In the midst of this Nigerian rot, The Future Awards Africa continues to identify new names every year to reward for standing out. I was inspired by them in the early days to get started; now the inspiration is about representing Africa outside the continent. I have started well. The choices are right there; you can choose to wait till Nigeria becomes better or you can choose to make the most of opportunities the world has offered you to connect with people from places you have never been. To succeed, you need tools and catalysts of success. One of the most far-reaching tools of success for young people in Africa today is social media. You don’t have to agree with me. But even the harshest of critics will not argue with jumping from being a supposedly “blogging is nothing” in Africa to being a lecturer in Berlin. I don’t know if I am inspiring enough people but I am certainly inspired by the emails I get everyday. Trust me, I wish you well too.
Japheth J Omojuwa lectures are Berlin’s Freie Universitat and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @omojuwa
curled from YNaija