Happy New Year, friends! My first post this year is courtesy of the fact that today is goodnaijagirl.com’s seven year anniversary and I realized it about halfway through the day. If anything was going to lure me to write a post today, it’s that. Here’s my first blog post:
For a short snippet about me, please start at my About page. I have a 100 things list too, but it’ll take me a while to get up to 100 facts about me. I will be updating it as I go along. You can find some basic information about me on there too.
I guess it makes sense to start with why I started a blog about being a Nigerian North American (NNA) who doesn’t quite feel like she fits in. Well, for one, I’m hoping to attract people in the same boat. You don’t have to be a Nigerian North American to have some of these feelings of course, but that is the perspective I know very well and I’ll be sharing.
I never finished that 100 things list, but over the years those of you who’ve been kind enough to join me on this journey have learned one or two things about me, perhaps even things I didn’t want you to know! I’m very thankful to God for the opportunity to share my life and learn from you. After seven years I feel just as excited about this blog as I was on Boxing Day of 2007 (if I’m not mistaken), when I was hanging out in my parents’ basement (because I still lived at home) with my youngest brother, telling him about this clever name I had coined for a new blog, and resisting the urge to buy the domain name immediately because I didn’t know if I’d commit to the blog for the long haul, and I already owned two domains at that point. So I started this blog as a free one on wordpress.com, bought the domain at the end of May 2008, and here we are!
The blogging world has changed a lot since I first started blogging in 2002, and in the past seven years that I’ve identified as a Nigerian blogger. When I joined the circle of Nigerian bloggers, more bloggers were telling their own stories; now there are a lot more bloggers whose goal is to make money, primarily by resharing gossip or news. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money in my opinion, as long as you’re bringing value and not swindling anyone in the process. I have a passion for authentic blogging, I have a dream that one day the best-paid Nigerian bloggers will be those producing content that is original, helpful and positively transformative. This doesn’t have to mean reinventing the wheel and spending a week crafting each blog post; it can be as simple as a gossip blogger putting his or own spin on something rather than just cutting and pasting what better-established sources have already put out there. If you’re a blogger, whatever your story is, tell it as honestly as you can, or as honestly as you feel comfortable sharing—there’s no requirement that you put information that you’re not comfortable with out there. If you blog about topics that have nothing to do with you, resist the urge to pass off someone else’s work as your own, be overgenerous with crediting original sources, and use as little of someone’s work in your own blog as you can—graciously send your visitors to their site whenever you can.
If you’re a blogger and you feel the same stirrings I do, I challenge you to resist the status quo: yes, many bloggers are well paid for their plagiarism or what amounts to lazy blogging (a debatable term since many work hard searching out sources to cut and paste from, and there is also the need to always be sharing the latest news), but at the end of the day, I want to be proud of what I have put out there. Not every post will resonate with my readers, and not every post will paint an enviable picture of my life, but no one is perfect and as long as you’re committed to putting out valuable content, if you fail at times it’s not the end of the world. Don’t get me wrong, there’s clearly a place for gossip blogs in our world: they can be very entertaining, but even though the internet appears to be limitless when it comes to space, all this cutting and pasting is pollution, and it keeps us from finding gems of content which may be buried under all the copycats when someone makes a Google search. By God’s grace I’ll be more vocal about this issue this year.
This isn’t even the post I sat down to write when I realized it was my blog birthday, but I’m glad it came out. Thank you for reading—here’s to seven more years.