BILLBOARDS around town, these days, have one thing in common. Social Media buttons. It’s an interesting phenomenon that may, more often than not, go un-noticed.
It reminds me of a meeting we held at NTV Uganda offices back in 2011. Boaz Shani had just launched UGO, or Uganda Goes Online if you can call it that, and was involved in very intensive marketing. Sensitization, actually. He used to preach to different business leaders about how “there’s a new media platform called ‘the Internet'”; and prepared very animated slides showing details of the facts and figures behind the Internet.
This particular afternoon, the company on the receiving end of this “gospel” was NTV Uganda.
Then General Manager, Joe Munene, kept popping the questions; ‘so how do you make money? how do you benefit?’ To be honest, it was actually concerning me almost as much.
“At the moment, we’re doing everything for free. We want you to come online. We’re starting a revolution,” Boaz responded.
“Ah, so you’re like UN, huh?” Wondered Munene.
Boaz cheekily answered, “You could say that.”
For obvious reasons, I’ll not go into the rest of the meeting, except how it ended.
“Since we now have UN on the team, why not? Let’s…” concluded Munene.
I was equally unconvinced about Boaz’s UNness. So as we walked back to the car, I decided to continue the discussion with him. I asked him what was really in it for him.
“Eventually, people will remember that we started this. That’s enough for me!”
A target to “put Uganda online” seemed like a wild goose chase to me at the time. Boaz was motivated. “We have to do it now when we still have the energy,” he added.
The rest of the “general public” attended his presentation a few months later at TechFest 2011, and hundreds of others have been held week-in week-out.
I haven’t talked to him to know how he now feels about his contribution, but I reckon he’s very pleased that so many people have now “come online” that companies reserve some square units on their marketing material for their social media icons; including the MTN strip-banner that’s in between the menus on this website!
Don’t ask me about the other factors that have contributed to the online growth… I was just thinking about this one! For now, anyway.Hits:3357