Writing in diaries was always my thing growing up. I had special little notebooks filled with short stories and poetry. I am sure there were many other people my age that did what I did, but I never got access to their work because it probably circulated in their immediate circles. Social media and blogging platforms came to change all that. Now I have access to the works of many writers world-wide and am able to share ideas, experiences and opportunities with them.
I have noted a rise in Writers blogs in Zimbabwe and I believe it is a positive thing that young people have realized that they can use social media to promote their work. There are obviously more writer’s blogs than I know out there and I’m always fascinated to read a well updated local blog. Most writers use WordPress lately perhaps because it is easy to set up. I like blogger because I am accustomed to it even though I use both. These platforms came at a time where publishing houses didn’t seem to be interested in publishing new authors. Publishing houses (traditional ones) preffered to continue publishing the works of tried and tested authors that were signed to them years ago. However, authors over the years began to put their works on self publishing sites, but in order for them to create an audience that would buy the end product in a competitive global space the internet) blogs became necessary for writers to prove themselves before selling the final product.
The internet is flooded with many e-books and books of the same genre, in order for one to be a preferred choice they have to create a loyal following that trusts what they say to an extent of buying an end product if they released one. Some authors however gain revenue from placing adverts on their blogs or pages. There are various systems they use, some of them are Google Ad sense, Amazon Associates and share a sale. For Zimbabwean authors however a blog is usually just a space on which they convey their thoughts and showcase their work with very little monetization. It is more passion driven.
As much as it is passion driven, they do wish they could earn a living from this and some blogs locally do pay people for article submissions but the majority do not do so. However I believe there is still a lot to be done on presentation and frequency of posting on local blogs. A lot of bloggers need to take time to post on a regular basis or keep a consistent schedule. I also believe addition of static pages with contact information, how to hire them or advertise with them is very important.
I’m impressed by the work a number of blogs have put in Zimbabwe among them: TechZim, 3-Mob, Scribbled Notes, Untitled Chronicles, ZtorieBhuku, Concrete Jungle Fashions, The Juice Zim and Kalabash Media. As I said earlier in the post, these are not the only blogs one can speak off but they do represent the aspects I wish to see in local blogs. I believe blogs are tools for people of like interests to reach out to each other. In fact Facebook and twitter are known as micro blogs. Everybody is a blogger in a way.
In future posts I will share how Zimbabwean youth can use blogs to empower themselves.