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What happens on Twitter...

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We have long passed the stage where Twitter is somewhat decoupled from real-life, what happens on Twi
 
August 31 · Issue #62 · View online
iAfrikan Daily Brief
We have long passed the stage where Twitter is somewhat decoupled from real-life, what happens on Twitter is very much part of RL (real life), or is it? - Tefo Mohapi

Not so long ago, about half-a-decade or more ago, Twitter used to be a frivolous place. People, myself included, would tweet mostly under their nicknames and pseudonyms. More importantly, we’d all be mostly tweeting about what we had for lunch, the music we are listening to, sports banter, and other such supposedly less serious matters.
Slowly but then suddenly, whatever was said on Twitter became serious and tweets started revolving around politics and business. Before I knew it, newspapers, (previously) respectable ones, started running whole articles based on tweets and mostly quoting tweets as part of the news.
Uganda's President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, along with two other Ugandan officials, is being sued by Hillary Innocent Seguya Taylor (a Ugandan studying at Harvard University) for blocking him on Twitter.
So important and intertwined with our real lives has Twitter become that a Ugandan student at Harvard University, Hillary Innocent Seguya Taylor, is suing the President of Uganda along with two other officials of the East African country for blocking him on Twitter. Taylor’s main argument is that, as a Ugandan citizen abroad, following Ugandan politicians on Twitter is one of the few methods he can follow political and governance matters in Uganda. As such, by blocking him, Museveni & Co. are denying him his right to information as a citizen.
I think Taylor’s argument is sound (we will be following the case).
Another incident that had me penning this newsletter is that of Jack Dorsey (Co-founder and CEO of Twitter) having his Twitter account hacked. It was quite a spectacle to observe it all in real-time as Jack’s Twitter account, out of nowhere tweeted the N-word. This was then followed by more racial slurs and ultimately some pro-Nazi tweets. Literally, every single publication and broadcaster worth its salt was running with the story.
This got me asking, is Twitter really a reflection of society and that important?
Social media statistics for South Africa. Source (Data): World Wide Worx
Unfortunately the amount of Twitter users, especially in African countries, represents a small minority.
What makes it usually appear that Twitter represents the mindset of any country, in my humble opinion, is that most journalists and broadcasters are also on Twitter. As such, they tend to amplify what is visible to them.
How Africa Tweets 2018 Report. Source: Portland
You see this play out like clockwork during elections in most African countries. The twitterati, who are very much like the bourgeoisie (as opposed to aristocrats and peasants), will wax lyrical about their favourite political party (most times it’s an opposition party, because…TiA). They will get it trending on Twitter, and journalists and others will take that as a sign of the zeitgeist. Elections come, and the incumbent political party (again, because…TiA) wins and the twitterati are back at it again feigning shock and horror at how it was clear (based on tweets 🙄) that their party of choice was popularly and should have won.
The reality, in most parts, not all (because…TiA), is that the incumbent does door-to-door campaigning and very little Twitter campaigning because they understand the statistics, most voters are not on Twitter and as such it is not necessarily representative of the majority.
Not to mention how some people have at least two Twitter accounts, some are bots, some run by multiple people pretending to be one person, and more. So, yes, Twitter is very much real these days, however, I don’t think in this continent of ours it is a reflection of the majority…yet?
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Read This Book
“People always ask me, ’What’s the secret to being a successful CEO?’ Sadly, there is no secret, but if there is one skill that stands out, it’s the ability to focus and make the best move when there are no good moves. It’s the moments where you feel most like hiding or dying that you can make the biggest difference as a CEO.” - Ben Horowitz
In his book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz, the co-founder of the Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.
While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. As a lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.
I will end with one of my favorite passages from the book:
“By far the most difficult skill I learned as a CEO was the ability to manage my own psychology. Organizational design, process design, metrics, hiring, and firing were all relatively straightforward skills to master compared with keeping my mind in check. I thought I was tough going into it, but I wasn’t tough. I was soft. Over the years I’ve spoken to hundreds of CEOs, all with the same experience. Nonetheless, very few people talk about it and I have never read anything on the topic. It’s like the fight club of management: the first rule of the CEO psychological meltdown is don’t talk about the psychological meltdown. At risk of violating the sacred rule, I will attempt to describe the condition and prescribe some techniques that helped me. In the end, this is the most personal and important battle that any CEO will face.“
Enjoy the read, Ndzalo Mpangana.
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