Broadband is coming to Nigeria within the next few months, unleashing a new direction in internet penetration. More Nigerians will be connected on the world-wide-web but I fear that as up till now, few Nigerians have used the Internet productively, broadband is not going to change it, unless and until we increase useful content, making the Internet as much a work tool as it has been an entertainment medium.
Since we are not a people that do things in halves, we are quick to embrace any new technology. Social networking sites such as Facebook has a sizable proportion of Nigerians. Nigerian online forums are increasing by the day, but up till now, very few people are using the Internet to truly improve their lives. I will be glad to be proved wrong, but it seems to me that entertainment, search for distractions – superficial ones at that, is what takes a great majority of Nigerians to the Internet.
Cyberspace is a world by itself, offering possibilities that the real world keeps in the hands of a few. In minutes you can self-publish; within minutes your views (good or bad; poor or profound) can be read by many. While this has power, it also means that mediocrity can rule the day. If you doubt this, visit an online Nigerian forum and see with what depth people treat issues that are raised. In other climes, when discussions arise, people give a thought to the matter at hand, and only intervene if they have something useful to contribute. Many Nigerians put in words because they think that they must make a comment, some times poor ones at that.
If nobody loves you in the real world, you can go to the Internet in search of respect and love, even if it means giving up your core beliefs and loyalties, in order not to offend your newly-found cyberfriends. If you are too lazy to fight your daily battles in the real world, go to the Internet to take in some “fresh” air – only an “air” that does not question your beliefs and takes you as you are – lazy, comfort-seeking, compromising and inconstant. The Internet community is understanding because nobody is serious there.
I know this is stretching it, but you do get my point. In fact, I stretch it so that those who differ may differ for good, after recognizing that there is in these sweeping comments some warning of dangers that lurk for every internet user