Within the last two decades, social media has become commonplace and intrusive in different aspects of the human life, impacting them significantly such that new sets of trends have emerged.
For the media industry, the ways news is sourced, published and consumed have not only been impacted, but there are emerging traditions fashioned towards behaviours of social media users.
“I think social media has changed everything about media and communication, it’s always on, 24-7, the newsfeed is permanent,” said Obi Asika, co-founder Social Media Week Lagos during a tweet chat with The Guardian on Tuesday.
Asika credited social media with an intrusive capacity that has given digital-native news media more power to alter the media landscape in Nigeria – a landscape where powerful traditional media houses would need to evolve to be part of or be left behind in the race to expand reach and influence.
“Now many blogs have more power and reach than traditional media here in Nigeria and that in itself is almost entirely due to social media,” Asika said. It is either traditional media houses evolve or die, he said.
With Nigeria ranked eighth on the list of countries with the highest number of internet users in the world as at June 2016, and with much of the internet traffic driven by smartphones powered by cheaper data subscription rates, “mobile is the king,” he said. For him, cheaper data rates would lead to the proliferation of short video content.
How do all these impact Nigerians, and of course, African communities? This will be answered at the upcoming Social Media Week Lagos 2017 which holds between February 27 and March 3.
In 2016, Social Media Week Lagos welcomed over 15,000 attendees, more than 200 speakers from within and outside Nigeria, including Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki, and a global online reach of 801 million people.
Ngozi Odita, who co-founded Social Media Week Lagos alongside Asika, said the conference will explore how technology is creating a “new language” and way of communicating and what this means for the future of communication in Africa.
“Conference programming and content will look at how this ‘new language’, through online video, messaging apps, voice interfaces, and the like allows us to share our stories, share our competencies and increase our efficiencies.
“Ultimately, enabling us to take our collective learnings and apply them locally for the betterment of our communities and the continent at large.”
Asika was upbeat that the Federal Government’s new education policy aimed at encouraging the use of local languages to teach science and technology subjects would only aid the growth of technology in the country and enhance the capacity of Nigerians to use technology.