Blogging in Cameroon: The Dreamer’s Portion
If this world literally belonged to those who rise early, by now it would be the bloggers ‘private propriety’: we hardly sleep. The time is 5:AM as I am writing these lines. My phone rings: a notification, one more comment on my latest article; I answer promptly for I want the reader to understand how important his/her reaction is to me. The best way to make them come back to the blog is by stimulating their interest, and giving people the right impression – that their opinion on the subject matter counts.
This is the kind of routine so many bloggers in the world have become accustomed to. In Cameroon though, the penalty is doubled: in most cases, before expecting a person to visit your blog you may first have to expound on what a blog is. On the one hand, some people find interesting that individuals in Cameroon would assiduously write about topics that passionate them and share them with the world in a bid to start a conversation on the web; others in the other hand, just don’t understand the concept and see it as entirely foreign. But again in a country with an internet penetration rate below 8 %, who can blame them? These gloomy statistics may also explain the fact that high achieving bloggers such as Dorothee Danedjo Fouba (Best African ICT blog 2012 and 2013 – Telkom-Highway Africa New Media Awards), Florian Ngimbis (Best Francophone Blog – Deutsche Welle Awards 2012) or Frank William Batchou (Best journalist-blogger 2012; African Foundation Award) still don’t get the full recognition they deserve.
A study led by Moshare Magazine, involving 30 active Cameroonian bloggers from various backgrounds, revealed that more than 77% of the respondents wished to earn profits from their activity, while only 3% already do. You got it dear readers, Cameroonian bloggers are in a somewhat tricky position: we wish to conciliate our passion for writing and our dream to turn it into something lucrative. But the numbers previously mentioned don’t lie; it is no easy task. It is rather a significant challenge, considering that blogging is not seen as a potential full-time occupation and most people’s conception of bloggers remains negative or simply nonexistent. Indeed, on international blog day (31 August), a series of short articles published by members of the Cameroonian Blogger’s Association revealed a list of stereotypes usually faced by bloggers. Some prejudicial viewpoints were addressed, ranging from the idea that in Cameroon, we are seen as jobless folks looking for a way to kill time, to our alleged glamorous lifestyle (For more info, Google #CmrBlogDay).
The situation is not desperate though, and Cameroonian bloggers decided to unite and are now striving to come up with effective ways to change any non-constructive conception people may still hold about blogging. We wish to open our people’s eyes to the benefits of our action, to the opportunities of development it could bring to our country. Initiatives such as the #CmrBlogDay and the ongoing creation of a national blogging commission are just the first stones to a growing edifice. Our initial zeal for writing, sharing, informing, educating and developing, greater than any need for financial compensation, is what keeps us going. We are incorrigible dreamers, people that are not afraid to share their visions with the rest of the world, dreamers who purposely dream big, then wake up to make those dreams happen.