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This & That

Sounding Off..., This & That

What’s The Worth Of A Blog Follower?

This question has been on my mind a lot recently and it would be great to have the opinion of other bloggers to weigh in here.  One of the reasons I started and continue with blogging, is the opportunity to interact and engage with readers, be them bloggers or otherwise.  Three years on, I don’t do nearly as much blog promotions as I ought, but I do ensure that on a weekly basis I visit my favourite blogs (sometimes Twitter pages) and leave Comments, Likes and such.

I used to think that one of the testaments to show that your blog was actually being read was the number of Blog Followers you accumulated, without having to send the pleading, Follow Me & I’ll Follow You (to the ends of the earth) tag.  So, when I began to get a new Follower on a daily basis, I got super excited and my heart would skip a beat each time WordPress alerted me to this.  After all, if a fellow blogger Follows your blog, it means she/he is genuinely interested in your content, right?

As my Blog Followers piled up, I thought this would translate into Comments. Did they?  No.  Then after a few weeks, I lowered my expectations and was happy at the possibility of getting more Blog Likes. That didn’t happen.  Then I thought my Followers would crawl out of the woodwork when I did Blog Giveaways.  I was wrong there too.  And now I have 151 Followers, a mere drop in the puddle one might say, but I am very happy with this number as I got them organically. The way I see it, if a quarter of my Followers frequently interacted on my blog in one way or other, I would be bouncing wall to wall.  But this does not happen.

So it makes me wonder, why people Follow blogs these days.  Is following a blog, the equivalent to those guys who like to rack up telephone numbers just for the thrill of it, with no actual intention of following up their pursuit with an actual phone call?  Do bloggers Follow your blog, just so you can follow theirs, making the act a mere Numbers Game?  Or is the act of clicking ‘Follow’ on a blog akin to those guys on dating websites (e.g. OK Cupid) where the men carelessly click they ‘Like’ you, but then never follow it up with an actual message slash never respond when you take the bait and write them?

I don’t know the answers, but I can tell you from my experience, accumulating Blog Followers is becoming as meaningful as an Adam Sandler movie.  So what is the worth of Blog Followers?  Do tell me your opinion on this matter, I’d love to know.

To keep things in perspective, I’d like to say a Big Thank You to my loyal Blog Followers, who not only Follow but use different ways to interact and communicate on my blog. Thanks for being the fuel in this Choo Choo train.

 

 

 

 

 

Sounding Off..., This & That

What The Hell Is Wrong With Nigerians?

I’m in Nigeria for work for a few weeks.  I arrived a few days ago, and initially I had intended to do a blog post about how my blogging would be next to nothing due to lack of internet, settling in and so on. But as it happens, in my short time of being here I have encountered or heard of enough WTF moments that I’m compelled to share, this need is compounded by the fact that I have no friends in Nigeria, so instead of calling up X,Y, Z: I’ll divulge here.

Ok. As everyone knows the whole world is looking and talking about Nigeria, and sadly it’s not good press.  In fact, in the days leading up to my flight to Lagos, I can’t count the amount of negative feedback I got when I told people I was going home for a while for work.  And all the while, even though I would never describe myself as patriotic by any means, I defended My Country.  By that, of course I don’t mean the actions of Boko Haram, but the country at large.  However, the following events have me thinking at the moment, What the Beep Beep ?*%$$ is wrong with this country?!!

The first episode took place in the airport.  On a side note, if you want to see Nigerians at their very worst, take a seat in a Nigerian airport, get some popcorn and enjoy the show! So I’m in the airport, having just arrived into Lagos and I’m waiting for my luggage.  All of a sudden, I feel a great whack against my leg.  The woman next to me had hit me whilst trying to carry a suitcase of the conveyor belt and onto the ground.  Did she apologise for shoving me over? Of course not, but I decided to brush it off, as who knows it may have been an accident.  As the minutes went by my legs got some serious whacking action, as she tried to pull numerous suitcases of the conveyor belt.   By the fourth hard push, I looked at her pointedly and said, Ow. At that point, she gives me a stupid smile and apologises.  And all I can think is, Why the hell do you need to take 5 suitcases of the conveyor belt to see if they are yours? Don’t you know what your bloody suitcase looks like?! Then the Piece de Resistance comes: a suitcase goes past with a hole in it, the hole had a white plastic bag poking out.  This woman drags the suitcase to the ground, begins to fiddle around with the plastic bag, tears the opening of the hole in the suitcase wider, reaches into the plastic bag and begins to rummage around. After a few seconds, she puts the suitcase back on the belt.  Can you believe it? I can’t remember seeing such a blatant disregard for right and wrong, personal property and so many other things all wrapped up in one.  In fact at that moment I truly understood what the American comedian Chris Rock said when he explained that there are black people and then there are niggas, and goes on to explain the difference.  If you havn’t watched that skit, I recommend you do, its funny and true as hell.

The next WTF moments sadly happened to my Mama and all in one day.  With the first she got a text alert in the morning stating that her bank account had reached nil points.  This threw my Ma in a panic as she had been to the bank the day before and had left with money in her account.  Upon reaching the bank and talking to the manager, she finds out that the bank teller she had dealt with had made two transactions out of her account.  One with her permission, and the other, not so much!!  Yes my dear, it happened. Does the manager assure my mother that disciplinary action will be taken against the bank teller, i.e. fired? No. Instead my ma is giving a form to fill to revert the cash back into her account.  That’s it.

Then my Ma goes to a phone company to put credit on her phone.  She is served by a man and told by him that she will have credit within the next 30 minutes.  After 3 hours, my Ma’s phone remains credit-free, so she goes back to the company to complain. At that point, she is told the man who served has gone home for the day and so she can’t get her money back. Btw, its about 3pm.  My Ma then tells them she wants her money back from ‘xxx’ company and not the man personally, so it should make no difference whether he is there or not.  When the phone staff begin to throw beaucoup de b.s excuses her way, my Ma flips her lid and only at that point her money is refunded to her.

So what is this? We are now at a point where bank tellers can play Tic Tac Toe with your account, phone company workers are using their work place as private piggy banks and when you arrive in a Nigerian airport, you have to fear getting a ripped-open suitcase?  The fraud. The corruption. The deceit.  From the very bottom, all the way to the top. It’s mind blowing.

But I can’t leave on such a dismal note, sometimes the WTF moments in Nigeria are funny as hell. Today, I was told my dad’s secretary couldn’t come into work to help me do a few administrative tasks.  When I asked why, I was told that she is getting married on Sunday and as formalities go; her church is frog marching her to a Family Clinic to ensure she has a pregnancy test. If the results are positive, The Whorishtramp will not be allowed to get wed.

I almost fell of my chair laughing…

Ahhh Nigeria, I love you and I hate you.

 

 

 

Sounding Off..., This & That

Thank You Berlin

If you read my blog regularly, you will notice that I have been M.I.A these past few weeks.  It was because I was going through one of the most traumatic times of my life.  I have to add here that pain and suffering is relative, I know that all I have to do is turn on CNN to see that in retrospect what I went through last month can be considered as Child’s Play to a lot of people.

But as I said pain and suffering is relative, from my experiences what I went through last month definitely ranks as one of the worst experiences in my life and I hope few people get to have my Et Tu, Brute experienceThe reason why it traumatised me is because for the first time in my life, I was put in a situation where I felt like my safety and my belongings were in danger.  It was the first time I slept at night not feeling quite safe, it was the first time I would go to work, with the niggling question in my head- will all my belongings be in the same place when I get back?  It was the first time I was threatened and harassed.  It was the first time someone through unlawful and evil means tried to steal my money.  It was the first time I was on the receiving end of just what greed and lust for money can do.  It was the first time in my life that for peace and safety, I had to find somewhere to live- within a week.

For those of you who live in Berlin, you know what it’s like to find somewhere new to live within a week.  And somewhere good. Aaaand when you don’t speak the language, aaaaand you have a full time new job, and you have part time work and you have so on and so on.

The funny thing (and not Ha, Ha, Bonk folks) is that whilst a ‘friend’ was the culprit of putting me in this hell, it was my friends that reached out to me and pulled me out of the dark, slimy tunnel I found myself drowning in.

At this point, I have to thank my overseas friends and family who really supported me when I finally told them what was going on, but in the beginning I kept what was going on to myself.  Why? A number of reasons, denial, shock and most of all I felt guilty. Guilty because after much thought, I knew that the real reason I was in this situation was because I had chosen to ignore the Red Flags.  And if I had come clean to my parents at the time, especially to my father, he would (out of love and fear), have said that I was old enough to have known better.  And he would have been right.

So why am I thanking Berlin, when this is the city where it all went down?  After all there were some nights, when I thought- is Berlin worth all this, the sleepless nights, the lack of peace of mind, the various illnesses that popped out of nowhere (because of anxiety and stress).  But what kept me in Berlin was how my friends gathered to help me to get me out of the nightmare I was in.  Their kindness and support really helped to restore my faith in mankind and humanity, because honestly I had begun to doubt.  I could feel myself hardening, getting bitter, but then the following things happened:

1) Within 30 mins of me sending my SOS on Facebook to my Berlin friends, explaining my situation and asking them to help me find somewhere new to live; a few people instantly put my SOS as their Facebook Status Update and I began to get in influx of flat recommendations.

2) A very talented illustrator, who I had only met twice- the first time, I had taken his pics for my blog, and the second, I had interviewed him (again) for my blog.  Well, he not only gave me the contacts of his friend who was a lawyer, but he also put me in touch with his friend who was looking to rent out his place.

3) Due to the illustrator putting me in touch with his ‘lawyer friend’, I was able to get free advice….in English (!!)  And folks, getting a lawyer was what helped the threats and harassment to stop.  It also made my ‘friend’ change tactics when it came to the money she/he was trying to extract from me.

4) Then a friend got me in touch with her friend who was looking to sublet.  She not only put in a good word to the lessor, but whatever she said made him choose me above a whole bunch of other people who were vying for the flat.  Aaaand on top of that, her positive words about me made him trust me enough not to pay a deposit.  This is where I live now.

I have heard and read from a number of sources that Germans are cold and don’t show emotion, that it’s hard to get on a particular level of friendship with them if you are not German etc etc.

I can say from my personal experiences in Berlin that I totally disagree, my closest friend in Berlin is German and he’s lovely and warm, as is his father who I have met.  This friend dealt with my many SOS calls when I was a total wreck with uber maturity, considering he just turned 20.  The girl who put in a good (great, actually) word for me to get the flat I am in is German, the illustrator is German and so on.

I am not saying all Germans are angels, what I am saying is my personal experience have led me to different conclusions than what I have heard been commonly said about Germans.

At the end of the day these people, and the rest of the Berliners I asked for help (who come from all over the world) didn’t owe me jack, nada, nothing, zip.  They had known me for two years, one year, some a few months- and they had their own lives and problems to deal with.  But they were there for me, I will never forget that.

Now how did all this affect my job?  If you know me, you know how hard I fought to get my job and if you speak with me regularly, you will know I love my job.  So I did the cliche thing of using work to camouflage my personal life and it caught up with me, people it caught up with me baaaaaaad.  Needless to say, I fucked up baaaaaaad.  But I was forgiven by my boss.  She’s German by the way.  And let me tell you, this was an amazing act of kindness from her.  I have so much respect and admiration for my boss, I really, really do on both a personal and professional level and she said something to me, I won’t forget- she said words along the lines of: Biki I forgive you and it’s really in the past and when I say that I mean it.  I used to hold on to things and then I almost had a breakdown, so I don’t do that anymore.

And then she gave me a big hug, it was a really humbling and grounding experience.

She also told me that in the future, I should let people know when bad things are happening in my personal life.  It was funny (not Ha, Ha, Bonk) because that is something someone I used to know very well once said to me.

And so here we are, am I totally out of the woods yet? Yes and No.  No because I await what I am financially owed- those who know me know what I am talking about here.

In the meantime, I carry on with my life, I have so much to be thankful for: I have a new flat which I am going to have fun decorating (and I have friends who are interior designers, not that I can afford them!), I have a refreshed and new attitude to my job and my life, I am lucky to have an eclectic mix of friends in Berlin, I have my part time work I am passionate about and new projects I am about to start, an amazing family who stuck by me when I thought I was about to lose it all, amazing old friends who are still calling me from all over the world to check up on me, I go to London next week and can’t wait…

I don’t say all this to show off, it’s more of a reminder to myself to remember what I have that is worth fighting for, to push myself to keep the faith, to not wallow in the past, to not bear malice, to fight to be a better person, to make amends when I fuck up, to not forget that despite the army of haters and people out there who take pleasure in damaging my name, there are oceans of people who have faith in me, who love me enough to forgive my faults because they know that my negatives don’t define me.

So thank you all, I am forever grateful to you and Berlin.

I’m head over heels with this song at the moment and now I cornily dedicate it to Berlin and all the people that have been So Good To Me:

Sounding Off..., This & That

I Got A Full-time, Paid Creative Job in Berlin!

Hi Everyone, I ‘ve been wanting to tell you my good news for ages and the reason why I have not been punctual with my posts.

I GOT A PAID, FULL-TIME CREATIVE JOB!!  I am now working for the beauty, health and lifestyle monthly subscription brand, GLOSSYBOX.  

I work in their Communication & Customer Experience in the Creative department (Berlin Headquarters) doing various editorial and marketing duties.

At the moment, I am transitioning from being a freelancer to a full-time paid employee, but I do plan on writing posts giving personal tips on the best ways to transition, and how I got the job.  The latter post is one I really look forward to writing because getting- a job, a creative job, a paid creative job- in a city with one of the highest unemployed rates is and was no easy feat!

Finally, I will end with the Facebook post I put up when I got the job which pretty much sums up how I felt when I learnt the good news:

ANNOUNCING: I am now working @ GLOSSYBOX, Berlin in their Communications & Customer Experience (paid and full time). Many, many years ago I rejected a promising LDN legal job offer to do a string of unpaid fashion mag internships. I took the biggest risk of my life to date because of love and the passion I had for the contribution I wanted to make in the industry.
I don’t have to go into how much the fashion industry burnt me mentally, how I was used abominably, those who know me well know the gory details. But Blind Faith kept me going on as well as my motto, ‘Create or Die’. The next time I fell in love like that again, it was with the city-Berlin. And again I took a blind leap of faith. So now, to be paid for a job where I get to work on their monthly magazine (beauty, lifestyle and fashion) as well as have Marketing duties which ties in with my Marketing Comms diploma really means the world to me.
I’d like to give my family muchO thanks for being there through my lows.
Finally, I couldn’t have continued to work in the creative industry without the help from my Dad and Mum. I have very traditional Nigerian parents and bless them but they really haven’t understood what the Dickens I’ve been doing since I left law, so it felt great to give them good news that they could FINALLY understand and appreciate!!

Sounding Off..., This & That

Friends with Talent Series: Mako Making Stylish Shapes

I love fashion and I love ballet, and for years one of my dream editorials is to do a big budget fashion editorial production where I combine the two.

I did ballet when I was about eight years old for about a year and I stopped just before I got my pointes.  How come?  That’s a long story, but I will say that as much as I love ballet, I much rather watch someone do it than do it myself.  It’s not like contemporary, R & B/Hip-Hop, African, Samba, Lambada, Dancehall (and the list goes on)- where my passion forces me into action, i.e. take dance classes, spend hours on YouTube trying to follow classes etc.

Since I moved to Berlin I’ve befriended two ballerinas, one of which is my mate, Mako who is featured in this post.  When I learnt Mako studied ballet, I asked him if I could take some shots of him pulling some shapes and he obliged.  I have to say that taking these shots made me wish I had a ‘proper’ camera so I could capture some real ‘is he on strings’ movements.

Having said that, I had such a great time taking those pictures and soaking in Mako’s beauty, grace and enthusiasm:

You see the wooden bead necklace on Mako’s vest?  He bought it from India and then pinned it to his top- this is a great way to update or customise your vest during summer.

I love this shot, it really makes me wish I was flexible:

I also adore his black sequins harem trousers, you know how some pieces are just great for movement and dancing? This for me is one of those pieces.

First outfit:
Customised White Vest- H & M, sewed in wooden bead Indian necklace, customised by Mako, Black Sequin Harem Trousers- Flamingo Fashion

After taking the shots, Mako and I had a yummy supper at one of my favorite restaurants, Transit  and then walked it of by strolling around Mitte.  Thanks for a lovely time Mako, when I do that fashion ballet editorial, you know who I’ll be calling!

Second outfit:Black cut offs, sunnies and Mauve sleeveless denim jacket- Vintage, Grey T- H & M.

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