Want to know how to get use Twitter for influence and to drive societal change? Seun Fakuade is one of the people rocking the twittosphere in Nigeria and he’s rocking it hard. In this interview, Seun shares his thoughts and experiences on using social media (especially Twitter) what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to using it to drive social movement. Enjoy!
Q: If you cut away the fluff and celebrity hypes, you are, in my opinion one of the most emphatic people on Twitter in Nigeria, how do you explain your tremendous success on winning friends and influencing people on Twitter?
With all sense of responsibility, I would say I’m humbled to be considered as such. Honestly, one needs a true sense of Identity and purpose not to lose oneself in the present world. I have always been passionate about my country Nigeria for as long as I can remember but Twitter world brought it to the fore in April 2011 during the elections when I started tweeting. My thoughts in tweets caught the attention of many, and I am honoured and proud of the associations I have on twitter. It’s a family.
I am quick to learn as much as I can. I am also careful and jealous about those who follow me on twitter. I have learnt that “being followed” by many is great responsibility; Moreso when you have heavyweights in the Nigerian political system and even International circles following you. I haven’t changed, and the only thing I hope to keep doing is to keep learning and improving, and most importantly building my Character consistently.
Q: What’s the most challenging part of having so many connections?
I wouldn’t call what I have “many” (Laughs) when you consider the likes of Elrufai, Eldee, Japheth, etc. Well, so many times I want to make some certain tweets, but when you consider the likes of Obyezeks following you, you have to modify your thoughts in tweets. (Smiles). I became aware of the huge responsibility my words are, as the credibility one has built in months is very important. I have, humbly, Don Moen, MCHammer, amongst others following me for instance; and you start wondering exactly “what attracted these people to you?”. Overall, the idea however is to ensure you do not lose your head in the whole process; being ONESELF.
Q: What are the biggest etiquette mistakes you see people making on social media? and what part of this digital lifestyle do you hate the most?
Being energetic and driven, it’s easy for one to observe the outburst of venom and energy in wrong unintended points amongst us. I really detest vanity of thoughts most times, but one is constantly reminded we all cannot be the same. It’s why, regrettably, I have reservations in following people. My timeline, severally have been polluted with much vulgarity I had to unfollow certain people. I think, regardless of how wild people’s thoughts may be, there is an important need to be careful on how one tweets and what one tweets.
Q: Some people and lately politicians have begun to play down the impact/effect of social media in driving social change in Nigeria. Do you agree?
Any politician who downplays the power social media in Nigeria today is so much disconnected from the realities of the emerging political scenario in Nigeria. Just recently, I saw the handle of the Kwara State Governor, amongst many other politicians trooping to twitter. The rate at which Nigerians aggressively engage some of the present and even past leaders shows the power of social media. In August when we started talking about #occupynigeria, it was all presumed as a joke. The rate at which citizens look to twitter for information, engagement and fun; it’s only a matter of time (when the grassroots become activated by further street involvement) before the true power of Twitter is seen.
Q: You have also done a lot of work in moving from an ‘arm chair commentator’ to being on the physical work of helping to rebuild Nigeria. Can you share some of your work?
Personally, I believe that Character is very important in leadership, as this eventually is one of the things that can sustain institutions, policies or measures that we may need to embark on in rebuilding Nigeria. In 2011, at some point in September, I became deeply worried about how ingrained Nigerians were about our inherent corrupt system. You would also find a disconnected and disparate the level of information was on the streets. Also, I was worried that
1.) Our talks not backed by a formidable strategic action may result in less belief by others in our ideals in the long run
2.) I felt there was need to complement efforts being made by NGOs and other CSOs in ensuring good governance and that Nigerians adequately knew, understood and were ready to pursue a Nigerian cause.
3.) I felt CHARACTER was essentially lacking in our leadership institutions in the country and there was need to invest quality time doing that (however painstaking it may be).
This led in December 2011 to the formation of what is ‘BEACONS’ (as is found at www.beacons-ng.org). ‘BEACONS’ is an acronym for Builders Enlightened Advocates of Change Of Nigerian Society. The aim of the organization is to “invest leadership core values in young people by building human capacity through mentorship and community service”. Our main purpose is to build core values in young people, directly and indirectly. At present, we use the CITIZENS PARTICIPATION & The BEACONS CLUB to achieve this.
Character is critical and very much in the deficit given the leaders we have in the nation.
Q: You are apparently a gadget person. What are your favourite tech gadgets and how do you balance between the your physical day and being on Social media?
I love Apple products (Macbook, iPad, iMac), I love Androids too and the now-fading Blackberry. I have PlayStation systems and the Xbox too. (Smiles).
Q: Which social media producers / publishers / thought leaders do you admire the most? Who is worth paying attention to?
I admire the intellectual capacity of Elrufai, for me he stands tall amongst many; I love the depth of Dr Ezekwesili @obyezeks (these two are role models I do not joke with); I love Prof (@ayittey) Ayittey’s in-depth analysis and undying passion for Africa. Consider @forakin, @laurestar @futurekash @delemomodu and others as people I constantly learn from, objectively though, any day or time.
I would say my generation is blessed with a load of intelligent folks. These are people I love to read from constantly: Feyi Fawenhinmi @doubleeph, Gbenga Sesan @gbengasesan, Japheth Omojuwa @omojuwa, Chinedu Ekeke @ekekee, Iyin Aboyeji @iaboyeji, @temite, @rosanwo, @kunledee, @okshorty1; @eldeeTheDon is a dear brother to me, @Drkay01 is pretty unknown but quite deep; @KathleenNdongmo, @fowora, @rmajayi (the 419 lady); I can’t exhaust this list (smiles)
Can You List You Digital Touch Points
So there you have it. Seun definatewrites more than the 140-character limits on Twitter? what are your thoughts on these?