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Wired Magazine user comments display typical perception of African tech

July 6, 2010  »  BroadbandOne Comment

Visual Notes from Univ of Cape Town Workshops May, 2010, University of Cape Town, South Africa demonstrate the proper way to share ideas. Flickr: choconancy1}

Raising awareness of African Internet developments to non-Africans requires visibility, interest, and a degree of seriousness. For example, an article published July 5th by Wired Magazine online touts the arrival of Main One in West Africa and explains how the cable should improve access and reduce access costs. Better education and health resources, not to mention opportunities for economic growth and the creation of job opportunities all over Africa, should be welcomed by a Western* audience who is interested in all things digital. Perhaps not to the ubiquitous cynical online commenter, however, which is still a minority among those who read an article.

Still, out of 19 comments in response to the article, only 4 are positive or in defense of building infrastructure in Africa. Two of these seem to come from Africans, saying:

  • “How about ‘Cool, we can do business more easily with Nigeria and Senegal?’ or ‘It’s about time there was proper broadband penetration into Africa.’
  • Infrastructure is a good thing

The lack of positive response comes as no surprise. After all, online commenters – be them African, Asian, European, or American – love to contradict opinion. In this case, many readers seem to not take African ICT seriously. Have a look at some topics and themes:

  • 419 scam jokes/facetiousness toward Nigerian spam
  • “what do they need internet access for?”
  • jealousy that West Africa can get broadband but American rural areas cannot
  • Nigeria is big on benevolent gestures that look good but are not widely used

Also, sexual jokes about penetration in Africa are unnecessary and distracting. Instead of self-gratifying remarks:

  1. Share excitement
  2. Share an opinion that encourages or advances meaningful discussion
  3. Correct previous misconceptions with fact
  4. Pose a serious question

[*According to DomainTools, 60% of traffic to originates from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.]

  • Imtambezi

    I Agree with you .Africans must be serious about themselves.We need to realize that the west is not trying to help our image or self perception.African should be creating a standard that the west have to follow in order to penetrate the ICT market in Africa.Yes they may have Capital Today but they do not have the monopoly in the Technology.Brazil,China and India are great players and they could leverage the competion as well as follow the rules .Leadership development is needed below the big names of african ICT world (Mo Ibrahim, Strive, ect).We need africans to understand their power,their ressources, their unique opportunities to livein this times when the african middle class is becoming more than 192 millions strong.The west negative outlook is a desease , fight it by becoming even better than China in terms of dicipline and focus