One advantage of technology especially the internet and social media is that you are no longer restricted to interacting and working with the people in your immediate community. Some of us do not live in physical environments where there exist people that share our interests. Social media has given us the opportunity to link up with people from across the world who share our interests and ideas. Many of us see those people online and eventually take the relationships beyond social media. Your TRIBE can therefore be described as a group of people you are connected with who share your interests and values. In the globalized economy in which we find ourselves, tribes are forming and people are getting to meet other people like them who without social media, they may never have met. In fact the traditional tribe is being replaced with networked tribes and national boundaries slowly lose importance.
PoiseSocial in some way was red smoke to my tribe. I hope you understand the metaphor. That you decided to spend your money on a PoiseSocial subscription is to me not a testament of how good and important our content is to you but rather an indication that you share our values and interests – hence we are of the same tribe. Unlike me, Wandji Wilfred was more optimistic about moving to a subscription based model even though it was my idea. I am always experimenting and trying to push boundaries and this was one of such attempts at changing the status quo. I hope my pessimism is not paying of since we are till date still at under 20 subscribers. Is it about the marketing? Some may think so but a quick analysis of the current subscribers tell a different story. All but 2 subscribers are of the diaspora and I believe I have personally spoken to all but two of them. Disposable income is not an argument that will hold water because I believe we have more than 1000 followers who live in the diaspora and can spare $25 year without hurting their month.
I really believe in the importance of the voice we bring to social media discourse. Very many ‘unofficial’ media platforms on social media have opted for the viral content; what I refer to as the candy diet. Their model is simple, build a huge following and charge for promotions. The kind of content we produce is not the kind that will get you 1000 shares and 4000 comments. You have probably come across people outrightly criticizing the length of our articles without considering its necessity for the topics we are addressing. We believe we can build a trusted media platform to fill an information gap that exists in our country but the truth is that we cannot do proper reporting without finances and other resources.
That is why many blogs have resorted to screenshots; the easiest kind of content to create; one that requires almost no thinking and no leaving your bed. Those blogs have their place and so do we but we cannot survive using the same model those other platforms use. That is why almost all trusted media platforms are consumed for a fee. Unfortunately we exist in a very complex socioeconomic environment that is very difficult for businesses to thrive in. Without real access to financing options, we found ourselves left with people like you. This is where we find ourselves. Basically, if we don’t get at least 1000 subscribers, we won’t be able to do any of the things we planned to do. Just the tech services we have to employ to make this a worthwhile paid subscription experience cost more than we have already made. This is not me coming out for a pity party. This is me facing the reality that we might just end up stuck with 20 of you and a huge promise that we may not be able to keep.
I want you all to meet Wandji Wilfred but he is enjoying his anonymity and putting all the heat on me (laughs). Whenever he writes something that someone doesn’t agree with, I get punished. This move to a paid subscription model was also based on the idea that if you are going to come and trash talk me or any other one of our writers on something I spend my valuable time researching and writing about; you should at least earn the right to do that by paying to read it. You know the proverbial customer that never bought anything but is always right? Nobody really wants to deal with that customer.
My plan is that we move away from complete opinion pieces and do more research to bring you relevant information. We have a list of subscription based magazine from Africa and across the world that we would love to subscribe to and contextualize that information for you here. Imagine you have to subscribe to Jeune Afrique, The African Report, The Economist, New York Times, Harvard Business Review. That will cost you a lot annually. We can get those subscriptions and you tell us what you are interested in knowing and we go out and bring that knowledge right here for you at the most affordable subscription fee ever.
This is me asking you to be patient with us as we find a way to make your time on here worthwhile. This is also me asking you to help us get more subscribers by talking to your friends who you know follow us but may not understand why they need to subscribe. Otherwise, I think for now, I want to write things which are relevant to you. You are welcome to shoot us emails with specific topics you would love us to research and write on. And if we end up stuck with just 20 of you, maybe we could together do something beyond PoiseSocial because like I said in the beginning of this article, I believe you joined because of shared values and not only because of the content we write.
Welcome to the tribe.
- Norbert Foy