I’M the guy sitting in a restaurant that offers reliably free wi-fi, where I stopped over to get some work done as the evening came to a close and the traffic had piled up in a way that was threatening my promise to a client that I would “email it tonight”.
That “I’ll email tonight” is the supplier equivalent of offering to pay the bill at the end of the evening when one is dining at an expensive restaurant in a very platonic arrangement.
It is impolite to let the first offer stand if you’re a client.
Every time I say those words to a client I suffer mental anguish as I think about the one hundred and one things that can make that promise turn into the reason why I get dropped as a supplier.
Those one hundred and one things could be anything – one hundred and one badly driven vehicles causing a traffic jam right from the gates of the client’s premises to the next point I can set up my laptop and type out the email, or fifty five of those vehicles plus 45 boda bodas and one traffic police person who can’t keep traffic flow fair.
(I did the maths there properly, I think.)
If you live in Kampala then you know that traffic police person – the one who has obviously never driven a vehicle in their lives and therefore cannot begin to click how infuriating it is to sit there and see three hundred cars in the other line being allowed to go, then only four in your line before it is stopped for another three hundred in the other one.
That one hundred and one things could be a combination in any order of low battery life on your gadgets, electricity outages, internet being off or slow, someone visiting for tea, the children insisting on 88 different distractions…
That’s why I’m the guy in the free wi-fi restaurant – I’d rather kill that time sitting in a place where I can send all those emails, download a couple of things (polite) and then upload something like this without pulling out hair.
When I have a driver (including the special hire guy) and my batteries are sufficiently charged up then I skip the wi-fi allure of the restaurant and power up in the back seat so I am out of the restaurant faster. Clients are blown away by such speed and efficiency, though I know it sometimes sets a bad precedent and creates unrealistic expectations in them.
Plus, one needs time and coffee with a snack in order to fashion a proper email to a client.
Hence my being the guy sitting in a restaurant that offers free wi-fi, who has finally sent the client the email I promised I would send just before I stepped out of their building to find traffic lined up end-to-end, and my laptop and phone batteries both dead on account of having had them on during the lengthy meeting with same said client.
I’m also the guy looking at this bill and trying to compute whether this money would have been better spent in an internet cafe over the same couple of hours. But then there, I wouldn’t have had these drinks and that snack, in these comfy chairs, with the nice background music…
…and I’d probably be filling up my #UgBlogWeek quota of the day with something significantly different. Something better thought out. Something you would be reading now and nodding your head at instead of going SMDH.
If you had a look at my bill you’d sympathise and be thankful instead of complaining that this is a rip-off.
And if you’re that client and you’re reading this then next time feel free to jump in next time I promise to email you “tonight” and insist that I send you the damn email on Monday instead?
Fridays are NOT made for this nonsense.
I HOPE tThis is a helpful contribution to #UgBlogWeek – especially for those who are finding it hard to either blog or get their blogs seen by the rest of the world.
This is a list of tips that are easy to implement and that should be useful this week and into the future of Ugandans blogging more than the other stuff we do.
1. Use the easiest-to-reach Writing Prompts: Unless (or even if) your blog is theme- or topic-specific, you can write about almost anything. The word ‘blog’ is shortened from “weblog” – as they started off by people keeping a log on a website of what they were doing through the day. It was the precursor of the social media updates that we do today, which have become more interactive and conversational.
So when writing a blog one can choose any topic and go for it, without being pressured to make it a certain length or keep it from being too short.
One tool that some writers use in order to get started is the ‘Writing Prompt’ – which is a phrase or statement or word that they pick up on to start a story off. Writing Prompts exist anywhere – conversations, books, articles, newspaper pages, adverts, overheard snippets, SMS messages, anything.
To kick off your daily blog, open the blank ‘New Post’ page then look around for these prompts and kick off when one catches your fancy.
And the reason I’m suggesting the easiest-to-reach ones is so that you don’t unleash your research skills upon an unsuspecting reader who might have a phobia for the deeply academic and will collapse at around paragraph 367 (a) (iii) citation 4.13.278 et al…
2. Maintain a note book: I use both an electronic one and an ordinary paper note book. The note book is the writer’s most powerful weapon – not the pen. The pen is to the gun as the note book is to fire practice. If you always have a note book handy then you will always catch brilliant thoughts that would ordinarily go whizzing out of your mind leaving a lingering memory that will disturb you for a long, long time and only return in full two days after you have published.
A note book by the side of your bed, in your pocket and always within easy reach will ensure that you never let anything go by.
(You have to be awkward to expect the next line to be ‘Keep a Pen or Pencil or Charcoal handy’ – either that, or your fingers have a little outlet for ink/blood to be used for imprinting purposes).
3.Write with simplicity: Refer again to the origin of ‘blog’. Don’t over complicate your writing otherwise it will confound most people. Of course, that is not to say that you should adopt those irritating abbreviations and colloquialisms that are so pervasive in our societal setting <— you see? Avoid that type of kaboozi but keep your writing decipherable (is that a big word, also?)
I can’t genuinely maintain this line of thought without revealing a little of my grammatical special forces experience. Do NOT write carelessly! Simplicity does not mean carelessness – which is why ‘Dress Code: Smart Casual’ means you can wear a t-shirt but ensure it is not wrinkled, does not bear dirty words, and is NOT a vest or piece of underclothing. Sandals are not permitted, so if you abbreviate words like “Okay” to “k” in your ordinary life, ensure that in your blog post they are only made part of quoted conversation.
But back to reality: write what you like, the way you want to write it. I am not your only blog reader, and you need as many as you can get to follow your blog and keep following it. Nobody writes for Everybody, so focus on your following and write for them.
4.Use the Follow button: This seems to be a sensible place to insert the tip about a ‘Follow’ button. Ensure that you have this button visibly positioned on your blog so that everybody reading it can click follow.
Don’t click on that one up there, it’s just a picture.
5. Use Images: And that’s another thing – use images as often as possible. They break up text and make a blog more appealing. Don’t use too many unless your blog is a picture blog (are those called ‘plogs’ the way video blogs are called ‘vlogs’?)
But do keep in mind that the vast majority of Ugandans online find surfing (I am not sure whether we still use this term) expensive, so pictures and videos might turn them off.
Just a couple here and there are good enough.
6. Tag Wisely: The tag is a simple word one appends to your blog to help determine how it shows up in searches. The tag is very important because if it is wisely chosen then your blog will pop up higher in the order when someone is doing research and types out ‘tag’ in the search box. Make your tag relevant, easy-to-remember and popular, but also try to make your tag unique so the blog shows up higher when someone is searching for your unique topic.
I have no examples to give you.
7. Because Size Matters: Don’t make your blog posts too long – you also have the option of writing and publishing a novel instead. That’s why I’m stopping here.