Why I won’t be leaving Snapchat for Instagram Stories. Or will I?

I am a Facebook fan. I love the platform and the thinking behind their business model. I understand the vision of the founders and believe companies like Facebook are a very important part of today’s and tomorrow’s world – in whatever way you look at it.
The world will continue to get interconnected, as we all work together to solve local and global problems, and build better lives for ourselves and the next generation.

Because Facebook has implications for our organisation, BHM, I have taken the pain to understand how the company works. I studied Google for years, even attending an FT meeting with Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg in London in 2014. Then I faced Facebook and became a self-taught expert. When the opportunity came to attend F8, Facebook’s developers conference this year, I grabbed it with both hands, even though it was days away from our own conference NEClive.

I left San Francisco convinced that Facebook could be a gift and a curse to the media, tech and advertising industry. The telcos see Mark Zuckerberg and his company as a frenemy, the media see them as enablers and enslavers, I don’t know if the ad industry sees them the way they see Google yet.


With Facebook Engineering Manager, Brian Dewey

We’re at the cusp of something important and it is difficult for anyone to actually accurately predict what the next few years will look like. We are all at best, speculating based on what we can see from where we stand. What is certain is that there will be major losers and gainers, short term and long term. When it finally happens, we would have inadvertently created a new era where the words media, technology, advertising, public relations and computer science would mean something entirely different from what most people understand them to be today.

Facebook likely has a better idea of what’s coming, as one can tell from their recent acquisitions, priorities, products and partnerships. I loved the thinking behind snatching Oculus and Whatsapp and Instagram. I’m excited by the power of 360 videos and VR. I supported Instant Articles from day one, even though I understand the concerns of those who vehemently criticize it. There’s a lot more that Facebook is working on, most of them commendable; most of them stuff that governments and the leaders of the respective industries should have been, ideally, driving.

But what I saw yesterday after tempting my Snapchat friends with photos of my six-course dinner in Milan, left a bad taste in my mouth. I had heard earlier in the day that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook was to launch something called Instagram Stories. Smart move, I thought. Reminded me of how Instagram videos came at the point everyone was on Keek’s dick. But when I left Snapchat to catch up with IG, I was shocked to find a copycat of Snapchat right in my face: if you’re a Snapchat user, you know what tapping your camera screen twice does: it switches the camera from front to back. You know what the eye sign says: suggesting who has viewed your snap. You know how to edit your photos and input text in many colours. These basic Snapchat features were what Facebook introduced yesterday on Instagram. I don’t know if there’s a term for it in Silicon Valley. But in the media, it’s called plagiarism. It’s an illegality. A shame. It’s low and dirty and petty and unpardonable.

Google was late to the social media party and is paying dearly for it. We’ve seen what happened to Nokia and Blackberry and Yahoo and others who didn’t see the future early. So I understand Facebook’s determination not to be caught napping. I also understand they may not have broken any laws, but what’s bad is bad, no matter how much filter you use to beautify it.
Facebook has been eyeing what Google had with YouTube for years, and I recall the criticism that trailed their free-for-all approach to videos from 2014. Looking away as copyright infringements thrived on their platform, they just wanted people to post videos natively on Facebook, no matter whose. They even tweaked the algorithm to prioritize native video content over links. They tweaked the algorithm to show us more video in newsfeed. Facebook wanted a seat at the video table. They now have it.

For many years, Facebook became, for many people, the social media app where your father and grand uncle liked your photos and made snide comments on your tattoos. So millennials jumped out in droves and began cavorting with cooler platforms like Tumblr and Snapchat and even Twitter. To win the kids back, Facebook has had to do a lot of things, including Facebook Live – a product designed, in my opinion, to battle Twitter for relevance in live news, and battle Snapchat in live video.

Instagram’s Stories, launched yesterday, is the recent episode, in this battle for users’ photos, videos, time and data, and it would have been popcorn-deserving, if it were not scary. It would have been entertaining if it were not unfunny.

I’ve been told moves like this are not new in the tech industry. My response: it doesn’t make it right, especially for a company owned and run by someone with Zuckerberg’s vision.

Facebook has used new ideas, good thinking and technology to connect over 1.7 billion people in 12 years. I see a future where Facebook.com will be the home page of the internet, winning in media and tech and advertising. It’s bound to happen, whether we like it or not.

Facebook has done, and will have to do a lot to make sure this possibility is not truncated. Bullying every small Organisation to hand over their businesses or get run over is definitely not one of them.

Sadly, for now, Snapchat will have to reinvent itself or die a fast, painful death.

Why You MUST NEVER Take Access for Granted

I just read a pitch from a 19 year old that entirely lifted my spirit. My day is made already. There are so many brilliant kids out there looking for opportunities. If you have knocked on doors that never opened or had doors slammed on your face you’ll know what it means to have a foot in the door.

Never take access for granted. Never abuse an opportunity. There are many who will give anything to have the ‘Yes’ you’re taking for granted, and what determines if it’s a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ is NOT ALWAYS within your control. You can only do your best. Be good, Very good, at what you do. Be ‘exactly what the doctor recommended’, but know that you are enjoying an opportunity. Use it well

For 2 years (1995 and 1996), I wrote to everyone that mattered in media & entertainment. I wanted an opportunity to intern. I did not get a single response. In 1998 it took me the entire year to get a venue (Party House on Allen) and financial support (Zmirage) for my first major event (YAFEM).

In 2004, fresh out of UI, I paraded Encomium Magazine for several months, wrote plenty pieces, & begged for opportunity to be a reporter. Between 1998 and 2004 I spent time squatting with Ayo Animashaun and Charles Mayomi (Father U Turn’s elder bro). When Animashaun faced hard times and ‘moved’ into his office (a ‘shop’ actually, inside Sahadatu plaza, off Allen), I moved in with him. We shared bathroom and toilet with the guards. Only a few people knew we slept there.

One day 2face and Blackface came visiting. We gave them a ride in Animashaun’s beetle and dropped them off at Toyin roundabout. In the rain. 2 and Black were going to see a potential financier. They were looking for a ‘YES’. You know the rest of the story

Long journey really. Plenty story

Do you think you’re doing well because you’re THAT good? Know this: a couple of ‘YES’ can change your life for good. A couple of ‘NO’, for bad

The lesson for me is this: although I am now in a position where I can say I’m living my dreams, I do understand that I’m here because I had people give me opportunities, I was prepared for those opportunities and I was fortunate to use them well. I got a ‘YES’ from those I needed to squat with as I tried to escape from Okokomaiko. I got a ‘YES’ from the venue owner (Jerry Anazia) and Zmirage. I got a ‘YES’ (finally) from Encomium and THISDAY and Punch (I had earlier failed a test to work at The Punch). I got a lot of ‘YES’ from all the musicians and actors that came on board when I set out in PR and I also got a ‘YES’ from the corporate brands that joined us much later

I’m an average writer at best. I finished Uni with a 3rd class and had no formal training in journalism or PR. But I had dream. I learned all I had to and I worked hard and looked for opportunities. God used men and women to open the doors, and here we are

I still have a long way to go but I can see clearly how far I’ve come. Since 1995. I see what the future holds if I don’t mess it up.

I’m sorry. The document from a 19 year old set me off on this rant. I’m dazzled when I see young people determined to change their lives

I’m going to do something. Can you please send me a mail if you’re between 18 and 25, work in PR, media or social media. Subject: twitter rant. I’m going to request you do just one thing (as a test) and I will commit to supporting as many as I can in different relevant ways.