Twitter personality and political blogger, Japheth Omojuwa, in this interview tells TEMITAYO FAMUTIMI how he succeeded in monetising his handle, @omojuwa
Many people know you as a prominent person on the Nigerian Twitter space. What do you really do for a living?
I have monetised social media. I have also featured on speaking platforms across five continents over the last 12 months and this has been rewarding. I consult for a couple of civil society organisations – including the West African Civil Society Organisation in Ghana and the German Heinrich Boell Foundation.
You are also known to be a political blogger. Was it by accident?
I blog about many things but the political side of me came to the fore during the OccupyNigeria movement. Nothing led me into the foray of political blogging. What leads Nigerians into talking about Nigeria and its politics? The difference in the reason is not in what leads us into talking about our country but the platform we choose to make our voices heard. I am not angrier, not more intelligent nor more passionate than the average Nigerian. I may be privileged to have popular platforms for which to be heard more than the average person.
When did you sign up for Twitter and how did you come about growing a huge following on the social network?
February 2009. I joined under a different name but I started my current handle @omojuwa February of 2009. It has been organic. I started like everyone else. I had moments where I was the focus of Twitter’s attention like most people but unlike most people I have been consistent. I have also been at the right place at the right time with certain events too.
What handle were you using before @omojuwa and is it still functional?
It is @alphareach. Still functional but I’m not tweeting from it anymore. I can’t remember when I created it.
What tweet brought you into limelight on the Nigerian Twitter space?
I don’t know. It is easy to forget a popular tweet and the popularity of the person who tweets it eventually fades in a day or two. Twitter is not about that one powerful tweet, it’s about a consistent pull of several powerful, witty wits. In the “outside world” no one is renowned for being a one-off, you are renowned for being consistent with excellence. It is the same with Twitter.
What strategies have you devised to drive discussions around issues on Twitter?
No special strategies. Being myself works for me. Being myself is enough. I say what I want to say, how I want to say it and how I choose to say it. In a place where following the crowd is the norm, those who choose to do things their way will definitely find people following them. I care about people. I want them to be aware, I want them to know, I want them to be better and I want them to want to wake up, looking forward to possibilities beyond the usual and the boring. An individual does not need the so-called strategies to stand out on social media but organisations certainly do. “Social” must be at the core for organisations.
Is it possible for one to generate/make money through one’s Twitter handle?
It is possible but your loyalty and allegiance must always be to your followers. The how is in the art of brand communications. People don’t want to be sold to but they want to buy. Subtlety is the way! You can adopt brands and simply become their social media ambassador. You can share information about events and products. Mind that numbers are everything and you must have a sizable number of followers for anyone to bank his/her money on you to reach consumers.
Have you been making money through your Twitter handle?
I make money from my Twitter account. My football tweets have been branded since January 2013. I don’t tweet football just for fun anymore, I earn real cash for sending my virtual football opinions. I also share my experience about my favourite brands. Where the said brand wants my shared experience sustained, we then begin to talk about what’s in it for the trinity; the brand, my followers and myself. As long as we get something in it for my followers then we will be very close to doing business. Where my followers have nothing to gain, no business.
How much do you charge per tweet?
How much I charge per tweet is not something I want to put a figure to in a public place. I charge enough to make many brands look another way. Twitter makes money for having us on its platform. We spend a lot of time on these platforms. Millions of people are on these platforms. It is an opportunity to create value for even more people outside our physical sphere of influence. Money is one of the reactions of an action called value creation.
How many brands are you an ambassador for on Twitter?
Two permanent ones at the moment. Others are period specific.
What are the names of these brands?
It is in my best interest not to share.
How has your foray into political blogging and your Twitter profile opened doors for you?
My social media profile has opened more than doors. It has opened cities, countries and continents. I am beyond political blogging. I am Omojuwa, a total package. There are people who follow me for reasons that are outside of the politics I talk about. There are people who follow me just because I am just as ordinary as they are. They follow me because they now know that being ordinary is not the same thing as being limited. I am ordinary but that I can do extraordinary things means that I can also inspire ordinary people like myself to aspire, be better, go upward, forward and conquer the world.
I am a just another Nigerian who cares about the country, who thinks about the continent and who thinks that within each African country lies a little seed that when planted in belief, competence and passion and watered with synergy, can make change happen.
How was your background like?
I was at King’s College, Lagos. I studied Agricultural Economics at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, I did a bit of Brand Communications at Orange Academy, Lagos. Now I have been attending policy and governance sessions across the continents. I have always been about understanding phenomena and the world around me. I have always been a fan of what the teacher and lecturer cannot teach. I have always been in search of the esoteric. I was born and bred in Lagos, now I enjoy seeing the world one city at a time.