I love reading. I consume knowledge like a glutton, always wanting more. As a boy, I read any and everything. Still do. Reading is an incurable habit I am smitten with, the ripple effect is that I get to paint the ideas and inspiration I have with beautiful words so poignant the reader can feel me.
Someone once told me, the best way to get into the mind of a man is to read his scribbled thoughts. He argued that writers over the centuries have consistently been able to influence men of later generations through their literature. The most potent being the written words.
From Shakespeare to Einstein, Da Vinci to Dan Brown, Achebe to Chimamanda, DO Fagunwa to Wole Soyinka, men have had their thoughts altered by words written by authors. Entering into realms they didn’t think they could go. All because a man wrote words; years down the line, later generations read their works, get inspired and build on the works already in place.
So what’s the correlation of literary luminaries with blogs when the living authors probably don’t actively host you may ask. It’s simple. The world is evolving and so, where all those stated writers and their contemporaries had to publish books (paperback or hardcover). The contemporary writer publishes both books and ebooks. Literary works are seen online and accessed easily from the comfort of the reader’s room.
The days when you had to go to the library, or stole, borrowed or confiscated your father’s encyclopedia is past. What with google and wikipedia being dependable friends that’ll share information with you everytime you run to them seeking fresh knowledge or perspectives. They always deliver and come through.
So, it’s commonly said we live in an information age. Everything you need is at the tip of your finger (if you have devices connected to the internet, that is). The beauty is most of the resource you have access to come free. You only need to search well, and you’ll find a website that offers the information you require free (if you’re an osho free person like me). So, man has continued to learn and break new frontiers.
However, it is disconcerting and unnerving that only in Nigeria is mediocrity applauded. Think for a moment, before the advent of the smart phones, people used to read and discard anything that would distract them. These days the trend has changed. Social networking sites like twitter constrain users to think in 160 characters per tweet.
Facebook and the others may be a little robust because they allow up to 500 words in an update, still, because the user is perpetually distracted by a myriad of applications (whatsapp, bbm, twitter facebook, linkedin to mention a few) his/her attention span lasts only seconds (I’m also guilty of this), reading articles with 500 words or more become an arduous task. We seek the summary of the whole gist.
With so much information available, links to great resources flying about, it’s a wonder that we never stop to really get the knowledge begging to be had. Our vocabulary has nosedived, I miss the days of word games. Today if you use words like eon, slyph and accoutrement in sentences, you’ll be looked upon like a literary icon. Those are everyday words people.
Yes, what blogs have to do with it? You’ve been asking and are somewhat bored now. Well, Blogs are supposed to be snippets that educate and enrich the lives of readers. If a person finds studying say, Shakespeare too troublesome and follows a blog that teaches literature, that person in a matter of months after reading several posts on the blog would get IT. And so goes for every sector and field. Blogs are supposed to educate and enrich lives.
In Nigeria, like social networking, we have swamped blogosphere. The first blog every Nigerian would tell you is one that offers gossip. My people are not interested in getting new knowledge and so fresh bloggers and old ones have resorted to devaluing the purpose of blogs.
Now the blogs that trend in Lagos and Naija are not the ones that educate, but the ones that have lewd pictures, content and unsubstantiated gossip. It appears that rather than educate and enlighten people in snippets, what we use blogs for is to gossip and share obscene photos. So I plead with you reader, take a stand today. Demand enlightenment rather than idiocy. For if this trend continues unabated, then the rage of blogs will sweep us all.