Many of us adults (the born before computing type) take social media for granted. That is mainly because we don’t know how to use it or understand that it is both a revolutionary and evolutionary thing. It is not a passing fad. It is the future. I know adults who turn their noses up at WhatsApp™ and Telegram™ and will not even countenance using them. I have also noticed that the Generation Z and Alpha types have more dexterity in using digital equipment, and that seems to trouble most of us from earlier generations.
Enter Robert Kabushenga (@RKabushenga) and Tony Otoa (@ComradeOtoa) with their #360Mentor series on Twitter Spaces. If you have not heard about Twitter™ that only serves to confirm my initial concerns and premonitions. What they have done with digital connectivity and experiential education in this era of the Covid-19 pandemic is simply phenomenal. For the last two months, they have been hosting speakers from different walks of life on Twitter Spaces to share real life experiences about business, education, health, farming and any other subject that may catch your fancy.
On an average evening, anywhere from 400 to 600 Ugandans on Twitter (#UOT’s) are listening in and asking topical questions on what they do not teach at Business School. It is a truly enthralling experience. Firstly, the speakers have been exceptional. They are not just fly by night business people talking about the journey of getting to the where they are by waving a magic wand. They are real people who have achieved modest success and experience in their line of business through trial and error, failure and resilience. They are mostly educated folks who have a lot of mileage still left in them and are determined to change the business landscape in this country. I bet you, that these speakers represent the future of Uganda’s business scene. And that future is going to require a very high digital quotient to succeed. If their experience is anything to go by, it is clear that the future is in that phone in your hands. The future is digital and we will have to embrace it in order to stay relevant.
Then the listeners. They too have been phenomenal. They are glued to the program. Asking questions throughout the day and keeping time for the open forum. They are eager to learn, ask the right questions and have no illusions that success is a tough journey in which there are no prizes for weakness and giving up. They are the folks doing business on Facebook™, Instagram™, and the LinkedIn™ or what we call social media for business.
Some of my favorite mentors have included Munyirwa on personal debt, Dralega on education, Mukisa on financial prosperity, Makoko on financial independence, and the two Kasenenes on health and the gig economy. This is homegrown stuff and makes one really proud. . All this begs the big question: what is going on here? Excepting the digital divide, my two cents is that these Gen Zeders and Alpha kids are beginning to accept that their hopes and ambitions cannot be guaranteed by Government. Rather that if they work hard, adopt a long term view of success, then their lives will be better. And that is a good thing because, beyond the government assuring peace and an enabling environment, the fishermen and women (not my words) who run it, seem not to have a handle on solving some of the critical issues of these generations.
A few weeks ago, a person close to me told me she wanted to buy shoes. ‘How?’, I asked. Over Instagram™ she replied. She then showed me various displays and we placed an order. In a matter of minutes, the shoes were delivered and the transaction was completed. The moral of this is that our cheese has moved. If you don’t believe me, then welcome to the school of hard knocks. This is the new normal.
Samuel Sejjaaka is Country Team Leader at Mat Abacus Business School. Twitter @samuelsejjaaka