Twenty years ago, in 1999, the whole world was in a panic. Everything computerised was expected to be brought crashing down by the Millennium Bug. Every computer on the planet was designed with dates only going up to 12:00:00 AM, December 31st, 1999
Nobody knew what would happen at 12:00:01 AM on January 1st, 2000
The date and time came and passed. The transition was smooth and since then, computers and technology have brought us forward by leaps and bounds. In the last two decades alone, technology has brought us further than everything else had in the previous 100 years
There’s been an immense impact on communication, manufacturing, agriculture, finance, entertainment, the public sector and more. Technology has given us new ideas and made science fiction reality
Young people in a country which is retrenching it’s youth can employ themselves. New careers, like Social Influencer have emerged. Some existing ones, like Fashion Modeling have evolved
But does technology take away from the value and respect for actual work?
What, for example, is the preceding equivalent of a social influencer?
In the recent past, you needed more than social media followers for anybody to take your endorsement seriously. To earn a following, you either had to be uncommonly intelligent or singularly talented. You had to be obscenely rich or significantly powerful. You had to have invented something, composed timeless music, made a blockbuster movie or led a country
If you hadn’t proven the credibility of your endorsement through your own ability, you simply could not inspire anybody. Influence was painstakingly earned over time
Today, popularity seems to have replaced ability. Any unproven individual with a significant number of followers - who follow them for any number of reasons - can grant themselves the title of “Influencer” and all that appertains to it. But does their endorsement hold any real credibility, and therefore value?
Twenty years ago, modeling was a glamorous career which only allowed certain looks and complexions. They even referred to human beings who were outside their accepted parameters as “exotic”. Today, #BodyPositive and #SelfLove movements have opened the industry to a more representative segment of people. But there are no longer any requirements for merit and anybody can bestow on themselves the title of “Model”
Merit used to mean quality assurance. It meant your endorsement was from a place of knowledge and capacity, and therefore could be trusted and held accountable. Merit used to inspire us. It gave us something to look up to. Merit demonstrated the value of work to us and made those who worked hard worthy of admiration
When he was breaking 200M & 400M world records, I would have drank or eaten anything Michael Johnson endorsed. When she was breaking barriers for women of African descent in the fashion industry, we all had Naomi Campbell posters on our walls. But in order to build their ability to influence, Naomi Campbell and Michael Johnson had to put in grueling hours - in the gym, eating unexciting food and generally doing the hard part which most of us didn’t get to see - the work
There’s an often used phrase; “working smart”, which will never replace hard work for the simple reason that not everybody is smart. But everybody can work hard
For riches, for innovation, for timeless art. To achieve anything remotely successful, painstaking work must be done
Therefore, to run an online food delivery business, you must figure out inventory and how to deal with perishables. You must acquire all the appropriate licenses. You must map out the area you will serve, figure out how long each delivery will take and what everything will cost you. You must do a million things before you write a single Facebook post telling people you can deliver food to them. It’s not really an “online” business before you take care of the offline details
Any authentic online career requires genuine merit and real work. “Blogger” is just the new term for writer. Therefore, bloggers with no real ability to write are not bloggers. A fashion blogger must posses, at minimum, the ability to write as well as good fashion taste. Knowing how to design and make clothes adds even more to one’s merit as a fashion blogger. But posting fashion pictures and describing the pictures to your audience in basic language is not fashion blogging
Similarly , you’re not a food blogger because you know which restaurants to go to. You’re a food blogger because you’re a qualified food scientist who can write mouthwatering copy about food
Technology does not absolve us from work. Technology should work for us, not in our stead
Today’s generation has an unprecedented advantage as solution providers and future captains of industry if we’re willing to do what is still the main thing. The work
We should be improving our skills and abilities using the internet and social media instead of just sharing memes and trolling each other. We should be collaborating with others who have similar challenges and learning from those who have solved theirs instead of celebrating unimportant wins for #KenyansOnTwitter
We once thought all the world’s machines would crash in an instant because of a time and date change. Let’s not be the generation which triggers a thought plateau that causes the stagnation and possible regression of humanity because technology has made us lazy