Books. Ebooks. Twitter.

Sometimes, I read books. Boring books. Books that suck the life out of me. Books that claim to be New York Times bestsellers. Books that everyone else has read. Most times, I let them sit on my headboard, waiting for a second chance. Other times I let them sit on my shelf until the day I feel they might be interesting again because my understanding of them has changed with experience. Often times, I just give them out because it’s not good to hoard stuff that someone else might enjoy. I gave away The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. I couldn’t stand it. Turns out my BFF’s mum loved it. I also gave away two John Grisham books: Sycamore Row and Gray Mountain. Honestly John bored me to death with these two. Bear in mind I’m a Grisham girl. Why would he bore me then, you ask? I have a theory.


Happy Birthday Shiku Ngigi

You must be wondering why I would write this. I didn’t. Dickson Otieno did, just for my birthday. He made me chuckle and my eyes well up with tears. Like seriously, thank you Dickson. And thank you all for making my 25th birthday as big a deal as I thought it would be. I will stop now, before I cry. 25-year-olds don’t cry all the time, do they? Here goes.


Hi, December

It’s December! It’s December! *Runs around screaming like crazy.*

Okay. Shiku is calm now. Why is she excited? December baby. She turns 25 on December 29th. 25!

What happens when you turn 25? Sounds like an age with lots of responsibilities and expectations. We’ll see how she handles that.


10 Google Chrome Extensions You Will Probably Love

You have that one browser you love to bits. Mine happens to be Google Chrome. I have tried working with Mozilla Firefox and I did not last long. And the only reason I tried it is because I thought Chrome was weighing my laptop down. At first, I thought it was the number of extensions I had on it, so I disabled all of them. However, I could not carry out my work as social media manager efficiently, so I had to bring my must-have extensions back.

These are my favourite browser extensions which you will probably love too, if you don’t already, especially if you are also in my line of work i.e. you manage blogs and social media accounts for most of your days.


Happily Ever After?

Remember Lucy, that naïve girl who was always so unlucky in love? I’m talking Lucy of the WhatsApp mishap. Lucy of the wingman drama. Well, here is the sequel…

Lucy had had enough at this juncture. She quit WhatsApp and threw it in the pit of oblivion. She stopped acting out of desperation. After all, she was young and free, right? No more Drew, no more George or Sam.


August Awakening

If you keep getting pissed off over tiny things your boss or your workmate does that affect your work, you are most likely to blame too. I came to this realization when I grabbed a copy of X News for the first time and caught an article on X Career titled “You got the job finally, don’t hate it.” I will go ahead and quote it:

“You are the one to create the conditions you want to work in. Deciding this by yourself, other things will fall in place, not even your boss will push you. Being pushed irritates you and makes you hate your job. Create the conditions, enjoy the conditions you create.”


My Three Parents

I have a father who never ever fails me. He is always a phone call away. He toils so hard I can never even dream of ever having half the zeal he has to dig up acres of land and cater for an entire extended family. My father is so lovable, his students never forget him. I know that even from Twitter. I mention him and I will often find an old boy who will speak fondly of him. My father is that guy who lives to make us laugh. He will get mad sometimes which is normal. He gave us some good beating when we were young. He had a special cane for those sessions. I can count the occasions on one hand though.

My father drove us to school, my brother and I, when he could. In a rackety old KUL 509, he would ferry us to school.


So You Think You Are Doing Twitter Right?

I subscribe to a lot of superfluous newsletters and blogs, just because I can. If you are like me, you probably do too. Plus Gmail really came through for us and threw in those updates and promotions tabs. I ignore 90% of mail from them. Every once in a while though, a subject line will catch my eye and I will click. If the content therein delivers even more I will click through to the site. And that is what happened with this HubSpot post. I ignored it for days. (We all do that when we have no time. Okay. Lie. We always have time. We just have time to do something else.) It was what I needed. “11 Twitter “Tips” and “Tricks” That Don’t Actually Work” it read. I had to read this and it was very timely.

This is for you brands on Twitter. In Kenya and everywhere else. You should read the HubSpot post too.

1. Follow, breathe, unfollow

Whoever told you that gaining lots of followers entails following loads of folk then unfollowing them after they follow was either stupid or malicious. Brands have done that to me on Twitter. And somehow, they do not think it is odd to do that. They somehow assume you will never know. How in the world is getting followers who don’t care about you and losing some potential ones in the process helping your brand exactly? That is not what being on social is about. Ask Safaricom. They followed us, even if just for DMs and never ever unfollowed. Because we tight like that. And you wonder why we never hama. Also, sue that agency doing that for you. Probably why you should be keener about what’s happening on your accounts instead of leaving everything to an intern in another company that knows nothing about your inner workings, what you are trying to preach on Twitter. I will not even mention names.

2. Jump on the trending hashtag

Like seriously? Someone actually thinks that is a strategy that works? Why would you use a random hashtag to say something just so that it can appear to many more people who couldn’t care less about who you are? The only time jumping on a trend works is when it is relevant to your audience. Otherwise it makes you look vain and cheap. Even worse is jumping on one, then filling the #entire #tweet #with #nothing #but #hashtags. Does that even look legible to you? Did you know that you do not even have to hashtag a tweet for it to show up in that search you want to appear in? The recommended maximum number of hashtags is two. Yes. Two. It is not that hard. Try it and see people engage with you.

Doing Twitter Wrong.

3. Sell products wherever someone mentions a keyword

Do you know what that looks like on first glance? Bot alert! You are a bot dear brand! Especially if I have never heard of you. Interjecting into a conversation only works if you are just talking and asking for opinion and whatnot, not selling your virgin human hair at me because I said my hair was bad. Jeez. What is virgin human hair? I thought we were still on weaves? Monitor relevant keywords alright, but don’t be a pain.

Irrelevant twitter marketing

4. Vanity

All you do is talk about yourself. Me this, me that. You don’t even retweet anyone or talk about anything else. Yawn. I will not even push this any further. I am bored.

5. Not responding to tweets

Okay, fine. You may be getting a lot of mentions that make no sense. I am not saying you should reply to everything. That would be weird. But why not reply to a genuine question? You might as well not be on Twitter then. In fact, the only reason I will walk into your store is because you are still awesome, social or not. You might not even need to be on Twitter anyway. We are not at that point in the country where your supermarket audience is majorly on Twitter. Yeah, being out of Twitter is an option. It’s better than having an account that tweeted in 2009 when Jack Dorsey was still trying to figure out whether Twitter was a messaging app or social network.

Do your thing

You know what, don’t listen to experts all the time. In fact, don’t even pay attention to me. You know why? Because you will Google and because Google is not human and whatnot, it will give you the most visited page from maybe back in 2010, when Twitter looked completely different and advice was completely different too. Like the customizable background picture that was a selling point with the old profiles. I am sure you know those are gone now with the new Facebook-like profile design. Recognize.

Do what you would like done to you and see how it works. If you wouldn’t like some other account doing that to you on a personal level, then don’t do it on a company account to another innocent citizen. Period. We will love you a little more and maybe even get interested in your product the day we need it. Think Durex. Some of us couldn’t care less about it because, you know, we don’t need it. But you know what, if I was ever to run into a situation where condoms were needed, like I don’t know, when I am married and don’t want kids or some other sane reason, I won’t go for a condom I have never heard of because hey, Durex popped into my Timeline all the time with its very interesting quips.

I am out.


Reading Culture or Doing Culture?

Sometimes, all it takes for me to spill out paragraphs and paragraphs of emotion is one simple sentence I read. It triggers so many other things. Like right now. I just read a quote that is apparently by Albert Einstein. I say apparently because you know how it is these days. You can think up anything and claim any famous person said it. Anyway, this was the quote: Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.

Kenyans have always been accused of not reading, not having a reading culture. I disagree with this premise by the way. The street vendors with sackfuls of books and others spread out neatly on the ground with people hunched over them in proof. Also, you are here reading this, you are proof. We could say Kenyans have a short attention span but then again that would be a lie. Kenyans will read long things all day, every day. They just won’t read long boring things. You want proof again? Biko Zulu. 🙂

Most of the popular websites in Kenya are content sites, news sites, gossip sites. That is all reading. Not to mention gutter press right on the streets. Kenyans love reading so much, bloggers are coming up every single day because there are people to read. Kenyans read. They just don’t read boring stuff that has no bearing whatsoever on their lives. My dad will read newspapers and educational magazines and whatever else makes sense to him. My mum will read motivational books. My brother will read some strange engineering manuals I have never even bothered looking at. My other brother will prefer the newspapers’ sports section to catch up on Arsenal, comic books and funny novels that make him laugh out aloud in the night. My baby sister, well, she will grab anything that tells her stories that she has never heard of before, story books with pictures. Of late she cannot seem to put down this particular Children’s Bible that has been handed down generations.

Children's Bible that has been handed down generations
Notice how dad adds the kids as they are born? LOL (And the kids added a little artwork of their own.)

Anyway, in the end you have to do more than read. If all you do is read and do nothing, then you might as well not read. If you are reading to be in the cool crowd, the deep crowd, stop. Just like the quote above suggests, reading is not an end in itself, just like education is not. You have to get out there and do. Just like reading the Bible should not end there. Read on people, just don’t spend all your time reading and doing nothing, clicking links on Facebook and Twitter and reading all the time at the expense of your job. Priorities people. In fact, if you clicked this link and you are supposed to be doing something else, kindly pinch yourself.

Just do it!

(And before we knew it, March was gone.)

Love Technology

Why She Gave You Her Number

So she gave you her phone number and you feel a tad achieved. Cool. But do you know why? If you thought that is the first step in the ‘ingia box’ sequence, think again. It should be noted, however, that the reasons below will not necessarily apply in the world beyond Web 2.0 per se. I do not go out much so my experience as far as number exchange is concerned is a bit biased. I have several memories of giving my number to people I just met mostly during my late teenage. One particular one is worth telling before I give you the reasons.

One bright afternoon in the year 2008, I met a strange dude in the dusty grounds that are the chief’s camp at Kikuyu. I had just landed my first phone and thus was understandably excited and eager to fill my phonebook with numbers. You know what I’m saying? The chief’s camp is a forlorn place where kids like me back then who had attained the new status of adult went to sign up for identity cards. After a rigorous exercise where some other rough guy turned my fingers about in ink and made fingerprints in some document (my memory is fuzzy at this point) then took a very dark picture of me that will forever be my identity, I walked out to find two guys who were coincidentally walking out of the place too.

One of them seemed to have his act together and said hi. Then the conversation picked up as we walked down the hill towards the main road. Apparently he lived in the general direction I was walking too. Muthure, I think. Now that I think about it, he might as well have come from Dagoretti for all I know. The guy was on a mission and direction was the least of his concerns. Half the talk for the next ten minutes was on why I would not give him my number. Eer, because I don’t know you, perhaps? Eventually we had to part ways and he made a final attempt for my number the umpteenth time. What was I supposed to do with a new phone anyway? Just like that, he got my number.

I swear I had not even walked two steps before my phone rang. Yes. I had made a mistake and he was going to bug me for the rest of that month and many more months to come. I picked that call by the way, with a smile. Again, what am I supposed to do with a new phone?

“Ulisema ni Calo (sic)?” he asked.

“Eh,” I answered.

Sigh. He was a shrubber. Maybe, just maybe, that contributed to my shunning him after that but that is a story for another day. To cut the long story short, his number was edited to read ‘Do Not Pick’ just to remind myself never ever to pick his call even 10 years down the line. There is your first reason, gentlemen. She is not used to the occasion where numbers are exchanged so she’ll give it to you anyway.

You’re not a stranger

You have known each since forever but somehow you have never asked for her number since you had other ways to communicate i.e. Facebook, Twitter, physical meetings; the works. If you ask for her number, it will pretty much be expected for her to give it to you. She might even ask why you never had it in the first place. Like I thought you had it all this time!

You make her laugh

You make her ROTFL. She LOLs and DWLs in all your conversations. You are conversational. You seem genuinely interested in what she has to say on Twitter. You moved the talk from the wall (back in the good ol’ Facebook days) or TL to the inbox and DM respectively. You are too sweet in all fairness. You like her photos with moderation, not all of them like a depraved stalker. You tell her stories. You want to know about her day. You are the best buddy she could ever ask for. (Yes, I said buddy. Friend zone alert.)

You bugged her craftily

You asked for her number the first time and she did not budge, probably because you asked too soon. So you completely forget about it (or pretend to) and you proceed to make her days (refer to previous reason). Months pass on. Long rains come and go. You keep the DMs and Facebook chats alive until you are sure there is no chance in hell she will say no the second time. You keep the chats so entertaining she bookmarks the threads on her Opera Mini. She is in. In fact, when you ask for her number and call, she will glow. If you disappear after that, she will actually search you out. Ask why you disappeared, why you are doing this to her.

You massaged her ego

Say she has a blog, or talks about a certain issue on your social network with some level of tact. You hit her mentions, telling her how impressed you are by her prowess. How you would love to have her as a business partner nini nini. How you have bookmarked her blog on Pulse. How you will refer her to a professional you know. I mean, wouldn’t you give your number to such a person yourself?

She likes you

Okay guys, I had to put this one here even though it is the last possible reason. In all fairness, I added it to give you some hope that it is not all in vain. She might actually like you and that is why she gave you her number. Most times, it is directly connected to the making her laugh reason. The liking grew on her. After all, she’s not made of stone. Also, she may feel indebted to you for some skewed reason. She does not want to be the bad guy.

Why She Gave You Her Number

Other reasons include assuring her it’s just for WhatsApp purposes or giving her an out-of-this-world reason. For instance, that you know her BFF who happens to be stuck somewhere in trouble. Call me right now. It’s urgent.

There you have it. Don’t go misinterpreting these acts of kindness. She is not easy. She is just responding to her instincts based on your personality and behaviour. Be assured that no girl will give you her number the first day you ask on social media, especially if you are not Mark Masai or some other hot celebrity. Also, no sane girl will give you her number after you have followed her on every possible social network, +1’d all her posts, liked all her photos and retweeted all her tweets. Creepy much.

Now go ye and hatch that plot!

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