The most fascinating change this century will see is the “Create Your Own Platform” wave brought about by the Internet and moving on to other areas. There are so many people in decades past who saw their careers killed by publishers who would not take their work, by radio stations who would not play their music and myriads of wannabe TV celebrities have seen their hopes dashed by producers who will not even look at their portfolios. Now you can say to hell with the publishers and producers. You can Create Your Own Platform.
I’ll give you a few local examples of how this has worked to great effect:
Muthoni Ndonga, otherwise known as Muthoni the Drummer Queen, launched a new concept, Blankets and Wine in Kenya. Three times a year, she creates an open, picnic-style event for upcoming musicians, like herself, to share the podium with well known singers. And the event has become popular, moved outside Nairobi to other cities and the list of celebrities that has graced her platform continues to grow in number and in clout. Best of all, she has her own platform and needs no one’s permission to sing. And so she sings at her own events. Maybe she created Blankets and Wine after trying to sing at other events, I don’t know, but it works and we can’t wait for the next event.
There are so many media and TV presenter hopefuls in any given country. While the media landscape is expanding rapidly, it still cannot absorb all the people who think they can do it. Some don’t really want to work in the media, they just want the celebrity and recognition that comes with it. Well, using the Internet, specifically YouTube or a website, you can create your own space to do what you like. Check out MukamiTV on YouTube. A Kenyan living in the USA, formerly in media, has created her own platform and her audience is growing. And she can do damn well what she pleases. See an article about her on my blog.
A few months ago, Ms Joyce Mbaya, a former Kenyan contestant on Apprentice Africa, launched her own e-book. The book title is Gibebe, which in Swahili means “stand on your own feet” and comes from her three life principles ImaGIne, BElieve and BEcome. I don’t know the reasons why she self-published online while she could have easily found a publisher, given her profile. However, she has the right and the possibility to self-publish on the web instead of dealing with difficult publishers who want large cuts from the book.
My final example is that of Yours Truly. I have no profile (yet). I just wanted to write articles for magazines and newspapers. Without connections, getting my articles in any major publication locally was very difficult. It was a headache. Scratch that. It was a migraine. I had editors not picking my calls, others promising to edit my piece and never doing it and a number of unanswered emails. Until I woke up, figuratively, and thought “duh…I could create my own platform.” And I did. I started in early September and it’s been over a month of blogging under my own terms. No one pays me, that’s the downside. But then again, no one can block potential visitors to my blog.
The power has shifted. The power is in your own hands. If you want to do theatre, cooking, cartoons, launch a magazine or anything creative and no one wants to give you a chance. Then it’s time to Create Your Own Platform.