Downtown Kampala, Uganda

#UgBlogWeek: Here’s your opportunity to tell the Ugandan narrative

A few years back, I used to lean back and watch, listen or read stories as they were narrated by elders, teachers, friends or big media houses. They were all sorts of stories. They came in the form of fairy tales, news, information, opinions and talk shows. Some I liked, some I didn’t.

Growing up a young boy, I believed everything. Yes, that naivety that comes with being a child is good — sort of — for growing up. And I was learning too.

I never really used to criticize or challenge whatever information I was exposed to. That’s partly because the medium that would allow self-expression or free production of my thoughts wasn’t readily available. If it was, it was too expensive for me to access. Publishing a book wasn’t — and still isn’t — an easy task here in Uganda. Writing a column in the newspapers is almost out of the question especially if you’re not a political pundit or if you don’t have connections to the editorial team at media houses. As for T.V, some people still find it a big deal to make an appearance on local T.V channels.

But those days are way behind us.

Enter Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Apps — a new form of media that’s decentralized and liberalized citizen media. These new media channels give everyone with an internet-connected device to express their thoughts to family and friends or the world. That’s really the good news. The bad news is that while the the medium has been unshackled, the message is still locked up in people’s minds.

That’s why Joel B Ntwatwa is spearheading a one-week long campaign dubbed #UgBlogWeek where he hopes that more people can tell interesting stories using available digital media. With such campaigns, the inertia to create local content that most consumers of digital media have can hopefully be overcome. Together with @storipot, a Ugandan-based blog and news aggregator that curates headlines of local blogs in real-time, maybe we can take the front seat in telling our own narrative.

As for me, my efforts at @dignited, @storipot, this blog and other platforms will continue. So, join us in telling great stories at #UgBlogWeek.