by Brandon Tyler & Miss Kay
The digital world is a space of endless possibilities. It has opened doors and windows that were not known a decade ago. As young people we have leveraged the digital space to our benefit . We have found a place, a platform to tell our stories, a space to demystify myths and misconceptions about our identities, ethics and societal norms
The digital platforms has availed so many opportunities and challenges that young people all over the world have enjoyed being a part of. The voiceless, the minorities and every other person who is overlooked and marginalized has found their sanctum, their stage and their voice. They have access to information that empower them, platforms and spaces to stand up and tell their stories, speak their identity and be free in their diversities
This article is inspired by young people of the digital age in Zimbabwe, creative mavericks in their diversities. The creative industry is growing at a very fast rate, more so with the advancement of technology making it easier for people in their diversities to tap into the digital career space. We embarked on a journey to find out what young creatives in Zimbabwe have to say about the impact of the Digital creative space in developing and growing their brands.
Daniel K Jacha
Advertising and Branding Consultant- Askeland Media
(@dundundaan) Twitter and Instagram
“The social media age has been a stumbling block for most corporates. This has been due to a number of factors, but that, combined with the pandemic, has meant that marketing executives have been fish out of water. In an age where the primary form of media has been the mobile device, most corporates have been struggling to push across their brands through the internet, the most interactive form of market interactions. That’s where I come in.
As a “zillenial” I was born on the internet. I know the do’s and don’ts, and how to create engagement with posts. And because the nature of my job as an Advertising and Branding Consultant at an Out of Home advertising firm, I’ve been forced to adapt, encouraging media campaigns that work best with the digital space, and the physical plane. Its also allowed me to carve out a space for myself, in which I can advise the client on various marketing communication strategies in order to traverse the internet better, with little to no scandal.
The result of this has been ‘eyrie’, an entertainment and lifestyle blog, with just a touch of business. Eyrie is mine and Brandon Tyler’s brain child, in which we have opted to create a space in which we cover the goings on in Bulawayo’s entertainment and live music scene to further elevate Bulawayo culture and talent to the world stage. This product, ultimately is a love letter to the city that has built us and shaped our identities, and, through the use of our combined sets of skills, we intend on promoting and giving back to our home. There are plenty of conversations to be had, many of which are birthed and die on Twitter. Why not nurture them and give them a place to breathe in a more erudite setting?
The digital space is brimming with opportunity, and with the world moving toward Web 3 and the Metaverse, it is prudent to set my sights, and my energy towards carving a home for myself, and like-minded individuals there too. “
Many a times the digital space is recognised in terms of visual work, however the industry is booming with brilliant writers and wordsmiths. We have seen the growth in the literature field through digital platforms. In our journey, we also had the privilege of meeting writers who are leveraging the digital space to promote and grow their brands in Zimbabwe and to the world at large.
“As a creative and more specifically a writer, the digital space and social media have been a vital resource for me, especially working freelance. Many editors and magazines use social platforms such as twitter to source pitches and stories from people whose voices have been traditionally marginalised and overlooked, and that is how I have been able to publish and work with organizations such as XtraMagazine. The digital space also allows us as writers and creatives to be able to put out our work, through the various self-publishing channels available to us to be able to start building an audience and readership and also a community with other creative and writers to be able to collaborate with ease even across continents. This last part has been very important to me as a queer creative, as the social media space has been crucial uplift each for us to uplift each other and our work”
Not all is gloom or morbid within the digital creative space of Zimbabwe, the following writers allude to this testament by unpacking the layers of growing your audience as a writer.
“The digital space in Zimbabwe has been an oasis of opportunities and learning. Never has it been so easy to find communities with people that share your own interests. It has also been a place to learn about different people in society who have never been represented much in the media because the power of publishing has been given to everyone. Though it has it shortfalls with its corners harbouring toxicity and violence insulated by the anonymity that the internet provides, Zimbabwe’s digital space yields a lot of good when you are able to successfully curate it into a positive space.
This has given me an opportunity to immerse myself in writing and become a part of writing communities where we share different perspectives on the art, enjoy it in its different facets and build each other. Through the digital space, I was able to take part in nationwide writing competition in which I was shortlisted and had my story published as part of an anthology. This has been a morale booster and has consolidated my interest in pursuing writing as a career path in an environment where arts are underappreciated.
As a storyteller, I have used the resources available to me through the internet, to build a platform in which I can tell my stories. My page “Same Old Mistakes” has garnered over 200 likes in the space of two months, and I am looking to expand on it and open a Revue newsletter, that rides on my twitter platform, to further stories based from my point of view. I believe that we should have more African voices in the digital space. “
“What has the digital age meant to me as a creative?
The digital space has always been a frontier with seemingly endless possibilities for me. However, having an awareness of these possibilities, felt daunting for the younger me. I was unsure of how I wanted to present myself to the online world; I only knew that I wanted to be present. It was only after realising what my vision was and how writing was the core skill I could deploy to execute it, the pieces began falling into place.
What role has social media played in the work I’m doing now?
Social media has played a major defining role in the eventual setup of my own newsletter, KudaSpeaks. It was through social media, in the process of building organic connections with other creatives in different spheres, that my own creativity was aroused. My online friends pointed out that I had a voice and held opinions which are worth creating a platform around, cheering me on when I had cold feet. Being invited into other people’s creative endeavors, be it providing feedback or collaborations, helped me grow my confidence overtime. My audience were ready to support me when my newsletter launched and helped me in reaching people who are not on social media too. So, yes, social media is pivotal in my creative work. “
Digital platforms are an infinite space filled with free and accessible knowledge. To those who are determined, they will find ways to obtain new skills and knowledge that helps them establish careers even without a university degree.
“I did not attend college due to financial challenges. However, that did not stop me. I taught myself digital marketing on the internet. I took advantage of the free knowledge and education available on the internet to teach myself what I know and practice today.
I started an online magazine called The Safe Zone in high school. With this magazine, I wanted to create a space where people could talk about issues surrounding them, which is still my dream.
I did a lot of blogging and writing online when I also started learning about niches. I have used various sites including Wattpad, Tumblr, and Google Blogger to write and share my writing. I started participating in daily prompts and growing my knowledge base. That also grew my following to more than 600. I then got my first volunteer position in digital marketing where I practiced my digital skills through participation.
Digital platforms have changed my life for the best, and I want people to know that the digital world is possible. It is up to any individual to take advantage of the available platform to help themselves grow. I have been writing about digital marketing and I have been published in various platforms including American magazines and publications. It makes us of everything from hashtags to reaching out and everything in between. Through digital platforms, I have managed to earn a living just as much as I have learned so much and grown my career as a writer. “
Feminist Freelance Writer, Speaker, TV Producer, and Author
Digital platforms have given people a voice and create communities of like-minded people on social media, some of them who might be the people we need to shows us what we did not know we needed. Social media has given people new perspective on things, just by interacting online.
“The most important impact of digital platforms on my life has been the access to data and information that would otherwise have been difficult to get hold of. It comes in the way social media platforms have given me access to a myriad of people with diverse skill sets. I have been exposed to new ways of seeing the world and doing things simply by reading a tweet. People find it easy to think out loud on social media, sparking conversations around a number of topics.
Digital platforms have also allowed me to ‘meet’ people I would not otherwise have met. Blog sites and podcasts are easy ways to expose oneself to influential people in any sphere that may be of interest to you. I met the person who encouraged me to start blogging on social media. I thought blogging was something complicated and complex, but she motivated me to go for it.
I have found a voice and an outlet through the blogs I write. I may not know the true value of my blog posts to other people, but to me, it’s priceless. I get to vent and express my frustrations. I get to share my views on certain issues.
The benefit of having a place that allows you to express yourself is immense, unquantifiable.”