Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The African Image in the Information Age of the Internet

The African Image in the Information Age of the Internet

On the 28th anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web (www) on Monday, March 13, 2017, Tim Berners-Lee., the Inventor  mentioned his biggest fears for the future:
1. Losing control of our personal data.
2. The spread of fake news and
3. The lack of regulation around political advertising.
Of course, he never had these fears when he invented it on March 12, 1989.

Many people still mistake the World Wide Web for the Internet, but it is a portion of the Internet and one of the ways that information can be disseminated over the Internet.

The difference Between the Internet and the World Wide Web
"Many people use the terms Internet and World Wide Web (aka. the Web) interchangeably, but in fact the two terms are not synonymous. The Internet and the Web are two separate but related things. 
What is The Internet?
DARPA was created by the US Department of Defense in 1958 as the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The political and defense communities recognised the need for a high-level defense organization to formulate and execute R&D projects that would expand the frontiers of technology beyond the immediate and specific requirements of the Military Services and their laboratories.
The Arpanet (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network), which later would be named the Internet, was conceived in 1962 when, Dr. Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider formulated the earliest ideas of global networking in a series of memos discussing an “Intergalactic Computer Network.”
The first-ever computer-to-computer link was established on ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet, on October 29, 1969.
What is The Web (World Wide Web)?
The World Wide Web, or simply Web, is a way of accessing information over the medium of the Internet. It is an information-sharing model that is built on top of the Internet. The Web uses the HTTP protocol, only one of the languages spoken over the Internet, to transmit data. Web services, which use HTTP to allow applications to communicate in order to exchange business logic, use the the Web to share information. The Web also utilizes browsers, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, to access Web documents called Web pages that are linked to each other via hyperlinks. Web documents also contain graphics, sounds, text and video.
The Internet, not the Web, is also used for email, which relies on SMTP, Usenet news groups, instant messaging and FTP. So the Web is just a portion of the Internet, albeit a large portion, but the two terms are not synonymous and should not be confused."

The World Wide Web has accelerated and transformed the communication and transmission of information through the internet as never done before the inventions of printing,  radio, television and telephone.  It has increased and expanded the scopes of printing, radio, television and telephone on the internet with publishing online, internet radio broadcast or podcast, internet TV and internet phone calls which made spreading of knowledge by sharing news and information within seconds from our fingertips from the invention of emails in the 1970s to social media networks in the 1990s.

The Internet and Web have bridged the wide communication gap between the developed nations and developing nations. Before then, the print media, telegram, telephone, radio and TV were the only major mediums of communication. The power of information was controlled by the owners of the press, telecommunications, radio and TV stations. And in most cases misinformation was common among the most ignorant and uneducated people, especially in Africa where the majority of the populations were rural dwellers without access to electricity and without enough money to afford radios and buy the batteries. They often received news and information from third parties who either give correct information or incorrect information. And TV programmes were produced by the colonial governments that showed their civilizations as advanced and superior to the Africans shown as inferior and primitive.

Their best pictures of Africa are the safaris of African wildlife showing sub Saharan Africa with Africans as naked savages living in their huts or on trees. The north Africans were shown as being more civilized than the rest of Africans in west, central, eastern and southern Africa.
They often never showed black Africans in modern culture. But with the introduction of TV in Tropical Africa in 1959 by the visionary first Premier of the Western Region in Nigeria, Chief Ọbáfẹ́mi Jeremiah Awólọ́wọ̀ (6 March 1909 – 9 May 1987), there was a paradigm shift in mass communication in Africa as Nigerians like Ambassador Chief Ṣẹgun Oluṣọla (18 March 1935 – 21 June 2012) became one of the first producers of TV programmes showing the true pictures of indigenous people of Nigeria and the rest of sub Saharan Africa in modern culture comparable to the western culture.

The introduction of the Web was a quantum leap to another higher dimension of modern communication since the introduction of motion picture and TV.
The Internet and Web have accelerated the digital revolution of the Information Age and the invention of GSM communication was another quantum leap in telecommunication that further bridged the communication gap between Africa and the rest of the world as people in the remotest places in Africa can use GSM phones to communicate with others in other locations from rural areas to urban areas and those far away in other countries in Africa and overseas.
You can read a detailed analysis of the advantages on "Prospects for Information Technology in Africa"

Fake news or half truths on Africa by the mainstream media from London to New York can now be debunked and refuted by Africans on the internet.
Only Africans can report and tell the truth about Africa and the internet has given us the access to do so online with our GSM phones, tablets, laptops and desktops.

The images of Africans have been rubbished and tarnished by the western mainstream media and citizen media, because of the criminal acts of some corrupt and incompetent political leaders and fraudulent activities of fraudsters who are not even up to 5% of the entire population of Africa. Western reporters and bloggers make sweeping remarks and blanket statements generalising Africans as unintelligent, corrupt and incompetent. And Africa is the weeping boy of the world always begging for foreign aid from the developed nations, because Africans cannot manage their immense human and mineral resources. They prefer to depict the worst impressions of Africans; from the monstrosity of the Idi Amin Dadas  to the notoriety of the "Yahoo-Yahoo" advance fee fraudsters and sex traffickers. They don't often show the best developments in Africa and they have misformed the rest of the world about Africans. Therefore, we must reject the misinformation about us on the internet. We must counteract every viral report in text, photo or video that is not correct and let the rumour monger, reporter or blogger retract the false information.
Our mission should be:
"To provide the right information to correct misinformation and to expose disinformation".
~ Prof Felix I. D. Konotey-Ahulu, the Dr Kwegyir Aggrey Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana.
The population of Africans on the internet is 9.1 percent of the rest of the world with majority of them in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.
More than 125 million Nigerians are active on the internet with over 26 million of them on Facebook.  Mark Zuckerberg, the Cofounder/CEO was so impressed that he visited Nigeria before Kenya in his first visit to sub Saharan Africa in August last year. And he saw the African techies at work like their counterparts in the Silicon Valley in United States. He also visited the techhub of Nigeria's phenomenal Nollywood at the Afrinolly Space before he flew to Kenya to see Kenyan techies and not the Kenya safari.

Mark Zuckerberg at the Co-Creation Hub in Lagos.
Mark Zuckerberg with Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima at Afrinolly Space on August 31, 2016.
Mark Zuckerberg at Afrinolly Space.

When we report and tell our own news and stories about us, the rest of the world will no longer be ignorant of the facts on Africans and Africa.  That is how we can portray our true image on the internet.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,
Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report Online, @247nigeria .

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