Prodigal Benefits and a Reflection on Spring Cleaning…

Cake with I, somewhere on a humid Lagos afternoon


Being a prodigal abroad, in a relatively small, close knit expat community has its perks, not least if you are Nigerian. Truth be told, more often than not, there is a risk of private spaces being invaded, but when they come through, they come through spectacularly. The most recent example of this was Easter Sunday, on which after dragging myself home from work my late evening reverie was interrupted by persistent knocking. At the door was M, the matronly mother figure from three streets over, with a bowl of piping hot egusi soup, some swallow and a tub of fried rice in tow. Whatever misgivings simmered beneath the surface at the intrusion vanished very quickly, wafting away as though borne by the steam still rising from the bowls of food.

Speaking of privacy, over the past year I have been slowly migrating my stuff away from Google, having not been on Facebook in years. Older, pre-2020 pictures though still live in Google Photos, which is why form time to time I get a pop up with a collage or the other of pictures from memory lane. Over the past few weeks, pictures from my early days offshore, of returning to Lagos and cathcing up with the guys and more than a few weddings have popped up. On a level, these are things I would not have remembered without the prompting from Google, all of which leaves me very conflicted. Is the value I get from being reminded worth the hassle of giving up my pictures to Google?

Having not been on here a lot of late, I am hoping to restore my practice of writing regularly. To kick tha off I started with a bit of spring cleaning, tons of spam comments and links in my sidebar getting culled. Amidst all the clutter was having to remove links to Al Mohler, to TA and a few others who no longer blog regularly. Particularly interesting was Al Mohler, who in the early 2000s was a fixture alongside Joshua Harris, CJ Mahaney and the Covenant Life crowd before that all went balls up. The very divergent paths they have taken since those days is real food for thought – Al’s doubled down on Trump and the Evangelical right in America, Joshua Harris has become the poster boy for taking deconstruction to the nth degree, whilst CJ became yet another example of the mega church implosion. It hasn’t been twenty five yet but nothing could be more divergent than that erstwhile group of playmates of sorts.

Nigeria: What We searched for..

Google’s 2010 Zeitgeist makes for interesting read.. The summary from Google:

In the year of Nigeria’s 50th independence celebration, it was unsurprising that terms like “Nigeria” and “Goodluck Jonathan” ranked highly in the search trends. But the nation’s imagination was certainly captured by social networking, with “2go” topping the fastest rising list, and “Facebook” being the second most popular search by volume. Nigerian musicians “Terry G” and “Dagrin” also attracted significant online interest.

Great to see Football Manager 2010 top the fastest rising games category and bella naija make an entry in the fastest rising people category. Sadly there’s no Liverpool in the sports section (goes to show the absence of true football connoisseurs IMO). Interestingly  ‘Love’ and MTN make the top ten popular searches…  Wonder how many of those ‘love’ searches were related to eHarmony though.. 🙂

The Fear of Google……

If the internet made information globally available, Google made it accessible…A few weeks back, someone ‘googled’ my real name and could have been able to piece together a considerable amount of my history – stuff like my secondary school and the year I left, my University, my father’s name and some of the work he’s done, my work history, comments I’d made on some blogs in my real name and some stuff I was rightly ashamed to be associated with – like the mug shot i uploaded to the Liverpool website’s worldwide fan database!

That got me thinking about the stuff I do online and just how, when I decide to go head to head with Hot Doug for the Nigerian Presidency in 2023, some smart kid could pull off stuff from Google to knock me out of the race. Now in addition to searching on Google, we can blog, read books, buy and sell, organize our own computers, travel the world, swap videos, organize, create and share documents, network on-line, store, share and edit pictures, talk and even pretend to be Italian business men from the comfort of our Ojuelegba boys quarters (with the connivance of Starcomms that is) for the ’19’ men! If stuff like Google Analytics can pull a lot of data about visitors to your site almost at an IP-based level, I wonder what the master database it is cross referencing can do… That’s a whole lot of power for one company to have methinks…….So I’ve started by deleting my Nigeria-Friends account, turned off the public listing I’ve got on Facebook, as well as deleted my PerfSpot and Hi5 accounts…. Wouldn’t want a boredom induced piece of indiscretion to cost me dear in future… Or maybe its all a part of life and we all just need to get on with it!

Ever ‘googled’ your real name? You just might find it therapeutic!

P.S. Thanks for all your thoughts on my last post… I REALLY am over it…..