The Interview with Mwangi

Thanks to Grace Kerongo from Nairobi Star for giving this up and coming blog some exposure, I really appreciate that. The email interview is pasted below. Grace’s questions are in plain text and my responses are in bold.

First up, huge thanks for interviewing me. My first interview ever and I am very excited. Hope it is of interest and benefit to you.

So it it true what they say? That bloggers are constantly on the net?

I sleep and then I am online. I think I am probably a novelty but I spend three quarters of my waking time on line.

 

 

1. What do you mostly blog about?
I am still not sure what I blog about. It started out as a general resource guide for Africans in the diaspora but as of just a few hours ago I thought I would tighten my focus and begin writing a resource guide for young Africans living in Australia. So, in short, I am still testing things out to see what fits best.
2. When did you decide to change the flow of your blog to political issues? If not, why stay away from politics?
I try to completely stay away from blogging about political issues for a couple of reasons:
1) I am relatively ignorant: I am not one of those people who is on the daily nation and standard daily and never have been all my life. Therefore I don’t think I can bring much to the discussion, especially when compared to people who are on the ground and knowledgeable like Kumekucha, Kenyan Pundit, What an African Woman Thinks and M of Thinker’s Room.

2) I am not interested in it: I am just not naturally drawn to discussions about politics and political strategies and backstabbing. I much prefer to hear and learn about psychology and how people think and feel react based on underlying psychological triggers.

3) Pretty much anything I had to say had already been said: Log on to Mashada or check out the blogs above and the superficial knowledge and conclusions I came to regarding the political situation had already been expressed and expounded on.

 

3. Most blogs broke news and ran scoops on news that newspapers did not have till later on. Did you have any scoops on your blog?
No! No scoops from me. I got all my information from newspapers, the blogosphere and my family back in Kenya.

 

4. Bloggers were accused of being propagandist, for using blogs as hate machine. This was from the onset of Post Election to the current period. Any thoughts?
I think this was not restricted to the blogosphere. Here in Melbourne, Australia there were smses circulated by Kikuyus declaring that an uncircumcised man can never be president and I know What an African woman thinks (http://wherehermadnessresides.blogspot.com/) wrote a little bit about that. The blogopshere definitely spread some hate and I avoided any blogs that I felt were spreading hate like a plague. The place where hate was simply unavoidable was Mashada.com and Kumekucha and I fully understand why Kobia had to shut the place down for a while, it all got a bit too much.

5. Blogs were segmented into two, Pro-government and Opposition, which side were you on?
One of the benefits of being ignorant and not participating in the typical political debates is that I can honestly say, neither. As far as I can tell all the big parties in the general election are cut from the same cloth with minor variations between them.

6. Did you receive threats from the readers who visited your blog or anyone else for what you wrote on your blog?
No! I don’t think my blog mattered enough yet. The only abuse I have gotten so far is for writing an article critiquing the African view of Obama as far as politics are concerned.

7. How do you control the comments posted on your blog?
So far there has been no great need, almost everyone has been pretty civil and I have had no need to block out anything other than commercial spam.

8. How is your blog helping the current situation in the country, after the post election crisis?
I think if there is one thing we cannot overlook it is the absolutely beautiful outpouring of love and support that came out of the blogopshere and the Kenyan web community in general. Initiatives such as Ushahidi, that can really help give power to the marginalized and change societies if properly used and operations such as Mama Mikes, Operation Saving Brian, I have no tribe amongst others all came out of this tragedy. In addition to that, a lot of bloggers were willing to step up and talk about things like tribalism, class, wealth disparity and other issues that are really at the core of all this. I have just realized that this wasn’t the question but I think it is worth saying.
I don’t know what my blog’s role will be in the coming months considering how far I am from home, other than to promote any initiatives and people I find doing good work who need to get the word out there.

9. Who are your biggest posters or blog visitors. Are they Kenyan here or those abroad?
Abroad. Interestingly, at present most of my readers are from the States. As I tighten my focus to talk more about Australia and Australian immigration I expect my demographics to change.

10. Did you experience the post election violence in any way?
Not directly, I was 1000s of miles away. My aunty and grandmother are Kikuyu women deep in the heart of the Rift Valley and we were on the phone with them every single day because for a while they could not sleep and there was a very real threat that the neighbouring Kalenjins would kill and displace them.

11. Is there an association of bloggers that looks into the conduct of bloggers that out step the line?
I don’t think so. I think this would take away from the spirit of blogging. Even though a lot of hatred was spewed online during the crisis, I don’t think that censoring blog content is the way to go….my opinion may change, but at the moment, that’s how I feel.

12. Where are you based?
Melbourne Australia and sometimes Sydney Australia.

13. Did your hits increase, immediately after the the election in December?
My blog started up during the post election violence. Some of my first articles were about the violence, so I guess technically the answer is yes.

14. And finally, what are your real names and what do you do…beside blogging?
My name is Mwangi and I blog. When I am not blogging, I sometimes work as a disabled or aged care nurse and have a small business online.

 

Mwangi, please feel free ask for clarification on any questions you don’t understand.

Cheers!
If you need any more information, don’t hesitate to ask!

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Other Links to this Post

  1. M Does Not Stand for Mwangi: Mwangi Stands for Mwangi » The Displaced African — April 15, 2008 @ 11:06 pm

  2. The Displaced African’s Media and Press Appearances » The Displaced African — July 10, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

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