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Internet ‘dumsor’: Tale of panic attacks, financial losses for influencers
Hajia Bintu is well known as a social media influencer
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Internet ‘dumsor’: Tale of panic attacks, financial losses for influencers

I THOUGHT of moving out of the country a couple of days after the downtime because the internet space is my office. An average of $200 - $1000 was lost by a single creator every 24 hours during internet blackout”.

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These words of Kelly Lartey Mensa, CEO of Cedi.web, a company which manages social media handles, is a reflection of the confusion and frustration many social media influencers and content creators had to grapple with when Ghana was plunged into a sudden and unexpected internet blackout on March 14,2024.

But at a time when social media has created jobs for influencers and content creators, a challenge with the ‘free flow” of internet, which is a primary tool for operations is more than a killer punch.

This is because what many had expected to be a fleeting interruption turned out to be a full-scale crisis with implications on various sectors of the economy of which social media influencers and content creators whose survival is mainly premised on. 

Thus the unexpected internet downtime dealt a big blow to many especially the economy of social media influencers and content creators who heavily depend on internet access for their daily operations. 

In Ghana some of the names that make influencers and content creators list include Hajia Bintu, Wode Maya, Zion Felix, Asantewaa and Felicia .

Even though the situation improved in ensuing days, the internet is yet to be in full scale operation, with some having to find costly means to get their content out there to earn their keep.

In separate interviews with Graphic Showbiz, some influencers acknowledged their stress with the situation, explaining further the losses they are accruing.

 Low engagement

According to Eric Toscar, a social media influencer, one of the key advantages of content creators and influencers is the ability to reach a highly targeted audience.

 Unlike traditional media, which is often aimed at a broad demography, content creators and influencers work with niche audiences based on their interests and personalities This  means that brands can reach their target audience more effectively, and with greater impact through numbers and engagements.

However, with the disruption of the internet, he explained that a number of people have been forced offline, thereby reducing the reach and engagements for shared posts.

“So one thing I realised during the first one or two days of the internet blackout was that, engagements were very low and you know social media influencers and content creators thrive on engagements.

“When you make a post, your reach determines your weight and influence on the platform. A lot of people were offline which affected engagements, comments, reactions, and that was a big minus for us and you know that also affect revenue generation,” he said.

Qweku Nyarko Glover of Glover Hub shared same views noting that he couldn’t promote the works of clients for three days and it was frustrating for him when he couldn’t satisfy their demands.

“It was difficult to even post an 8MB video. It was a really frustrating moment and all I could think about was how I would survive if there’s no restoration. I will definitely be out of job. 

“I had panic attacks. The situation has improved but it is still not the best because engagements have reduced and that means people are not coming online as before this whole internet challenges started,” he said.

Official Starter, who is widely known for his skits with market women which discovered Maama Tooli told Graphic Showbiz  views on his videos have dropped.

“The lack of reliable internet connectivity is making it difficult for creators to produce and distribute content. People need full scale internet to watch videos but the views are declining and that is affecting business,” he stated.

In the words of Zion Felix: “Dumsor coupled with slow internet in Ghana, we are actually going through it and it’s not funny”.

Kelly Nii Lartey Mensa of Cedi.web

Online economy affected

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Kelly Lartey Mensa of Cedi.web said the experiences of influencers and content creators only go to show just how much the online economy in Ghana was affected by the internet downtime. 

“The experience has marred our ability to prove confidence in the remote work environment and therefore, Ghana may be a risky place to visit as a digital nomad in future.  

“What made it worse was the panic attacks some online creators experienced because there was no clear solution or timeline to the problem. It felt like, our Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) were helpless and it was scary,” he said.

Kelly also mentioned that the statements from National Communications Authority (NCA) helped in a way to calm nerves but again, their explanation of subsea cable fracture did not make sense when later, users were using VPN to bypass the downtime. 

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“The lesson this brings to us, especially me as a digital media wellness advocate is to push for Ghana to take enough control of our cyber infrastructures and subsea networks. We can’t leave something this sensitive to other countries without any backup security. 

“Ghana must immediately set up an internet infrastructure and e-governance bureau to look at ways to not only improve but also have adequate control of every aspect of the country’s online economy- from the infrastructures to tech governance,” he added. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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