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Q&A with William: Blogging and social media in Ghana today and the future!

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n a time when there was nothing to really grasp on the internet, he blazed the trail and introduced a culture and lifestyle that has widely been accepted in today’s world. 

Amidst the many criticisms he constantly receives, he continues to stick his head high in the ever saturating blogging space as one of the most sought after Ghanaian bloggers with an international appeal.

To all, his name, Ameyaw Debrah is synonymous with blogging in Ghana and has, therefore, earned his spot as a household name in the blogging space. 

Today on Q&A with William, he walks us through his journey into blogging, marriage life, what has accounted for lowering standards of blogging, and whether blogging is lucrative or not as perceived by many, right here in this link.

PERSONAL

Q: When we talk of Ameyaw Debrah, the first thing that comes to mind is a super Ghanaian blogger with international recognition. But aside that, who is Ameyaw?

A: Haha thanks; I like to describe myself as a cool guy who likes minding my business. But because I write about happenings in town and celebrities, I end up putting a bit of myself out there also. I am still evolving as a person and as a blogger as well. So you would notice that even the things we publish now have evolved from when I started some 13 years ago.

Q: How has life been after getting married and becoming a father as well?

A: It is different; it seriously a lot of things. My responsibilities went up and the things that take my energy and time also changed a bit. Because I am not always in one country with my family, it comes with its own challenges as well, but we are making the most out of it.

Q: How do you juggle between blogging and marriage life?

A: It isn’t too difficult I find time for both. Also now I have a team so they take some of the pressure off me.

PROFESSIONAL

Q: How did blogging start for you?

A: Well it started as a hobby, and then I had an opportunity to speak at Highway Africa’s Digital Indaba in 2008, which changed my perception after seeing what people all over the world were doing with their voices in that space.  So I started to take it more seriously and it evolved to become a business. I started by writing for a number of online platforms in the US and later for Ghanaian portals. My first blog was called Jaded renegade, it was on Blogspot. I also was a columnist on Modernghana and later became the content editor for Ghanaweb and also launched ameyawdebrah.com along the line.

Q: Growing up, parents want their children to become doctors, teachers, pilots, and a whole lot. Is blogging a career path?

A: The thing about me is that growing up I showed traits of becoming a lot of these things you mentioned at different stages of my life, and my parents always supported me. When I decided to go to KNUST to study publishing with my Science background from Adisadel College, my parents supported me. In fact, I had plans of setting up a publishing business with my father after school. But sadly he dies a few months after I completed university. Blogging wasn’t a career path but it found me and I decided to explore it to my fullest potential.

Q: Many other online portals were blogging before you came into the picture. What made you think there was an opening for you?

A: Back then there were many news websites but they weren’t necessary blogs. What I brought in that was different was writing from the position of a voice, a personality so it became ameyaw Debrah says this or that. In addition to that, my vision was to build a celebrity and pop culture amongst my audience. That didn’t so much exist in terms of the direction of content from those existing platforms. I literally created my own path and directed how I wanted it to go. I knew there was space for me when people started responding to it.

Q: You obviously were part of the trailblazers and now we have a whole ocean of bloggers. How does Ameyaw Debrah keep afloat?

A: I keep to my focus and listing my content from what is around. My focus is very different from most of the other bloggers. I try to innovate new ideas all the time to stay relevant. I offer a lot more variety in my content.

Q: What do you think is accounting for the increasing number of online portals?

A: I think a lot of people have the misconception that there is money to be made easily online so that account for it.  But few are taking it seriously and building their brands

Q: Has that in any way lowered the standards in your opinion?

A: Yes, it is normal that when something reaches a point of saturation, it stale. A lot of sub-standard websites with sub-standard content have popped up over the years. Some are very popular, regardless of proving people like such content too, often in even bigger numbers.

Q: What do you like most about blogging?

A: I think having a voice, standing for something, and becoming an authority in that space. When you do it well, it transcends into the global ecosystem.

Q: Have there been any moments where you have gone like “I need to rethink my approach to blogging”? 

A: Yes I have been part of the evolution of what we have become today. Adding a lifestyle to what we do has made a lot of difference.

Q: Is blogging lucrative in Ghana?

A: It can be lucrative but we haven’t gotten to our full potential yet. We will get there when the ecosystem supports it, we need businesses in Ghana to explore more digital marketing.

Q: What made you decide to go into producing TV content?

A: I feel video is becoming part of online content culture globally, and we needed to be in that space and grow with it. So Ameyaw TV offers various video contents that reflect the ideas I believe in as a person and as a curator of pop culture.

Q: How has it been so far?

A: It started slow and picked up well but sadly coronavirus wiped some of the gains we made. Our content reflects my ideas and so not exactly the popular content that Ghanaians are used to in that space.

Q: When you walk into an event auditorium, what do you see that others miss?

A: I think I focus more on the event and look at what content I can create from it rather than getting overwhelmed by the fun and excitement of the event.

Q: As a professional, how do you feel when people question your credibility based on the stories you put out there?

A: I often don’t mind them because most of them don’t even know what credibility means. They don’t engage with the content as it was intended. Those who have ears to listen and learn often understand when they ask questions and I answer them. That said, we take a lot of care with the content we produce so as we remain credible.

Q: Take us through a typical working day for Ameyaw Debrah?

A: I wake up check mail and plan my day based on what I have to do in the day. Sometimes I have meetings either from our workspace or outside; sometimes I am planning how to produce content on Ameyaw TV with my team. When I can I have an afternoon nap and then resume work when I wake up, checking and replying emails. Now I focus more on publishing paid content so I check my emails regularly for such correspondences.

Q: Over a decade in the business, what would you say has kept you?

A: My focus, my ability to evolve and keep up with the trends in the space I find myself. It is very important to reinvent yourself and stay relevant.

Q: In your opinion, does the future hold anything positive for blogging in Ghana?

A: For me, the future I want to see in that space is more bloggers emerging in other sectors like health, business, environment, food, lifestyle, etc. there are too many uncreative people doing blogs on entertainment. I also wish that there would be a lot of advertising and promotions in the digital space.
Thank you so much, I’m grateful.
Editor: Joshua Quodjo Mensah

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