The life of a young Nigerian before he became an Internet user

The internet had existed since the 1950s, it was actively developed and widely used by schools since the 1980s. Its use grew rapidly from the 1990s till date. As at 1995, there were about 20-30 million internet users; this has grown to 3.2 billion in 2015.

The young Nigerian in question is myself. I never knew very little about the internet but never used it until about 2009, the year I used google for the first time, I was fourteen then. By this time there were about 31 million Nigerian internet users and I had just joined them. This number has increased to 83 million as of 2015. A lot has changed since then. In present day Nigeria, the 64% of the population do not use the internet or have no idea of its existence.

The internet has brought innovations and aided creativity in various aspects of our lives. We use search engines to find out information, Facebook and other social networks to keep in touch with our friends, families and loved ones, we also buy and sell online and perform various actions on the internet. This made me evaluate my life before I became hooked to the internet to the extent I created this website. Although many kids were acquainted to the internet since they were as little as five years old. Here are my personal thoughts on life before I ever used the internet.

1. I didn’t know where my friends were after graduation.

When we graduated, we went our separate ways. I had no idea there was a Facebook to look them up and find out how they were doing and coping wherever they were. Remember Facebook was active and I had no idea it existed. I joined Facebook in 2012, that’s three years after I knew of the internet.

2. I had to go to the library on a daily basis.

I was a boarder in secondary school, what many know as high school. In my kind of school, the generic phones were not allowed. Since I didn’t know the internet existed before 2009, I didn’t know of Wikipedia and Google Scholar. So any term or topic I didn’t understand was a time to search large volumes of books for the information. And assignments were done the old fashion way. Today, I search everything from Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, Quora and a lot of other resourceful sites.

3. I never bought anything online.

While websites like Amazon and eBay had existed since the mid-1990s, and of course I had no idea of their existence and how they could be used, so I never bought or sold anything online. And if i was ever told it was possible by 2009, I would have doubted the ability of my country to pull such a stunt. But today, there are tons of Nigerian eCommerce sites like konga, Jumia, and even the new Yudala; and I have purchased thing online for countless times.

4. Watching videos and playing music online?

I watch movies like the regular kid, but the thought that you could actually play them online never crossed my mind for once. Then to stream music which is really cool, seemed impossible as at then. But a surprising fact is that Youtube existed since 2005 and was even bought by Google in 2006. Streaming sites like Spotify and Pandora though not presently available in Nigeria, but there is an android app, Spinlet that allows you stream songs to your phone.

5. I didn’t chat up or skype anyone

What I could do was to “text” a friend with the good old SMS system. What’s more is that you can’t possibly text multiple people then as you can these days. SMS texts have become more valuable just as a letter sent to you is more valuable than an email.

You have read my experience, now it’s your turn. What was your life like before you became an internet user?

Kingsley Felix
Blogger, Editor and Webmaster



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