Thursday, June 27, 2013

What are the kids doing online?

In a written test, I asked my engineering class to list (with short descriptions) fifteen websites that are important to them.

The top five (in no particular order) shouldn't surprise you:
Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Youtube.

Also in the top twenty-five are (I didn't write a tally or anything, but each of these sites appeared in about 10 of 75 students' lists):
  • Wikipedia, Amazon, Yahoomail, Gmail, Wordpress (they recently created a wordpress class blog).  
  • Tumblr, Instagram, Skype, Goal, Dictionary.
  • Tubidy, 4shared,, PirateBay, waptrick.
  • TooXclusive, NotJustOK (local music blogs), KhanAcademy (they were assigned this in class), their university site (variations on the URL, the address should be made more catchy and short I guess), CircuitAtlantic (shopping). 
Nigerian Entertainment and Music News
 Also quite popular (next 35): 
mp3skull, mediaTVzone, hulkshare, Beemp3., Wikihow, The course website, the class blog...
CNN, BBC,, Bing.
BellaNaija, LindaIkeji, Nairaland, Naijapals.
Nairabet, ESPN, Livescores, CNET.
Forbes, Fortune, EOnline, 2go.
Bookboon, Jumia, Konga, Ebay, 
FlyAero, ArikOnline, Wakanow, GSMArena,
Blogger/Blogspot, GTbank,

They also seem to be interested in
British Football Clubs: manutd, chelseafc, arsenal
Naruto and other manga: narutoget, mangacentral, mangafox, ...
Games and gaming: ign, specific MMORPG games
Pornography: I honestly forgot site names
Some massively multiplayer online role-playing game called Dragonball

FOREX trading, work, and money: Naira4dollar, freelancer, babypips, forextrading ...
Engineering and school: allaboutcircuits, javatutorials, udemy, codeacademy, sagemath (assigned in class), mathematical,
Philosophy: philosophyquotes, EncyclopediaOfPhilosophy,
Fashion: asos, topman, ...

Mainstream media: Punch, Vanguard, Sun (all confusing URLs), Aljazeera, 
University/Tween news: CampusHeatHQ
Bible and Church: Bible, Pastor Chris, this church or that...
More downloads, football, and social networks:  flashscore, badoo

This data is important because, well, one wonders what the young ones are up to.  The popular youth-targeted online properties in Nigeria seem to appeal to the about-30 crowd, not so much to the tweens.

Other notes:
These students are quite alike.  Amazing how they use much the same words to describe sites, e.g.
Google: find "anything in the whole world", "if it's not on google, it's not a question."  They're in awe of google.
Skype is not so much a video chat application as a collection of friends to stay in touch with.
Facebook allows you to share different types of things e.g. pics, videos. 
Wikipedia is useful for "history", or it's "a search engine."
Twitter is for your "thoughts" or "feelings," but sometimes for news and celebrities.
CircuitAtlantic delivers to you in Nigeria.
Jumia and Konga are Nigerian e-commerce sites.
Then they mis-spell Zuckerberg, murder Sergey Brin, and mangle Bezos.

Fewer girls than I thought - 13 of 75 is not even 20%.
The girls don't have as many fashion sites as the boys have football sites.
The students are into their games, cartoons, and animateds.
Hmm, they're not getting enough homework obviously :)

They have freelancer but not jobberman?  So gigs over jobs?
They're on tooXclusive more than notjustOK? 
This is not the bellanaija crowd, leave that to the staff. 
I'd never even heard of naruto.  Or circuitatlantic.   Never heard of tubidy or udemy. 

Oh OK, which of them is Naruto then?
I consider myself an expert on Naija web habits, but live and learn, I guess.
BTW, some of the kids are watching me online.  Hi. 

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t said...

For the more technical things I've learned from this class: check out my maths blog at

In the coming weeks, I'll summarize some of our results on the games minesweeper and X 'n' O.

t said...

Stats on NotJustOK and TooXClusive (from bear this out
click here for picture
The latter is more popular with the younger (university age) set. And I am most familiar with the coolest (25-34) set. I also think that set is more into Naija this Naija that than the younger ones who are less into voting, #occupy and such; less into using social media for national politics.

t said...

Sorry, I still haven't blogged the X-and-O (tic-tac-toe) and Minesweeper sheets at X Bubbler.

Also on the backlog, the kids' incredible comments about Mobile Phones. Well, I might as well state it here - you know how the development community sees cell phones as the key to bringing Africa into the digital age (noting that cell phones have been adopted even to the most remote village, even by the least literate, while the project of laying fiber for internet access is still just a work-in-progress, available mostly in the largest urban centers;
and too somehow, the masses just like their phones which can be very cheap, easy to use, better than full-blown computers like laptops, which cost 20x more than the cheapest phone, out of their reach...)

After that long preface,
well, let's state it.

Many of my kids, more than 10%, in writing about mobile applications, said the converse: without mobile apps, the cell phone is useless. Apps give you something to do on/with your phone. To them it's so obvious :)

They take the phone as a starting point or given, and the internet and apps are the utilities.
Different from what was in their recommended reading (McKinsey, World Bank, etc reports on digital Africa) which take the internet as the base object, and the cell/mobile as the (improved) conduit.

It's a good thing they don't read, I guess. They are the Africans, the targets of the mobile apps, so their reference frame is superior.

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