Harriet Anena, Lulu Jemimah and Bernard Ewalu Olupot are the three panelists representing the new age writers who interact with the digital world more regularly than their predecessors.
Harriet Anena is an award winning poet; Lulu Jemimah is a journalist who hit internet fame when she married herself; and Bernard, also known as the Talkative Rocker, is a digital marketer. Moderated by Gawaya Tegulle, the three of them delved into the importance of maintaining a healthy balance in their interaction with social media.
Although it has its benefits, the self-imposed need to seek quick and easy validation from the digital world can easily draw a writer away from their focus, distorting his or her true identity as a writer first. All three admit to taking necessary health breaks, sometimes for months, away from the digital engagement.
Giving credit where it is due, however, the financial potential of the medium is recognized. Lulu managed to raise tuition for her Masters in Creative writing course at Oxford University because her story went viral; Harriet, a self-published poet uses the internet to sell her poetry collection-‘A Nation in Labour’ published in 2015 and advertise her events; and Bernard earns all his keep advertising products and services for clients.
They cautioned fellow millennials to practice restraint in their use of social media and also to take their time to develop their craft before they can expect to become overnight successes. Patience and hard work are still requisite to succeed as a writer despite having all the tools of the new millennium at one’s finger tips.