That little revolution in a unibody shell, the iPad, is about to save African blogging*.
Feminist theory has it that before a woman could develop an authentic voice as an author, she needed "a room of her own". In much the same way, the only way that the African blogosphere can develop an authentic voice, a voice that reflects the passions of a nation in full, and not the narrow view of a connected elite, is when a young African can engage the space without the steep cost of entry that has historically been.
Up to now, the cost of entry to the mainstream digital conversation has been ruinously high for all but a small segment of our people. But Africa, and Africans, of any stripe, even the ones who made it their home, are a highly oral culture, and an extremely social culture.
Suddenly, technology has provided a golden moment in time... the emergence of the social web amplifies our African love of sharing and over the next generation, devices such as the iPad will allow us to weave these advances into our daily lives at affordable cost.
Devices like the iPad are poised to bring expressive computing to the poor.
A cheap powerful computing device, free of the support nightmares and esoteric user paradigms of the past, is just what Africa needs. It wasn't just that we needed cheaper laptops or software - we had that in netbooks and Ubuntu. We needed something that broke the status quo.
With its all-day battery life, extremely durable build quality and finger-driven interaction, the iPad offers Africans a chance to rapidly engage the digital world.
I don't mean to downplay or ignore the very significant challenges that already exist on our continent, but it is precisely the scope and scale of these challenges, in resource and human terms, that make a tablet solution compelling, I believe.
With an iPad or iPhone today and various competing offerings soon, an African will now enter the full spectrum of the digital conversation. This can only lead to an explosion of localised content and expression.
*What's this about bologna? The iPad may save the African blogosphere, but its auto-correct tendencies may render our content unintelligible :-)
[25 Oct 2010 13:11]