On the occasion of Techzim turning 10, I asked Van Lee Chigwada one of our readers to share where we are getting things wrong. I asked Van Lee specifically because he is one of our chief critics but I have always noticed that he criticises from the position of having a high expectation of us and love for our brand which we appreciate quite much. I have learnt so much from what he has wrote below. Enjoy
Tinashe T. Nyahasha
By Van Lee Chigwada
Techzim has been a part of my daily life for 6 years now and I open their newsfeed several times a day. I have been an open critic of some of the articles published on the platform in recent years. In celebration of their 10th anniversary, Techzim reached out to me to pen an article on the “disappointing aspects of Techzim.” I fully understand that they cater for not just the tech savvy populace but try to have a bit of everything for everyone and kept this in mind while putting together this article.
This is in their name, we come to Techzim for the tech news but we seem to get less and less of that and more of everything else. Being a journalist means you follow the news, hunt it down and bring it to your readers. A recent missed opportunity is the just completed Youth Connect Zimbabwe tour. Youth Connect had a bus going around Zimbabwe with techpreneurs presenting their innovations and 10 people from each Zimbabwean province won US$5,000. Three finalists were then chosen and will be heading to Kigali to represent Zimbabwe. There were some great innovations like the head-motion-controlled wheelchair and roofing tiles made from plastic and glass waste.
We got to see none of this on Techzim, but instead we get to read about how Kirsty Coventry found out she was going to be a minister on Television, republishes of articles that we have seen 3 hours ago on other websites and how Jeff Bezos’ Wikipedia page has the word thief in it. Still on the Kirsty Coventry article, it was just 3 paragraphs long (short) and something I think was a Twitter quote. Let us not forget that she has been a minister for nearly a year now, how are these three paragraphs tech news?
This is perhaps one of the biggest let-downs about Techzim. There is nothing about tech related jobs. There are a lot of job offers that get little coverage in Zimbabwe. Techzim should partner up with other tech companies and when a company wants to recruit, Techzim should get to be one of the first to put up these jobs on their platform. The jobs should be its own section, not come in as articles that end up being harder to find later on.
I also see a lot of Visa sponsored jobs from Europe and Asia, please also round these up and maybe publish them once a week? This would help a lot of young graduates coming out of Zimbabwe’s universities. We can even have this as a subscription service and even though I am broke and looking for a job, I will definitely pay a few bucks a month to stay in the loop. Everybody wins.
I use several Zimbo made mobile apps and regularly visit local websites. Most of them I have never seen on Techzim but discovered accidentally online or heard about from a friend. Please do a round-up of home-brewed websites and apps and give us the pros and cons of each not just a plain list with names and links. We can have a regular round-up of each of these every week ranging from news, to banking, utilities and more.
The marketplace is where Techzim can really shine and become the who-is-who for all things tech in Zimbabwe. Instead of just selling us a few gadgets and having a list of developers elsewhere, this should be a major feature of the platform. At some point we expected a fully-fledged tech-hub center where one can go to find a gadget they want without the fear of getting scammed or fleeced. We’d love to be able to find a tech-shop to repair our expensive gadgets without having to worry about parts getting swapped out. The hub can even have an affiliate programme with coupon codes that also keep Techzim in on the deal and everyone wins.
One of the burdens Techzim needs to bear is promote the responsible use of technology. Sometime this year I saw a “how to create fake messages using WhatsApp” guide. There is an upside in that we are being told fake WhatsApp messages can be created, that could have gone in the news section. The how-tos should be useful tips and tricks on how we can best leverage our gadgets to make our lives easier. For example, virtually no one knows that they can type their 80-page college dissertation using Google’s Voice Typing, or track their stolen phones using their IMEI with help from Econet, Telecel and Netone even after the gadgets are stolen and without the IMEI pre-saved anywhere.
These are the useful tech tips and tricks that we need, not how to create a fake chat between Donald Trump and Jacob Zuma.
Happy 10th birthday Techzim and we love you 3,650.
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