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Wednesday, 19 May 2010


I assume that is what being on Facebook is called. Eagle eyed readers will have noticed that I recently created a facebook page for Zambian Economist. It can be accessed here or on the left side bar. I had previously resisted creating a facebook page, but I have now "given in" for several reasons.

First, some readers requested that we have a Facebook page because "many Zambians are on facebook more than any other medium". I had no way of proving the validity of this statement, but after checking several Zambian websites with pages, I was convinced that may be this is true. One thing I do know is that it is the most visited site by Zambians in Zambia. I am just not able to verify this across the globe. I should also point out it is not often I receive "suggestions" on how to improve connecting with readers. Usually the queries I get are around "Cho, what is X" or "Cho, this was good" or "Cho, can you send me X". Compliments are good but I value most practical suggestion, apart from those giving donations of course, which I remain eternally grateful for.

Secondly, it provides a good way to "see" readers.  The visual aspect of Facebook is good. For example, it matters to know whether the site is read by grandees  or young graduates.  Or is the readership mainly male or female? Knowing the readership is very important for any blogger principally because it ensures that posts remain relevant. But also because it may provide information that allows one to reach those constituents who don't read the Zambian Economist. So if I found that women don't read this website, I may ask whether that is because the "gender" aspects of Zambia's economic development are not fully explored, etc. Google analytics simply tells me that thousands are reading but it does not provide this visual aspect.

Third, I am always open to new ways of making it easy for readers to access the material. We have many people who follow us on twitter (my personal account and the Zambian Economist account). We have hundreds of readers who subscribe to our email lists and feeds (see left column of website). We also have some readers who pick us up via "google friends". In short, if a new medium is born tomorrow I think it is right that we use that medium provided it carries minimal cost. Not least because by doing so, we signal to those lazy keepers of government websites and government owned websites that there's no need to be Neanderthal when good these things can be done at zero financial cost.

This brings me to my fourth and final point. It has minimal opportunity cost. Being a one person band, I try and not do too many things that runs counter to my other commitments when I am not blogging, and there many of those besides being a husband! But unlike twittering, a facebook page is easy to run. So for those with website/blogs do consider having one. I certainly hope our poorly run political parties will consider that medium as a way of reaching a certain constituency.

Anyway, those are my main reasons, which may or may not be useful. The basic point though is that if you are on facebook, then what are you waiting for? Sign-up to the page!


  1. I was wondering when you were going to leap into the FaceBook waters. I hope this provides another avenue to engage with readers, and if anything will drive traffic here and prompt more dialogue.

  2. Welcome to facebook. We will support you

  3. Thank you very much! Your support is most appreciated!


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