These days, it seems that the internet is available everywhere. Even Nairobi, which is a young city when compared to other global capitals, has thousands of locations that offer free WiFi.
This means that as long as locals and visitors have ample battery power, they can spend hours on a mobile or desktop device and peruse all the wonders the internet has to offer. However, not all internet browsing is created equally.
Whether using websites or downloaded applications, the internet can help someone learn a new skill, connect people who are separated by vast distances, or simply be used to have fun and pass the time.
Now more than ever, it’s possible to use the internet to serve a higher purpose. Nairobi natives and other Kenyans are also at a bit of an advantage when it comes to utilising the internet given their English-speaking abilities. After all, the vast majority of online content is written in English or can be translated into English.
Set Goals & Manage Time
One way to maximise time spent online is to set clear time management goals around browsing, doing research, and even fun activities like gaming. Sure, it’s easy to spend an hour or two taking advantage of sites that offer free casino spins for new users or taking a whack at an online coding game for beginners, but free time management apps like SPACE or Social Fever can remind users that their self-allotted time is up. After all, free spins and coding games will always be there.
Another pro tip is to set a specific goal before connecting to WiFi at all. By using apps that organise important information like emails and messages, users save time. In fact, downloading an app to accomplish this organisation isn’t even necessary.
Websites like Safaricom are common in Kenya, and offer users the option to organize their emails, which makes staying in touch easier than ever. By streamlining information and organising it, less time is wasted searching for an email or message… and users can get back to those fun activities mentioned before.
Just like there’s free WiFi, most of the internet’s greatest sites and services can be used cost free. This means that, unlike the real world, there are countless forms of entertainment that don’t cost a thing. However, recreation doesn’t have to be useless—after all, creativity and entertainment are closely tied together.
One internet habit worth adopting is to get creative. There are few platforms as fun as Pinterest, where users can create ‘pinboards’ by selecting their favorite images and creating a virtual collage.
Pinboards are a great way to start off a creative pursuit online, as the unimaginable number of photos aren’t just pretty pictures. Some are stunning wildlife photography pinboards that include scientific information. Some feature construction projects like treehouses, which also include instructions; and others feature tantalizing shots of food with recipes attached.
The point is, if there’s a general interest, someone has already created a pinboard for it. Anyone can create pinboards that unite their various interests, and anyone can view them. It’s a great platform to share knowledge in a creative way and is also suitable for older generations.
Another great site that encourages creativity is Tumblr. However, new users are encouraged to sign up for Pinterest first, as Tumblr’s website can be difficult to navigate.
Find a Community
While most internet users are familiar with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, few people utilise these communities to their fullest extent. While it may be a good idea to combine the time-monitoring apps like SPACE or Social Fever to prevent time-wasting on social media, building a community on social platforms is a great idea that can yield many results.
For instance, games that are designed for those interested in coding may be a great way to learn a new skill. However, those who are interested in educating themselves will likely have questions, and by joining a Facebook group for beginning coders, a user can ask for advice and even share their own pro tips.
It’s even entirely possible for creativity and community to be combined. After all, a pinboard is a communal page that can be shared and participated with on various levels. By combining a creative pursuit with an open platform, users can gain exposure.
For artists, in particular, this exposure can help users land a job or, at least, make connections in their field of interest.
However, it should be noted here that those involved on social media should always be careful to monitor their privacy settings. Each platform has different rules, which could make a user’s email or other personal information available to the public. This is especially important if taking advantage of Nairobi’s ample public WiFi, as public networks are less secure than private ones.
Build a Skillset
Though video streaming sites like YouTube often require more bandwidth than public WiFi can offer, it’s one of the most visited websites in Kenya, along with Google, Facebook, and DailyNation.
It should be obvious why YouTube is an important website: videos make for great entertainment. However, videos also make for efficient teaching tools, and, if utilized correctly, can help users learn valuable skills.
While it may be too expensive to learn a photo-editing program like Photoshop from an online course, artists and experts often create entire YouTube channels dedicated to teaching the basics of programs like Photoshop.
Additionally, YouTube isn’t the only video streaming service that helps beginners learn a new skill. Khan Academy is a non-profit platform that posts free lectures on various courses, from economics, science, humanities, and even computer programming.
In addition to YouTube and Khan Academy, Skillshare is another great online learning platform that allows users to share their own skills with others through video courses. Those who sign up will have access to video-based courses, though they’ll be expected to pay. This may be more beneficial for more advanced learning projects, as courses can be specified according to interest.