Oreoluwa and I shared the same room as co-volunteers at last year’s Ake Arts and Book Festival in Lagos. It was so easy to be friends with her afterwards and after following each other on social media, she became one of my favourite people to look forward to on Twitter. She uses her social media especially Twitter to discuss anything and everything she strongly believes in including football, women’s rights and why shawarma is nothing without sausages.

In this week’s newsletter, I had the privilege of talking with her and we discussed a few interesting things about her, her hobbies, why she thinks writers love to use Twitter and the new wave of influencers.

Please tell us your name, your twitter handle and what you do currently?

Hi! I’m Oreoluwa Olukorode, @olukorodeore on twitter. I’m a medical student at the University of Ilorin. 

When did you join twitter and when exactly would you say Twitter became an interesting part of your social media journey?

I was one of those who joined twitter when it was first created but left to join the Instagram bandwagon ha-ha. What prompted me to re-join in 2018 –the first week of June– was being a member of the planning committee of a national program. The whole process of publicizing the event made twitter interesting as soon as I re-joined. 

As a writer, would you say Twitter has deconstructed the way writers can connect to their readers using 240 characters?

Oh yes. Although there’s an option of composing your sentences into threads, in most cases, people do not read past the first tweet –except it is a topic they are passionate about. I think writers could employ the usage of catchy sentences just to pique the interest of readers.

What’s the craziest thing you’d say you have ever tweeted?

Ha-ha, let’s see…

I can vividly remember one time I answered a question thread, I think last month or thereabout. I introduced myself in a very dramatic way and people were like “yasss girl”, “give Ore back her phone”. I had to answer questions on orgasms and G-strings too. My followers probably thought I was hacked.

Has your use of twitter increased since the quarantine began?

I’ve not been consistent. On some days I’m on twitter for like thirty straight minutes, on others I don’t even open the app for twenty-four hours. It all depends on my to-do list and mood.

What kinds of tweets/topics get you more engagements from your followers?

Football. Most of my followers are football aficionados so it is one big family there. 

I get engagements on advocacy tweets too. There’s a lot going on out there and I love how we all unite to lend our voices to different causes. 

What are your thoughts on the recent wave of “content creators” on twitter?

The influencers? I don’t think it is easy to create content for a living. I respect their hustle. However, I still do not understand why some decide to be intentionally obtuse on some issues. I know they can do better, they should.

I really admire how you use your twitter to discuss silly topics like why sausages are important in Sharwama and serious topics like women’s rights, rape culture. How do you find the balance and how do you connect with the right audience?

Phew, I’ve never given this a thought. My online personality is just a reflection of my approach to life. I take life seriously but I never forget to have fun whilst doing all that I do. Finding a balance is easier when you just do you with an open mind. 

We spent some time together last year at Ake festival so I noticed how much you loved sports, especially football. When did you pick up an interest in football? 

The look on your face when you saw me watching football in the room was priceless. Growing up with boys, playing and watching football was a norm; from saving money to buy Health4 or any cheap “felele” to joining an actual football team. 

I became deliberate about football in 2017.  

Who’s your favourite player and what football club do you belong to?

My favourite footballer is the great Lionel Messi. 

I support the best football club in the world; Manchester United. My favourite player at United presently is Scott McTominay.

Why do you think the new generations of writers love twitter so much?

Generally, social media is a great platform to promote your work. For new-gen writers, Twitter is an ocean of ideas, where you can connect with readers, learn from other writers, and get legitimate information on communal issues. Having a platform like Twitter is a plus for writers.

Do you think Nigerian Twitter has been an effective tool to educate our generation especially about important social and political issues?

Oh yes. Earlier today, I was reading through some tweets about cishet women and feminism as a whole. I had to do some unlearning and even search for some keywords just to better my understanding. The Nigerian twitter space is blessed with ridiculously smart people, I particularly love how young people strike intellectually stimulating conversations and hold political leaders accountable. 

I learn something new every day on that app and I’m sure a lot of people do too.

Personally, I sort of zone out of Nigerian twitter to black twitter sometimes just to get away from the drama, what do you think of the toxic trends and bant that tweeps jump on for relevance?

What surprises me about Nigerian twitter is how some tweeps just jump on any trending issue for relevance, discharging their two cents “okoto” takes recklessly. Quite bemusing.

I enjoy the banter a lot, and where I draw the line is involving myself in toxic trends.

Who’s your favourite person on Twitter and why?

It is impossible to have one favourite person on that app o. There’s football twitter, medical twitter, tech twitter, literature twitter, advocacy twitter and so on. 

The people I follow make my twitter experience a solid ten and I can’t list them all.

Can we talk a little about the universal language of pain for women who look like us; black women? And how much of humanity is stripped off from us? Nigerian women are raped and murdered in Nigeria and the rate is rising in 2020. How do you feel about that and what do you think we can do to end this injustice?

These past few weeks have been hellish for black people especially black women. 

We are honestly angry and tired of how unsafe it is to just exist. To stop the violence against women and put an end to this injustice, the government needs to create laws that protect women from violence, including rape, domestic abuse, mutilation, trafficking and femicide. I love the stellar step being taken by NGOs to pass the sexual harassment bill. There should be severe punishment for rapists and abusers.

Also, we need to educate and re-orientate young boys and men in all forms of sexual harassment. I’ve seen grown men blame women for looking “rapeable”. 

We all have a role to play in ensuring the safety of women and my hope is that the government takes immediate action.

What are your plans for the next two months?

I plan to survive. These are difficult times, and remaining sane is my utmost priority. I’m excited for July –my birth month, and I hope to return back to school before August. I have some secondary plans still in the works, so, fingers crossed. 

Follow Oreoluwa on Twitter @olukorodeore and read the article she wrote on Zikoko for Menstrual Hygiene Day right here!

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Thanks for joining us this week, this was fun and enlightening! See you next Sunday!

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