Did you know that there are approximately 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide? This makes the internet, one of the greatest tools and catalysts for the advancement of humanity. Our new column, Obasanjo’s Internet documents the internet habits and methods of some of our favourite creators and thinkers. Today, we talk with Ebuka Mordi, a portrait and fashion photographer based in Abuja, on how he leverages Obasanjo’s internet to do what he does.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I pray. I actually pray. I fix up a cup of tea and stretch for a bit, then I proceed with whatever comes my way. I try to keep my phone where I don’t have access to it immediately when I wake up.
How do you use the internet: for work or pleasure?
It’s a mix of both. I’ve sort of just channeled my whole creative process into whatever use. It’s mostly for pleasure but while going through the internet for that purpose I’m also doing work in the sense that I’m getting motivated. I’ve filtered my feed in most platforms to include creativity. So I’m not watching the regular comedy or blunt arguments and gists, it’s more of a creative quote that inspires, or new tech.
What moment or episode in your life would you say captured the essence of the internet?
I think that moment was 2020. That’s when the internet became THE internet. Before, it was just this thing that existed. In 2020 we all saw the importance of a presence on the internet can do to your career, finances, education, and all of that. I think 2020 was that point where I found myself giving out more to the community: I started online classes, I started inspiring other photographers through those classes, I started gaining inspiration and connecting more with an international audience through the internet.
Your favourite social media platform and why?
TikTok, and it’s not because of work. I have found a coping mechanism in TikTok. While there’s a balance which I’m able to detect and put out there, there’s the fact that no matter what mood I’m in, there’s always this particular person that can make me laugh with the videos. Going on there and blowing off steam, getting to know what’s trending, and generally educating myself. It has actually taught me a lot and I don’t think it’s a complete waste of time.
What was the last meme you saved?
I don’t save memes. I’m not that kind of person. I live in the moment, laugh and move on.
Do you remember the first time something you posted went viral? What was it? How did it make you feel?
I had a tweet and also a TikTok. The tweet was about my father. I did a little photoshoot edit on him and it went viral. It made me feel unsafe if I’m being honest. The excitement wasn’t as much as the feeling of being unsafe because I had my dad’s face out there. It was Twitter and you know how Twitter is with opinions and it was my dad’s face out there. Many people had very good things to say about him because they’d experienced him one on one but I felt unsafe because I now had people who know my dad watching and I don’t really feel good about it. But TikTok on the other hand was just this simple video I made in 2020 as well, and I just put it out there and I slept off and woke up and it had blown up. I was like “wow.” Because of that one video, the rest of the page blew up.
What’s the most outrage you have ever generated over something you posted? How did you react to it?
There was this ENDSARS post I did, where I manipulated my friend holding his head. There was a couple of people that didn’t see that I’d written ENDSARS on the post and they were like “Write ENDSARS on the post. Write ENDSARS on the post.” And then people were vexing with them about that not being the focus and everything. But that was basically it. I didn’t really get any bad reviews from the post, it was just that little thing of some people saying “write ENDSARS.”
What rules do you live by on the internet?
You know this new platforms give you an option to curate your feed immediately you log in for the first time and I take it seriously. I actually settle down and curate what I want to be seeing and if it’s a platform that I think “oh yes comedy might be good sometimes” I also tap on that. That’s the only thing at the moment that I obey. The remaining principles I wouldn’t mention because I don’t live by them yet and I don’t want to be a hypocrite. That the major thing, I try to curate my feed in a way that the only things I see are things that inspire and I think that’s all that matters because no matter how long I stay on the internet you can be rest assured that whatever I’m seeing—even if it’s 5 hours I’m staying—all I’m scrolling past are things that inspire.
What is your guiltiest online pleasure?
TikTok. The comedy I watch is really high IQ jokes. I just have this filtered feed that includes high IQ jokes, moments most people wouldn’t find funny but I find funny, gaming content and Reddit posts. Dad jokes as well. I had this point in my life that I’m not too proud of when I was known for dad jokes.
Would you say you have an online persona?
No. I think it’s all me. I don’t try to put up a front that I’m not, on social media. Most times I’m just doing my thing. Recently, I’ve started getting more comfortable with putting my face out there regardless of how I feel about the video or how cringe it is to hear my voice or see myself do some things. And I feel like people who get to know me face to face would enjoy the experience more. There’s no online persona. There’s no difference. It’s just the same plain old Ebuka.
What’s your favourite emoji and why?
❤️. I know it may sound cliche but my reason for that is because I don’t like chatting and in the past I’ve had little spills with people I’m close to who think I’m in a mood when I’m replying something or I think are in a mood when that replying something and I’m like “what’d make a difference is if you add a red heart to the end of your sentence and I would know you’re in a good place mentally.” So let’s say you’re saying “fine let’s talk later,” rather that just leaving it at a full stop, you can just add a red heart and I instantly know that you’re not in a mood. The red heart calms things down and I feel like if a lot more people did that, it’d go a long way.
Are you particular about your feed?
I used to be particular about my feed but recently I know that everything I put out is either inspirational or for a purpose because people are watching so why hide all the good stuff because I’m cringing at them or because I don’t think it goes into my feed. So I’m just putting out content and trying to be more intentional about editing so I don’t regret putting something out there. I was going through posts I’d archived last week and I saw some good posts and I was like “Ebuka why?” Now I feel different about those posts so I unarchived them.
Youtube or TikTok? Which do you prefer and why?
I can’t compare YouTube shorts to TikTok. Never. The main argument for me would be between the main YouTube platform and TikTok. I’ll give YouTube respect where it’s due because I learnt a lot from YouTube and made friends there, but I’m more on TikTok these days. That thing about the short attention span and how people stick to one pattern, it works. If every creator can learn how to give short content, it’d do extremely well. That’s why I’d give TikTok more credit at this moment.
Which Nigerian creator do you think the world needs to see and hear more of?
Wisdom Mudasiru (I didn’t pay him to say this). I’m serious. You’re doing outstanding stuff. You’re doing great.
Who is the coolest person you follow and the coolest person who follows you?
The coolest people I follow are Racheal and Daniel from Mango Street and they’re the coolest people who follow me as well. Then we have Karl Shakur; he’s a Nigerian photographer but he hasn’t been in Nigeria for a while.
What is your favourite Nigerian podcast?
I don’t have one. I really like Rally Caps by Eric Floberg and Steven Schultz. It’s super natural. I like the voices, humour, jokes and their personalities.
Have you ever hooked up with someone you met online?
Not really, no.
5 people you’d love to see answer these questions
I’d like to see Salem King, Chef Fregz, Tayo Aina, Bokehub, and ArtByCyra.