Obasanjo’s Internet – lanaire aderemi

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Did you know that there are approximately 4.66 billion active Internet users worldwide? Can you imagine all the different ways in which we all use the internet? Obasanjo’s Internet is our interview series where we speak to some of our Internet favorites on how they relate to the Internet and what it means to them and their work. This week, Poet and Playwright, lanaire aderemi, talks to us about how she uses Obasanjo’s Internet

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?

The first thing I do is pray and then I journal. 

How do you use the internet for work or pleasure?

I use it for both. So in terms of work, I use it to post about the work I do, and in terms of pleasure, I watch lots of funny videos. I also have a secret Instagram so I express the parts of myself that I can’t post on my main page and that’s often the funny side of me. I also use it as a diary. My real Instagram account is mainly for work and at times pleasure. 

What moment or episode in your life would you say captured the essence of the internet?

There’s been many moments, I think, but End SARS  for certain because for me, it really just showed the power of unity and how Twitter can be effective for mobilization, organizing people for resistance, and expressing solidarity. Also, I would say I really like Layi Wasabi. Whether he’s aware of it or not, his videos have really impacted the way I speak. His videos in general really bring people together and they make us laugh and they found a way to sort of influence people’s speech. I see people refer to certain words that he uses and make references to his videos offline as well as online. 

Also the Women’s Movement. I did a dissertation on how Twitter was effective for feminist organizing and mobilization. When I think about key movements like #ChurchMeToo, #ArewaMeToo, and Sex For Grades, these hashtags/movements that were born from Twitter have been very impactful, not just online but also offline. They made me more aware of the importance of the Internet in organization mobilization and also in storytelling as well.

Your favourite social media platform and why? 

Twitter because I think the algorithm is so sensitive. I’ve noticed that let’s say I’ve been liking a lot of posts to do with film, for some reason, the algorithm just pushes a lot of tweets related to film, funding, and screenings. Twitter also just feels like a diary for me. I can post something like a link to a favorite film or even how I feel and I quite like the fact that maybe nobody will engage it. It feels like I’m talking to myself which I really like because with Instagram I have to come prepared, I have to check my typos, I have to package myself really well. Whereas on Twitter I can just express myself without overthinking.

What was the last meme you saved?

Do you remember the first time something you posted went viral? What was it? How did it make you feel?

It was a TikTok video I made about my name. So my name Oluwalanaire means God has created a path of success. It was like an introduction to TikTok. I was like, “Hey, my name is Lanaire and I’m just creating this TikTok to share my work with people.” I think it got maybe 15,000 and something plays. It was my first TikTok video so I was so shook but it made me feel very happy because basically on TikTok you can’t have links in your bio unless you have up to 1000 followers, at least at the time, so my aim was to get 1000 followers as quickly as possible before my EP dropped.  I didn’t think people would respond to it that well and a lot of the comments were saying things like, “oh, your name is so beautiful,” “I’ve never heard this name before,” then people started sharing the meanings of their own names in the comments. It sort of felt like we were co-creating our own naming ceremony. I felt good because the goal was achieved even beyond my expectations. 

I also weirdly felt nervous because I like the work to go viral but I don’t like so much attention on me as a person so it was a bit uncomfortable. I remember I went for an event and someone recognized me from TikTok and that has never happened before. They say, “oh, I saw your performance here,” “I saw your work there” but never like, “Oh, you’re from TikTok.”  I was like, wait, what? It’s too much! I feel like I’m being perceived, like I’m being watched, surveillance, and all of those things. Yeah, it was also a little bit uncomfortable but because it was different. 


What’s the most outrage you have ever generated over something you posted? How did you react to it?

I’ve never posted anything outrageous. I’m very careful with what I post. Anything outrageous will go on my finsta. I know I was the most chaotic in those days when everybody was angry – for right reasons anyway, but I don’t think I’ve ever posted anything outrageous. I really mind my business on Twitter and anything crazy, I’ll just tell my friends.

What rules do you live by on the internet?

If you will feel uncomfortable if this thing is on a billboard, then don’t post it. If I feel like, let’s say, a tweet is on a billboard and I will literally be so cringed by it, or I would feel ashamed, really weird about it, I just think that I shouldn’t put it. Maybe it’s for my diary.

Another thing I live by is there is no such thing as being cringe. A lot of our experiences with the internet are often very ephemeral. We scroll and we forget. I remember trying to grow my TikTok, I was really worried about being cringe because TikTok actually rewards deep vulnerability, but it’s also sort of cringe at times.

And I remember I watched a podcast by Abiola (Abxola) and she was talking about how there’s no such thing as being cringe because you’re just expressing yourself. And that really helped me be a bit more fearless with TikTok because at the time I had never used TikTok. I just started using TikTok a year ago so I was very nervous about being very real. 

And then another one would be to shoot your shot – in the business sense. The internet has been amazing for me in terms of opportunities just because I posted my work. I remember when Odunsi announced he was having a show in London in 2019 and I don’t know, maybe it was just that more audacious side of me. I DMed him saying “Hey, I’m a poet, I would love to open for you if possible” and he gave me his manager’s number. I messaged the manager who said they’ll think about it and then eventually said yes. I opened for him. The internet is so powerful because I would never have thought that an artist I really admired – I loved his album Rare –  would say yes to me opening for him. The fact that he said yes really meant a lot to my 18 year old self who just really wanted to share her work. So I’m always a big believer in shooting your shots – business shots on social media.

What is your guiltiest online pleasure?

Oh, I screenshot and save a lot of fits inspiration. So I kind of like to think of Instagram as Stardoll where in those days, all those games, you had your closets for your dolls. So I save a lot of people that I think dress really well. I have so many folders of fits and maybe even too many. I also have folders of events ideas. I have a folder of people I want to work with. I kind of do a lot of research on what I want for myself and I put them in my Instagram folder.

Would you say you have an online persona?

I think maybe to an extent, I would say that I definitely tweet more than I speak in person. I remember someone once said to me that they were very surprised I was a bit more reserved in person. When I’m in group settings, I would tend to not be the first to speak. I like to listen. I used to tweet a lot when I was younger, probably like 20 tweets in a day. Anything I feel, I’ll just tweet it. And I really learned the importance of boundaries in terms of keeping things private and some things that can be shared publicly. But yeah, I think that’s my persona. But I’d say my online persona is very similar to me, I’d say the same thing but I just talk less in person. 

What’s your favourite emoji and why?

I like the double pink heart. I just think it’s so wholesome. It just feels like “Aww” and I think you can send it to your friends, your family, someone you like, someone you love. The red is a bit too intense for me but pink is like oh cute!

Are you particular about your feed?

My Instagram feed, I am. I like the colors of each row to be similar and I will archive a post if there’s no consistency in colors or themes. I’m very particular but at the same time I won’t say it’s extremely curated because I often have projects that just require immediate posting and I can’t always control the colors or, you know, the themes. So what I try to do is after the project is done, I might archive a post or if it’s a reel, I just put it on my reels tab instead of my profile. With my Twitter, no. I’m so chaotic. I just tweet whatever I want. Although I don’t really like to retweet things on Twitter. I like my Twitter to feel like a diary where I can just read all my posts. That’s the way I kind of approach my social media.

With TikTok, I don’t curate anything. I just post and then I delete the app. 

YouTube or TikTok? Which do you prefer and why?

I prefer YouTube because I think the algorithm is very sensitive and when I speak about something, it pops up on my YouTube. I feel like it’s the best listener of all the apps for me. I also think that I’ve found so many gems there. Whether it’s interviews with people I admire or music that I love, I’ve really found some great gems there.

And I think because YouTube’s videos are in long form, for me it means that it’s less addictive. I don’t like anything that is addictive in nature. I feel like TikTok is very addictive because it’s short, you can just scroll and scroll and scroll whereas with YouTube, I feel like I’m about to watch a movie so I would often not watch it for too long. I like the fact that I don’t endlessly scroll on it. although they’ve put Shorts now, which sometimes, you know maybe I scroll for a bit. 

Which Nigerian creator do you think the world needs to see and hear more of?

I’d say Adessy, she does really good videos. Abiola (Abxola), her work is fantastic and I would say Mazino Malaka, I think she makes really good content. I always send her videos to people. 

Who is the coolest person you follow and the coolest person who follows you?

I think the coolest person I follow would probably be Fisayo Longe. I really love her style. I love her, the way she thinks about business and I like that she is very confident. The coolest person that follows me, I’d say this artist that follows me, Keiyaa. I’d been a fan of her work and then I performed at a poetry event in London. I had no idea she was even in the audience and then a few hours later, I see a follow from her. I was surprised because she was someone that I’d been listening to – courtesy of YouTube’s algorithm funny enough – because her NPR was suggested for a while. So that made me very pleased that she loved my work.

What is your favourite Nigerian podcast?

I Said What I Said, Submaroach, With An S and You Can Rest Here. 

Have you ever hooked up with someone you met online? Did you regret it?

Eh. I’ve been on a date with somebody that I met online. Did I regret it? No, it was a lovely experience. Funny enough, I’ve met up with a lot of people from Twitter. Some of my closest friends are from Twitter. So I didn’t regret any. They’ve been wonderful.  A lot of my friends, maybe, like, 70% of my friends are from Twitter. From, as far back as 2009, 2010. Twitter is the app. It really allowed me to have community. I formed a lot of friendships on Twitter. But, yeah, I haven’t regretted anything. 

5 people you’d love to see answer these questions 

Abiola, SolaRhymes, Seunfunmi Tinubu, Yinka Bernie and Temidayo Sanusi. 

lanaire aderemi productions (lap) is thrilled to announce its world premiere of  ‘record found here’, a film about the Egba Women’s Revolt. Find more details about the film here.

Read previous Obasanjo’s Internet entries here.