Is post-Japa content show-off or just another way of making money?

Dennis Da-ala Mirilla
Is post-Japa content show-off or just another way of making money?

It begins with the countdown video, a mini-documentary capturing touchstone moments in the run-up to their migration to the UK, the US, Canada or anywhere that will house weary Nigerians looking for greener pastures these days.

Then a barrage of content on social media around life as an immigrant or how you too can Japa follows.

Nigerians fleeing the country is not a new phenomenon. But in recent years, it has divulged into a movement. And so, as these Nigerians settle into their new life in the foreign land, an appetite for post-Japa content on what life is now like for them has also ballooned.

The countdown video has now become a rite of passage for the Japa influencers, launching their careers initially as micro-influencers with less than 20,000 followers. After they posted their countdown videos on their social media pages, multiple influencers that Technext spoke to said that they saw their social media engagement shoot up drastically, even when they did the barest minimum to push it on the feed.

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After Naomi Crystal, who used to be a host on Glitch Africa’s hit podcast, Frankly Speaking, Japa-ed a few weeks ago and posted her countdown videos, her followers across Instagram and TikTok have gone up. In only a few days, she has seen over 10,000 new followers across both platforms where she shared the video. Although on Instagram, she only shared the video on her stories.

“Definitely my engagements have gone up, even though I post more on my stories since I got here,” she said. “The views on my stories are way more than what they used to be.”

She says that she has experienced this growth even though she had been struggling with engagement on TikTok and her countdown video wasn’t one of the videos that went viral.

“Even on my TikTok, my japa content didn’t struggle. They didn’t go viral, but they did ok,” she said.

In the age of doom scrolling, where a 2019 research revealed that 86 per cent of young people want to be social media influencers, the barrier to entry into the space has continued to drop.

From social media influencers needing a photographer, stylist, video editor, personal shopper. and more in the early days of Instagram; young people looking to launch careers as influencers today only need a high-end camera phone and ring lights to make videos and pictures to produce content for social media.

The “reset videos,” where influencers show a collage of clips from their days cleaning their homes, hitting the gym, and making breakfast, have become an instant hit. And so when they Japa, it seems like the most lucrative side hustle they can jump on.

Post-Japa content and increasing influencers’ appeal to brands

Technext spoke to some influencers who shared their Japa story with their followers. A significant number of them claim that these new engagements, and in some cases newfound fame, have better positioned them to attract brands that could partner with them.

Yinka Owate, who Japa-ed late last year, said that agencies that had left her have returned, paying her to promote songs for their clients.

Naomi, who is still a micro-influencer getting gigs irregularly, said that the ball lies in her court; how much content she can put out regularly.

“I just need to actively get back on creating more content and I know it’s definitely going to attract brands,” she said.

But the barrage of Japa content on social media hasn’t been without criticism. On one side are people who argue that the content is just too much. On the other hand, are people who say that these influencers are perpetuating nothing but a kind of delusion of grandeur, deliberately showing only the pleasant side of their experience in foreign lands, whereas, in reality, life as an immigrant can be difficult.

Kelly Igho, who is based in the US and hosts the podcast igowithIGHO, where he speaks with international students on life as an immigrant, says that the conversation lacks nuance.

“It depends on the content being put out there, I for one do not believe in showing off or making it seem that all is rosy or well. It takes time for one to get to that place where the money starts coming,” he said.

Kelly Igho

But he adds the caveat that even though it can be hard being an immigrant because institutions work, it’s still better than where one is coming from.

“Don’t get me wrong, being here is way better than home, simply because there are systems here that work and if you work hard you’d earn well. It doesn’t mean that everything you see on social media is worth believing,” he added.

For the narrative that Japa content has become ubiquitous on the internet, Igho said that it depends on the type of content in question.

“I care about helping people get their lives together and create a better future for themselves, their families and communities.”

“Focus on the content that will better your lives and leave those that would make you believe all is well every single time. There are no dollars on the streets of America. You must work to survive and sustain yourself. Look on the bright side of things,” he added.

Naomi, the Frankly Speaking co-host, said that the content pool is wide enough to contain anyone with quality content.

Is post-Japa content show-off or just another way of making money?

Read also: Japa: 4 not-so-popular countries with exciting prospects for tech bros

“There’s no such thing as too much when you are unique. People are always willing to consume content as long as it’s good and honestly, no 2 creators can deliver one piece of content the same way. And we all have our audience.

A lot of people are Japa-ing now and all have their personal experiences. It’s not bad to share. It’s fun as a matter of fact.”

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