By Tony Ogaga
Did you graduate from the university with a Third Class and feeling that life has come to an end? if that is the case with you then listen to this. Blogger, Stella Dimoko-Korkus made a Third Class from the University of Benin where she studied Linguistics & African Languages. However, today, she is onto of her game as her blog, SDK, has been rated by Forbes among the Top 100 blogs in Africa. However, her journey to the top began as a journalist at Encomium Magazine and Hints Magazine where she cut her teeth before branching into blogging. In this chat with TS Weekend, the happily married mother opens up on her career, growing up and how blogging found her.
How time flies. Those days in school at UNIBEN, if anyone had told me I would be interviewing you someday as a journalist, I probably wouldn’t have believed it. Tell us about life as a blogger?
Yes I remember our school days and class times. Greatest UNIBEN! If I was told you would ever interview me I would have laughed my head off! I also share in your success story, Tony, you may not be a loud name but I am proud of who you have become in your field of work. You were one of the hot heads book wise we had back then and you graduated with good grades. I always like to talk about my third class degree because I know a lot of people out there are ashamed and suicidal because they left the University with same grade like I did. Permit me to tell them that life goes on. Upgrade your degree and make the best out of it. Lots of you don’t even need to use their degrees because of the situation in the country. Become your own Boss, yes, life as a blogger is hectic and more so because I have to combine it with the task of being a mother. I tell you that it is not easy but I get by because I plan my day. I also don’t do late night blogging because I have to attend to the home and do other stuff and also get-off online! That is my balance.
Where you born with a silver spoon?
Growing up wasn’t easy. I was not born with a silver spoon but things were pretty okay for a while. I have beautiful memories of my childhood. I relive them every now and then and break out in smiles.
Was it your dream to be a journalist or did you stumble unto it accidentally?
I was always a gossip, always poke-nosed and always helped circulate gist faster than CNN whilst growing up. I also used to write a lot but I never dreamed of being a Journalist. I wanted to be lawyer or doctor but like they say ‘man proposes and God disposes.’ Did I stumble into writing? That is exactly what happened. I cut my teeth at Hints Magazine and moved to Encomium before I moved on to blogging.
Your platform is rated among the top 100 in Africa. Did you believe you could be this big someday?
When you say big, what does that mean? Successful? I didn’t think about failing when I started out. I always have positive thoughts about being better than anybody else so you could say even though I never planned to go into blogging, once I did, all I wanted to be was not number one but the best; a site you would come to and get hooked, a site you and I can relate and interact on. Uche Pedro of Bellanaija encouraged me to go into bogging and kept pushing until I gave in. I am very sure she must be proud of me (laughter).
Today, a lot of Nigerian youths look up to you because of your success as a blogger. Could you share your five tips to success in blogging?
Don’t look back, study what others are doing and find your G spot. Don’t feel threatened by someone else’ high traffic. Be creative, Challenge yourself and keep pushing until you hit where you can read your own story and be like wow; be competitive.
Was there any point you felt like quitting due to challenges and pressure. And if so, what was your turning point?
When I started blogging I barely had any comments; everything was just topsy-turvy but I never felt like quitting because I knew I would catch up. I have this attitude which is never give up no matter how sweaty and anxious you become.
Have you made money from blogging?
I have over 20 awards and I am very grateful for this. Have I made money from blogging? Let us just say that blogging has been very good to me. I always say that becoming a journalist was awesome and one of the best decisions I ever made but blogging helped me fulfil all the dreams I could reach as a print journalist. A journalist’s reward is in heaven but a bloggers own is here on earth (laughter)..
How do you feel when people attack you on social media for your stories?
How I feel? Honestly? I feel nothing. However, I try to find out why I am being attacked and try to apologise or make corrections. I used to be very ruthless with the way I did my stories but I am all grown-up and don’t want to hurt any one. I just want to deliver news that is educative, entertaining and full of gossip without really hurting anyone. Sometimes it is futile and sometimes not. Being called out for stories I write is okay. It kinda provides a check and balance on me.
Do you think social media should be regulated? If not, what is the way forward against the backdrop of fake news and libel?
Regulating social media would amount to gagging the public and taking away their right to express freely. We have a lot of ‘emergency blogs’ started by people who are not journalists but want to make money. So they come online and post whatever they hear in beer parlours and that is tragic. My take is that people should be more sensitive to the kind of things they read and believe.
The entertainment industry is replete with tales of marital breakups. As a woman, what is your take on domestic abuse and at what point should a victim seek help?
I hate physical altercation. I am not referring to just the women being abused but I am also referring to men being victims because men also suffer domestic violence. A situation that involves emotional or financial abuse might still be managed but the minutes the first punch or slap lands, you decide if you want to stay and work it out or stay and end up dying or just take a walk. Most abused couples always go back so these days I try to support anyone who comes to me in any way I can but I do not tell them to stay or leave; I just help them find their voice.
What are your dreams?
Everything I am doing now is living my dream. Dreaming is for people who are asleep; I am wide awake and living my dream.