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    How Instagram helped Tobeszn regain his confidence

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    Tobe Ugeh who this year is part of the Meta’s Creators of Tomorrow campaign said that on Instagram he found himself again.

    About ten years ago, before smartphones with keyboards were common and Instagram was just starting in Nigeria, the content on the platform was mostly about aspiring to certain lifestyles – like fashionistas on holiday and guys looking sharp in their outfits.

    But then things changed on the internet.

    Since the COVID-19 years, some new content creators on Instagram have moved away from aspirational content to a blend of making fun dance videos and funny comments about things like dating problems in Lagos.

    Tobe Ugeh, or as netizens know him, Tobeszn has grown his Instagram following to 174k by offering this brand of content. This year, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Threads, spotlighted him for its Creators of Tomorrow campaign.

    It feels so unreal to know that a year ago I was so unsure of if my content was even good enough. Today, I am a Creator of Tomorrow and Meta identifies me as an inspiring content creator and a part of the future of content,” he told Pulse Nigeria recently. “It feels incredibly joyous. I feel thrilled, incredibly venerated, but most importantly incredibly honoured to be chosen amongst so many talented creators across the country,” he added.

    How Instagram helped Tobeszn regain his confidence

    It has been a long journey for Tobe, getting to the point where he shares everything from fashion content to dance videos. Even before content became what it is now, growing up he loved to record himself, documenting his obsession with Disney’s Hannah Montana. “I was 11 when I got my first phone and I remember how all I wanted to do was capture moments. I remember how much I loved that phone, how my siblings would talk about my obsession with acting like I was Hannah Montana,” he said.

    But like many of his peers exploring different interests on social media, he began to struggle with acceptance.

    I wasn’t the coolest kid in school. So when I created my Instagram account some years after getting my first phone, I wanted an alter ego,” he said. “I didn’t want to be myself because I’m not sure I liked myself. I’d never show my face in my early posts — only my outfits. I was too scared that someone would say I was too extra or too much, too scared to be myself,” he added.

    When Tobe first started on Instagram, he didn’t talk. He wasn’t sure if people would like his voice. But when he started posting about fashion, he felt different. On Instagram, he could be someone else; the alter ego he made had followers and was loved by people.

    I always tell people I built my confidence on Instagram. I was such a confident child, but as I grew older, I started losing my confidence. I stopped holding my head up high until I started creating content again,” he said. “I learnt how to be myself all over again on Instagram, I learnt how to be myself all over again on Instagram, how to love myself on Instagram, how to be compassionate, and how to find support in random strangers and build a community in the strangest of places,” he added.

    Like many creators, having a presence on as many social media platforms as possible is important, but Instagram has been specifically useful for Tobe in his journey.

    It’s a visual playground where I express my individuality and connect with my audience. With Instagram, it’s so easy to create, edit and upload,” he said.

    The group of apps owned by Meta, including Facebook and Threads, has also been helpful for him in pursuing new personal connections away from the online community he has built for himself. He met one of his close friends, Hauwa, a creator, while looking for content to move the needle in his community. “The collaboration was borne out of the need to create something new and refreshing and to truly be ourselves. The reception has been mind-blowing, and we see our audience’s feedback. We love it too,” he said of the experience working with Hauwa.

    Despite some of Tobe’s content on Instagram running well above a million views, he still doesn’t see himself as famous. “I’ve never really seen myself as famous. I don’t think it’s about the numbers or anything. I genuinely enjoy being myself, so maybe a part of me has not reconciled with being famous yet,” he said.

    But when compliments roll in from fans and, at times, strangers who resonate with his content, he says it is a feeling that never gets old. “I enjoy getting compliments about people loving my content, how a video I posted changed their day or even made them smile,” he said.

    How Instagram helped Tobeszn regain his confidence
    How Instagram helped Tobeszn regain his confidence

    What secret has carried him thus far on his content-creation journey? How does he stay consistent while managing the volume that being a full-time content creator demands and also maintaining the quality of content and his brand? “By staying authentic,” he said. “There is so much power in originality, consistency and dedication.” Before I decided to be consistent, I would hear so many creators I looked up to preach about the importance of consistency. Now I understand it so much,” he added.

    Does Tobe have any tips for people looking to get into the content-creation industry? “Consistency, authenticity and creativity – three keys to open every door. For every new creator, these three things should matter the most. Trust yourself. Don’t be scared. Take the risk,” he said.

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