Sunday, April 11, 2021

New social network for Batswana

There is high probability that it is the first of its kind in Botswana.

But all this started in the school corridors. They say it is where it all happens; that is the school.

Harvard University school mates Chris Hughes, Dustin Moskovitz and Eduardo Saverin led by Mark Elliot Zuckerberg invented Facebook at their campus some years ago at the age of only 19.

The intention of Facebook then was to find and contact fellow students only around the Harvard campus.

After they launched it, Mark was overwhelmed by the response and realised that the system could generate great revenue. He dropped out of school to make Facebook an assessable site worldwide. It remains one of the most popular social networks today.

Now, here in Botswana, Sylvester Lapisang, a 21-year-old University of Botswana student, has come up with his own version of a social network, called Skimtym.

He explains that Skimtym simply means “time out with friends”.

Lapisang said that he wanted to come up with a unique, indigenous social network that can relate easily with the identity of Batswana. He says he wanted to show people, especially the youth, that they can also compete against the best in the world when it comes to technology.

Although he inherited the Facebook format, he has modified it to include Botswana features.
But just like Zuckerberg of Facebook, Lapisang started working on this with some of his friends around 2009.

However, as time went on, he felt that they were dragging their feet and “did not share the same vision”. He did not want his idea to die so he worked hard to on it, begging his family to assist him with the required funding.

He purchased the software from a Swedish company called Benc Enterprise for P1200.
Having registered the domain name at through a local company called Datum Tech in Phakalane, he pays P80 per month for the server provided by Host Gater.

Skimtym went online for the first time on the 14 of October, 2011.

There are many features in the social network, such as market place, on which small businesses can advertise for free.

There is also a platform where surfers can engage in public forums.

Lapisang says that what makes Skimtym unique is that it is the first in enabling a person to interact with users from other social networks.

He says that he wants it to be the pride of Batswana.

Lapisang boasts that it’s the first of its kind in this country and Batswana should welcome and use it.


Read this week's paper