Tuesday, January 13, 2009

BarCampGhana 08: My Thoughts

I apologise profusely (plenty, plenty, plenty) for not being able to blog about BarcampGhana08 until now, especially since I was a panelist for social media.I could make up excuses saying Klustrs.com is taking all my time but I won't. Forgive me and lets move on.

BarCamp Ghana 08 at the Kofi Annan Center of Excellence (AITI-KACE) was for me one of the best meetings, conferences or anything of that nature I have been to, flaws inclusive. I enjoy informal networking activities (although enough don't happen in Ghana) and this was one of the most informal events I have been to.

It was great meeting people who share the same views and the same Lets-Make-IT-work in Ghana / Africa spirit. Yes it was Great. It was especially nice to meet a Nubian Cheetah(Nii Simmons) and David of davidajao.com (someone next to me is reading this post by David) and best of all I met in flesh someone who had commented on one of our blogs, Esi Cleland.

My first impressions Of BarCampGhana was that it would be fun, when an Afro man welcomes you to an event, its got to be FUN! The only downside for me at the beginning was that I was a panelist, who was late and had no idea what was about to happen .

I felt more at home after the first introduction sessions and mingling (beauty always overshadows fear)and once up there on the panel for social media I felt right at home among people talking about topics I LOVE!

What Did I learn from the Barcamp?

PANELS: Social Media

I realised that most bloggers have a problem knowing whether anybody out there cares (David, Esi and Nii, ignore this). It is a very disorienting experience to blog and not get responses to the issues.

This is what was suggested.

1. Be Consistent. Blog as consistently as you watch the episodes of your favorite television show. This also translates to 'Blog about something you LOVE'. Choose a category of technology you love and talk about it. (David said this)

2. Use other Social Media channels. This simply equates to Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. Ok, there are other ways to get your blogs on fire. Create correct tags for the content and do a googlle search to see if your posts turn up for those tags. Writing thoughtful comments and contributions on other blogs may get you started.

3. Get a Statistics tool. There are many ways to know if you are all alone or not on your blog. Ask Esi she has one on her blog. (Esi said this)

4. Social Media is not only Blogging. YES I knew this already but it was refreshing to see Alan come up with a video device to help promote citizen media. ( I like Alan, he's a busy man. Google Mapmaker)

5. For Lazy Bones. Start with small tiny chunks of telling your story and gradually build yourself up to become big. Simply put, if you're lazy start with Twitter. ( I said this in response to a question)

BREAKOUT SESSIONS: Entrepreneurship & Collaboration

1. Plenty Plenty Ameri-Ghanaians. It was very very obvious from a lot of the introductions and interaction that the US connection was tight. There were a lot of Ghanaians back from the US or planning on moving back to Ghana from the US at BarCampGhana. Is the credit crunch bringing talent back? If Yes, then I'm all for it. (Forgive Me)

2. Ghana is about to explode. If the aspirations and hopes of all the participants in this breakout session are realized even 50%, then Ghana my beloved Country is about to explode with New Age Business (Web 2.0 Ghana style).


I think all three speakers were Great.

1. BSL (Ebay,Paypal: the Zulu Warroir style). Chinery Hesse gave a good business minded speech on how he got where he is and where he is going with his new service, a payment and e-commerce business model, done within an African context.

1. Nubian Cheetah. George Ayittey spoke at BarCampGhana to tell us, ain't no government going to make it right, only WE can make it right.

2. Estelle Sowah. Love the CEO of BusyInternet. I think if more higher ups gave us such frank, warm, FUN speeches more people would realise that, Yes it is Hard but it is Worth IT. She had no idea how she was going to manage BusyInternet, but she took the challenge and what do we have one of Ghana's biggest ISP providers.

Finally, My next Post will try to Aggregate as many Links to BarCampGhana as I can in an hour. Wish Me Luck!

Justin Dakorah & Nana Kwabena Owusu, Klustrs.com