Do you know that Nigerians have a penchant for talk and no action? Sometimes it feels like we (the government and its people) are all mouth and no arms or feet, the way we just ‘talk away’ everything. So there are issues in the polity and we set up committees to look into ‘the immediate and remote causes’ of those issues, and then another committee is appointed to review the findings of the first committee and make recommendations, by which time another incident would definitely have occurred. True/false
When I became aware of planning for the New Media and Governance: Tools and Trends Conference, I was very excited. The thrust of the event looked pretty solid, and the line-up of speakers was stellar. Then Stacy Orico’s ‘more to life’ started playing in my head, and I started to think of more.
As a social media post graduate student at Birmingham City University, we were exposed to ‘Social Media Surgeries’. Set up/conceived by Nick Booth, the basic idea is to get a room full of people who have social media related questions on the one hand, and people with answers or strategies on the other.
Everyone has a computer/laptop/device so you talk but more importantly, you DO. I have attended a number of them and I really enjoyed them.
I pitched the idea of having surgeries at the event to the head of the planning committee. She bought it, and we started to run with it. There would be three booths for Facebook and Google, Blogs and Twitter, and ISP’s, Mobile Apps and Telecoms. To help man the booths were
I’m thankful for logistics, the admin team, and Miss Diane Nduonofit, thank you for being patient with us, and for catering to all our concerns!
The Omidiyar Network had donated a good number of flash drives for the attendees, and at some point is became our role to not only distribute the drives, but to also put the speeches/presentations of the different speakers in them. My opinion? Good idea, bad implementation strategy. Why? It detracted from the function of the booths, as people were only interested in getting flash drives and filling them with the resources. My colleagues catered to a few ‘patients’ though, but it could have been better.
Flash drives were finished (thankfully) so people concentrated more on the resources, and then later on practical questions around social networks, apps, etc.
- The conference was brilliant; and a resounding success. The sessions (minus the ones where the presentations were MS Word documents) were timely, and the discussions were as robust as they were controversial.
- It was nice to see young people actively engaging their leaders, asking questions, demanding answers and accounts, etc.
- My team was brilliant. Amongst other things, they braced the heat (and the atrium was scorching) and were patient even when people didn’t come early. I know what feels like to have so much to give and no one comes for it.
- Young people are keen on exploring social media tools. What tools/networks they need is a totally different matter but the enthusiasm is there; the need to know is there.
- The government of the day more than ever recognizes that young people can/will not be relegated to the background anymore. They have a voice.
What’s the way forward though? What’s the next thing to do? I’m interested and currently researching ways to step down communication for people without internet connections, exploring text messaging, etc. Why? Social media is essentially people on the one hand, people on the other, and technology in the middle.