“Technology is shifting the power away from the editors, the publishers, the establishment, and the media elite. Now it’s the people who are in control.” Rupert Murdoch
With more and more people having access to the internet via diverse mediums it is no surprise that social media’s popularity is growing and this has given a voice to this generation. Statistics show that millions of people around the world access blogs and social media networks as part of the daily routine and Ghana has not been left out of the race to global connectivity.
Social media is growing faster than ever in this West African country with a population of about 25million. On the 5th of May, BloggingGhana, an organization that promotes blogging, embarked on a journey to demonstrate how the youth can leverage the power of social media for positive social change, good governance, accountability, technology, business and education via channels such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and blogs at the Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE), with the event dubbed BlogCamp 2012 themed Voice of a New Generation.
And boy did it live up to the hype!!! As the French will say Oui….it did.
The awesome event started by Vodafone Ghana giving away an android phone, a web box’s and a mi-fi to 3 luck early bird attendees who were drawn with the help of a random number generator. With the atmosphere already charged with excitement, @Kajsaha (Kajsa Hallberg Adu Chairperson of BloggingGhana) set out to tell attendants about BloggingGhana and why everyone should join the family. Google in recent times has been pushing further into the social media realm and it was just in order that the custodian of the world’s largest search engine and sponsor for the day blessed as with a talk via Google+ Hangout with a Blogger advocate and Google Engineer from Australia (Bret Morgan) with help from our own @abocco Google Developer Outreach Officer (Ato Ulzen Appiah)
Eish! Did I forget about the beautiful Antoinette Abena Atuah from Vodafone Ghana? Well, her short but graceful speech indicated Vodafone’s vision to empower consumers to interact in the way that they want, to get more from their telecoms experience.
By now , the excitement is ramping up @Kinnareads takes the stage to talk about Social Media in an Election year with emphasis on BloggingGhana’s STAR funded Ghana Decides project which aims at better informed electorate for a free, fair and safe 2012 Elections using a collaborative platform of social media. This project is unbiased, non-partisan and also aims to educate the youth, civil society organizations and public institutions on the effective use of social media for social change. In collaboration with Youth Groups ,GESI Groups ,NGOs & CSOs ,Inter-Governmental Organisations ,Political Parties and through talks , Tweetups ,Facebook Chats ,Google+ Hangouts and Coverage of Events. This talk took us to lunch and on return, @Antirhythm a Legal Practitioner/Blogger took us on the path of Social Media and the law. He gently and eloquently spelt out the responsibilities of individuals in the use of social in order not to end up on the wrong side of the law. He touched on topics like Common offences related to making statements , What makes up the offences, Consequences of the offences, Free Speech vs. Others’ Rights ,Defamation ,Plagiarism ,Causing Fear, Hate Speech , and Insulting. His parting words were “Be Bold, Free and Truthful “
Anyway, I (@attigs) couldn’t have participated in all the breakout sessions partly because I had to moderate the Social Media and Mobile Devices session and one could only attend a session at a time. I also participated in the Photo blogging & Visual Activism session, where Nana Kofi Acquah was just remarkable. He educated and inspired us. Now my view of stating social concerns takes precedence over aesthetics in photography. My final session was a bit of an odd one. I joined the all ladies session of Women and Social Media where Kinna Likimani and Dorothy Gordon pushed the ladies to build their confidence and take the bold step of talking about issues they are passionate about on their blogs and social media interactions. Hmmmm…it will interest you to know that, they are planning a ladies only first time bloggers day. Feminism at its best…I am all for it and not against it.
At this point, we were all satisfied that our day wasn’t wasted but we couldn’t leave just yet. The lovely @GhanaMomoni (Golda Addo) needed to launch our Social Media Awards for 2013 .She had this to say about the world of the blogger “Neither recognised by the institutions of Journalism , NOR protected by the laws of media, WE ARE THE TRUTH … sharing our experiences uncurbed, unlimited, unrestricted.” She outdoored the awards with these words “In every pursuit of interest, there comes a moment in time when some people show distinction. A moment when some people show courage in the pursuit of TRUTH. Refuse to be hobbled by conventions … and go on to blaze trails. In such people, we find values worth emulating and appreciating. “
BlogCamp 2012 was made possible through the efforts of the BloggingGhana Community and the kind support of our partners: Vodafone Ghana, Google, United States Embassy, Nandimobile, Web4Africa, Citi 97.3 Fm, Mawuli Sikanku Photography and REDD Kat Pictures.
This article was written by Nehemiah Attigah. He is the CEO of Hatua Solutions Ltd.