What I learned from the WACSI Social Media Conference

Wednesday and Thursday, West Africa Civil Society Institute, WACSI, had invited me and some of my fellow blogging colleagues to an international conference on the opportunities of social media.

Present were among others Nigerian online campaigners like Enough Is Enough, Ivorian sister organization to BloggingGhana, CIVBLOG, Buddy Media/Marketing Cloud a Ghanaian (branch of a?) company managing social media and especially Facebook pages around the world and Source Fabric, an interesting social media software organization, as well. Some prominent Tweeps like @spectraspeaks (Nigeria/US), @ZawadiN (Kenya), @mashanubian (Gambia/Senegal) @MacJordaN were also attending and of course GhanaDecides.

Out of the two days of conferencing, I could only attend one due to other obligations, but still walked away with plenty of inspiration and a few insights that I would like to share with you:

  1. The simplest way of starting a movement and getting people to connect is starting a hashtag – some relevant examples: for African feminists, #Afrifem, possibly #Afriblog for African bloggers and for Tema folk wanting to promote our city in the center of the world #Tema00. This method requires zero overhead, no funding and can have great impact.
  2. Crowd funding is the future. With webapplications connected to local banks, people can make donations using the Internet directly to organizations. EIENigeria uses 234give for instance and encourage people to pledge to contribute monthly to their activities.
  3. We are not alone. Sometimes, Ghana feels like an island, but with Internet (and a IRL conference once in a while), clearly it is not. Great things are happening in our neighbor countries – and in Ghana! –  and we just need to learn from eachother, adapt solutions to our environment and the inspire them right back! I have a feeling that especially EIE Nigeria and CIVBLOG will be great partners for BloggingGhana!

Thanks to the organizers for putting this fruitful meeting together. Next time, Adventurers in the Diaspora and Accra Dot Alt  should also be invited – Ghanaian social movements using social media!