Blogging Advise to Keep Going

I got an email about blogging and thought all of you might enjoy my input.
Hello Kajsa,
I hope you are doing well this mid-semester break. I am a student of class of xxxx. I came for the branding session and I was quite intrigued and re-inspired to begin blogging again. However, due to a heavy study load and lack of motivation, I have not been able to continue. I also feel my blog is not bringing out the voice I want to be heard by the world as much. I hope you don’t mind if I request you guide me through the blogging process. Thank you very much.
My response:

Hi,

good to have a fellow blogger at Ashesi!

Your blog is all set up, looks cute, and you touch on some interesting topics under teen life, being an African woman etc.

However, to write more regularly, I think you need a little bit of structure. What has worked for me and many other bloggers is to first make a content plan and then follow up – see some tips here:

For instance, I have created Sunday Reads (which I usually write on Fridays and schedule them) as well as one post every semester about classes I teach – the most recent one was about my favorite assignment.

You can do similar – think up a structure for very low key posts…perhaps planning your week (super interesting for people outside Ashesi to see what a regular week can be like for an Ashesi student) or write a monthly update about a topic you care for and people will be coming to you as an authority.

You can also think of topics or categories: for instance: Life observations, beauty, Ghanaian politics, Career Women, Technology news, yes what ever! and I can help set them up for you and those categories can also help to guide and inspire your writing.
I read a lot of blogs and like Ghanaian blogs  Circumspecte and by Naa Oyoo  – maybe their writing can bring you more inspiration?
Thanks for reaching out, let me know how it goes, and enjoy the break!
/Kajsa

My Week Following The @Sweden Curatorship Experience, #SMWiAccra

So last week, I had the honor of being the curator of the twitter account @Sweden. With a click, I increased my following by 10 and was the seven-day temporary face of my native Sweden. In a tropical setting. I thought I’d sum up my experience and also share what this week, following all the excitement, was like.

Monday, I woke up sick, with a swollen (!) nose. Had I been in a fist fight? The doctor said it was rather a sinusitis infection in my nose and I was on antibiotics before I knew it. I am not sure it was the curator experience that made me sick, but it was a day lost to pain and rest.

Tuesday, my children both started their new school. I accompanied and excited three-year-old to Nursery school and my husband took our six-year-old to Primary 1.

My school girls! ????? #maryjane #sisters #schooluniforms #mahjong #vamlingbolaget #233moments

A post shared by Kajsa Hallberg Adu (@kajsaha) on

On Wednesday, I was well enough to share some of my thoughts about the @Sweden experience on the Citi Breakfast Show on Ghanaian radio station Citi FM. IN an interview with the brilliant Bernard Avle, I talked about 

  • Traffic (I was late to the studio)
  • Knowing my audience
  • Missing my TL
  • Thinking about Swedishness
  • Wanting to be a Ghanaian citizen

Find the full program here, I come on around 9.40am.

In the afternoon, I met with a researcher, Hanne Geirbo from the interesting research project Learning Flexibility. We spoke about social media activism, solar energy adoption and strategies for infrastructure challenges.

Last, I attended the Social Media Week Accra, and was a speaker under the heading “Social Media: The Ghana Case”.

I tried to give a quick overview of how blogging has developed in Ghana since BloggingGhana started in 2008, but also to critique the use of social media as heavily entertainment, one way, consumeristic instead of appreciating the true revolution of social media and harnessing the promise of social change. I suggested we support each-other ventures more, create and use more hashtags to curate content and campaigns, we produce more content.

On Thursday, I met with my Ashesi students for the first time. Ambitious, fresh-faced future leaders make me so happy. I also finalized the contract with two final year students who I will supervise on their papers. Two very interesting projects, I will tell you more about later.

Today, Friday is for research and preparing for next week. I will also fit in some meetings. This evening, I’ll be seeing my friend to celebrate her birthday.

 

I feel like this week was as intense and interesting as last week, but I was back on my own social media accounts and I had missed the people I am following and learning from. The Sweden curatorship, made me rethink what I publish and how much I share my personal life. While I have a high sense of integrity, and usually post quite minimal “this was my day”, “this is my breakfast”- content, I now think there is also value to sharing more personal details and life circumstances as that goes to the heart of the prospects of social media: bringing people closer together by showing how diverse and how similar we all are.

Do you think it’s useful or interesting to read about other people’s daily lives?

Green Ghanaian Akua Akyaa Nkrumah is Gone

Environmental Technologist Akua Akyaa Nkrumah passed away on Thursday. She was, write her colleagues in the death announcement, a “mighty tree”. I think it is not often such words are used about a thirty-something, but those were the same words that came to mind as I heard of her passing on Friday morning. I am devastated. 

In lieu of the one-week meeting for family and friends that is customary in Ghana, I want to sit an imaginary living room and share here on my blog some of my thoughts. I imagine an overcrowded room, some of us are standing. I see Akyaa’s family and colleagues in the room, friends from BloggingGhana, Chale Wote, Ahaspora, Golda, Maame Aba, Jemila, Edward, Ato, Naa Oyoo, Efo. Now that we are all here, let’s remember.

Akyaa was a blogger and member of the organization I co-founded in 2008, BloggingGhana. Do read her last blog post on the 15 things NPP can do for the environment. She was a very present member, featured in our “By the Fireside”-events last year, and a feisty and fun discussant on issues we would deliberate on when the official meeting was over. She was a passionate professional working with Jekora Ventures, doing the hard work that is cleaning up Accra, one of the places in the world most in need of sanitation. She was proud of her work and often talked about her projects. Additionally, she was an inspiration and a fellow creative in a space where creativity is rare. She was also an ray of light in the field of environmentalism, desperately needed for a Ghana that is quickly becoming a dump site. Last year, she was featured on Jill of All Trades with this beautiful interview.

In the beginning of the year, Akyaa and I had quite a lot of interactions. We met up and talked about life, she helped my student with information, I got to learn about her initiative to take Eco thinking and social media to university students in the Green Ghanaian Eco Tour. The program was masterfully crafted, intended to reach all regions of Ghana, prefunded by an international donor who Akua had approached and written a proposal to. I took notes and confided in her that under so many years of discussing such an outreach for causes I feel strongly about, I never managed to. She generously shared the details that made her project a success.

In February, Akyaa brought her initiative to Ashesi University. I played only a small role and finally could not attend the program on the Saturday she came up with her team, but was following the tweets online from engaged students.


 

In her last year of living, Akyaa spread her worldview to hundreds (thousands?) of young people, opened a waste management plant, and taught me personally about activism and outreach. Now that she is no more with us, my only consolation is in these endeavors Akua Akyaa Nkrumah will live on. Green Ghanaian…dubbed Great Ghanaian by a mutual friend. Green Great Ghanaian. Our mighty tree. Thank you. Da yiy3.

BloggingGhana will remember her in an event soon. 

Ahaspora will be dedicating their June Happy Hour to celebrate her life.

Family GoFundMe collection for her burial.

How Bloggers Prepare for #BloGHAwards16

bloGHAwards16You know you are a blogger going for BloggingGhana’s #BloGHAwards16 gala if…

…you spend more time on setting up your browsing bundle (and back-up!) than on what to wear.

…you save a winning tweet instead of preparing a thank you speech.

…you double check the hashtag (Yup, it’s #BloGHAwards16) instead of your hair before leaving the house.

…you write a blogpost about the upcoming awards instead of finding a date.

…you plan to come early to save a good seat to take Instagram-able photos from instead of setting out to arrive fashionably late.

…you tweet at your friends asking if they will attend instead of calling them.

…you are reading this to the end on a handheld device!

See you tonight!

Last chance to get your Ego-ticket for the Social Media Awards!

KajsaHA on AccraWeDey Podcast

A few weeks back, podcast AccraWeDey – Ghana’s only culture an entertainment podcast – was invited to speak at a BloggingGhana meeting. Out of that event, a friendship has developed between BloggingGhana and AccraWeDey that on Sunday resulted in me being invited to be the special guest in the podcast!

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I spoke and laughed with Pokuaa and Joey and towards the end Nii (who had trouble finding a taxi on a quiet Sunday night) about blogging, kelewele, colonization and many other things. I also got super inspired to start my own podcast…
IMG_2776 IMG_2781

 

 

 

The description of Season 2 Episode 7 goes:

Screenshot 2016-02-27 00.14.51

Why the episode is called “Are You Sure?” Well, if you listen, you will know!

>>> You can download or stream the episode here.

My Blogging Year 2015

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Summary of my blogging year:

My blogging year started out with a  resolution: to finish my Phd. How that went, you can see in the blog a created solely for my doctorate: Student Migration Aspirations. In February, dumsor got worse, the following month, I thought about the tech community in Ghana and started a nice convo about what is wrong with it. In April, I shared the top 7 tips on how to sleep during light off, in May I went to BlogCamp, Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards and the #DumsorMustStop vigil, in June I didn’t write one single post (but thousands of words on my dissertation, in July, I submitted it!). August was spent in Sweden on vacations. In September, I was back with a life-(and blog-)crisis! In October, I decided to write more personal stuff here. Thanks for the positive feedback, especially to the first post on how much one should have in common with a spouse. The world changed with refugees flowing into Europe and Zone9 bloggers being freed in Ethiopia. Towards the end of the year, I introduced the Sunday Reads and increased my posts on politics and personal issues.

While the year started slow, I must say with dumsor and research slowing me down, I am happy the way I managed to find my passion for blogging again.

Did you read these three highlights?

1. Most read post:

The Power of Social Media – the case of Nana Aba Anamoah of TV 3

My view on this is that this is a historical moment for social media in Ghana. This sector has been seen as not “real”, something that happens outside of work. Hence most media personalities in Ghana have their own personal accounts, powered by their appearance on a legacy media channel, but run solely by themselves without any support, training, equipment, as well as away from attention from their employers.”

 

2. Most underestimated post:

Freedom is corruption?

“How does one cope on a personal level with all of this?

I have to say: I don’t know. I think do not cope very well! I get so angry and disturbed I cannot focus on much else on many days. I tweet, blog, and rant. I make plans to leave, I take deep breaths, and I laugh about it all. I try to balance the impressions.”

 

3. Most fun post:

Top 10 #NDCarols

“This Xmas season, Ghanaians have again used humor to deal with life situations. Under the hashtag #NDCcarols where NDC of course stands for the ruling party National Democratic Congress, Ghanaians have written their own renditions of famous christmas carols.”

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Happy new year all readers, please continue to follow me in this space – and if you want a reminder when a new post is out –  follow me on Facebook or Networked Blogs in 2016!

 

 

Speaker at the ASME 2015

ASME2015 Kajsa-Hallberg-AduI have been invited to speak at the Vodafone African SME Summit 2015. The summit takes place 5-7 November, 2015 and has the theme; “Dreaming Africa”.

 

I will be speaking from the BloggingGhana/Social Media perspective in the panel called “Changing the conversation on Africa’s media front” on Thursday 5 Nov, 2.05-2.45pm  My co-panelists are Bernard Avle, CitiFm and Teophilus Yartey, Graphic Business.

Other speakers are Emmanuel Gamor of Impact Accra Hub, Nana Akosua Hanson of YFM, and Frederick Deegbe, Heel The World Shoes and many more!

I will share my slides here after my presentation.

Hope to see you there!

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BLOG ACTION DAY #BAD15: #RaiseYourVoice Against Online Injustices

Late last year, I went to Ethiopia. I had a wonderful stay and learned about the Ethiopian food and coffee culture and made lovely friends. Ethiopia left me with memories for life. But I also knew, going there, that bloggers who had criticised the government had been thrown in jail.badblueonwhite-participant

The nine bloggers and journalists were members of Zone9, an organization that I imagine have similarities to the organization I started in Ghana with a friend, BloggingGhana. Read more about their case on the Advox site Global Voices set up for the campaign to #FreeZone9Bloggers. Despite only being in the country for a few days, the knowledge of that I was in a country where they jailed bloggers for criticising the government had an eerie and immediate impact on me.

FEAR
The damage of jailing bloggers is twofold, the personal damage to those individuals and the much larger example it sets. On my first day in Ethiopia, my hotel told me they had Internet issues, and I did not push for a resolution. When Internet arrived on day 2, I thought hard about what I tweeted and instagrammed from Ethiopia. I posted only photos and no words about my stay there. I made sure to not mention to anyone I was a blogger as I did not know how much of bad connotations that might have. I felt fear in my gut. It is a sad thing, to limit your thoughts, your creativity, and your imagination. I was just a visitor for a few days. I can’t help but think what that fear would do to a country over time. Would people discuss political developments? Criticise people in power when service delivery is poor? Would people think creatively or would they, just like I did, censor themselves?
ACCESS TO INTERNET
A different aspect of #RaiseYourVoice is access to Internet that is limited in many places all over the world, both for political reasons,  lack of (electricity and data) infrastructure, and/or simply the cost. According to the UN broadband commission more than half of the world’s population is offline. Ethiopia a case in point with only 1,9% Internet penetration, compared to Ghana’s 20,1% and Africa average of 26,5%. For the world its over 40% (numbers from InternetWorldStats.com). As a blogger in Africa, I am constantly reminded, that having access to the same tools as I have (broadband and laptop) is for the lucky few. Then last week, Google announced plans of laying fibre in Ghana and Uganda in Project Link and Facebook launched a project beaming Internet to Africa by satellite. Is that not great news? Rather,  in my view it is quite worrying. In an era go knowledge, the important issue of access to Internet in Africa is taken over by multinationals with their own agenda and already strong grips on the Internet globally.
SHARING OF INFORMATION
Internet is a game changer as it has the ability to bring the people of the world closer. Sharing information, once created, is next to free. When I finish writing this blogpost, how many will read it? Maybe one person (Hi Dad!), but it might also be 100 or 1000 or even 10 000. The cost is the same to me to spread my views. On the other end of the sharing, this means a university student in Ghana potentially can have the same access to written knowledge as a student anywhere else! We can all be up to date with latest scientific findings. 10 years ago, this was science fiction!
WHAT WE CAN DO
There are no easy solutions, but governments all over the world should be persuaded (by us!) to step away from fear and have faith in the power of freedom, on and offline. Individually, we have to take inspiration from the Zone9-bloggers and speak up. However, we also need better access to the Internet for the masses. I think we should think about who owns this infrastructure. It will cost, but yield returns, because when we can think freely, communicate freely, share information freely, we can also create better solutions to our problems. 
At BloggingGhana I often repeat: Every time you go online, don’t just consume. Produce too. Share your life and views with the world. Create more stories!
SOME TIPS FOR #RAISINGYOURVOICE:
  • Post a photo on a social network showing something that maybe has no representation online, it could be a street, a practise, or a portrait and a brief interview with someone.
  • Show someone who do not have access to Internet what it is all about. Use your or their phone, or go into an Internet cafe.
  • Craft a Facebook-update to challenge oppressive views.
  • Spread the word on Alliance for Affordable Internet and their data.
  • Join Global Voices as a Volunteer Writer, Translator, or Partner.
  • Write a blog post where you #RaiseYourVoice to fill the void when another blogger has been silenced by fear or lack of access.

This post is part of the Blog Action Day 2015, with the theme #RaiseYourVoice. 

My earlier Blog Action Posts can be found here: 2008 on Poverty2009 on Climate Change, 2010 on Water, and 2012 on the Power of We

3 #DumsorMustStop Vigil Lessons

Here are my three take-aways from today’s #DumsorMustStop vigil.

1. A few people, in this case celebrities, can make a difference. Thanks to their leadership, we were given a venue to speak up. The feeling of walking down the street with 1000 (2000?) others who also think we deserve better was like…a cold shower after a night under a non-moving fan.

2. We can do better. More people can show up next time, but more importantly, those who come should know how powerful we are if we optimise the protest in terms of:

  • spacing (one arms length to the person in front of you one to the person next to you),
  • speed (slowly, like a tortoise winning against the hare!) and
  • place ( you want to walk ON THE ROAD to create maximum impact of the protest, not on the curb, etc).

3. Clearly, Ghanaians are tired of sitting in the dark. Seeing thousands of Ghanaians dressed in black floating down the street holding candles and kerosene lamps – and one fridge! –  must be the government’s nightmare.

Tomorrow Sunday 17 May, 2015, at 3.30pm BloggingGhana will discuss the vigil and how social media can play a role in #DumsorMustStop. If you want to attend, let us know here.

#BlogCamp15 Coming Soon

BloggingGhana proudly presents the fourth BlogCamp – in Kumasi –  with the theme “Social Media for Good” this Saturday May 9th, 2015.
BlogCamp 13 collage
BlogCamp is a full day networking and educational event is for bloggers and social media enthusiasts, and as I know I have many among my readership, I hope to see some of you there! There will be a PhotoWalk in Kumasi suburbs, talks and panels on the topical topic as well as general workshops on blogging, photography and social media for business.

Register to secure your free ticket. (Information on buses from Accra when you have your ticket)

I will be Tweeting away, shaking as many hands as I can and try to in every possible way embody BloggingGhana’s two foundational pillars: technology and friendship!
So, if for some reason you cannot be physically present, follow #BlogCamp15 on Twitter and other social media channels on Saturday!
Photo Collage from BlogCamp13. Read about BlogCamp12, 14.

Busy Week and Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards

Last week was spectacular and spectacularly busy. The semester at Ashesi is wrapping up, my daughter is on break from school and BloggingGhana has its events season. Last week, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post, was Ghana Blogging and Social Media Awards. This week is BlogCampGhana in Kumasi (get your own free ticket here!).

 

The awards night was amazing. The highlight for me was walking the red carpet and seing the venue in all its beautiful lighting and décor courtesy of PlanIt events. My colleagues were also looking fabulous and it was a pleasure to talk to a joined social media crowd away from keyboard as we say…

GBSMA collage first

I spoke about the journey of BloggingGhana from 2008 until today.

GBSMA collage general

I also presented the award to best new Blog. The award was given to YesiYesi, Ghana’s first satire news site, much well deserved in my view.

GBSMA collage Present

The team had done a great job and the energy of Ghana’s most active social media users in one room was palpable. I wish you had all been there!

 All photos courtesy of BloggingGhana’s FB page and tweaked by Pixlr.