Garage48 Opens in Accra, Ghana


Garage48 : 13 - 15 May, 2011. Accra, Ghana.

Garage48 : 13 - 15 May, 2011. Accra, Ghana.

The past couple of months saw several technology focused events happening in the capital of Ghana, Accra. Most recent was the Innovation Week 2011 [iWeek 2011] which again offered me the opportunity to show-case my Social Media know-how to participants and other technocrats who attended.

Just yesterday; I heard about Garage48; an event started in Estonia in April 2010 that have expanded to other countries in Northern Europe and Africa. All Garage48 events are held in English and have about 100 participants from different countries. Participants have different skills, ranging from software development to design, marketing and management.

Garage48 is happening from May 13 -1 5, 2011 at the Kofi Annan ICT Center. The event starts at 5pm on Friday with the presentation of various product ideas.

The teams are formed and derived organically. By the end of weekend, the teams will have a working products or prototypes. On Sunday evening, starting at 5:00pm, every team will showcase their product with live demo on stage in front of other participants and big audience. The jury and the audience will choose their favorite team or service.

“The event is mainly for tech practitioners namely graphic designers as well as front-end and back-End software and mobile developers. But we need also people with business skills – project managers, visionaries and marketing specialist. Everybody with great skills can apply to our event, but we will choose only around 100 best applicants to the event,” explained Ragnar Sass.

Inspiring and supporting environment is an important prerequisite to the birth of new ideas. Business and social network is increasingly important to start a new successful business. Despite that in many countries in Africa the market is huge, tens of millions of people, the IT sector is making its first steps.

According to Ragnar Sass again; while visiting Nigeria and Ghana in March, he met dozens of talented developers. The purpose of the events, in addition to build the local startup community, is to help those talented developers to get connections with successful entrepreneurs in Europe and America.

How does it work?

Garage48 events usually start at 5pm on a Friday evening. All participants gather together in a big room and pitch about 30 to 40 ideas on stage. Each idea is put on the wall and everyone can choose their favorite idea and team. Usually about 12-15 ideas will be selected and teams start working.

If you consider organizing Garage48 event in your country, please contact us info@garage48.org for further details.

Registration and more information for Accra’s maiden event here:  Garage48 Accra

See Map below for direction.

Map of Kofi Annan ICT Center, Accra. Ghana

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2010 In Review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,600 times in 2010. That’s about 16 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 51 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 158 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 22mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 16th with 99 views. The most popular post that day was A Closer Look Into Ghana’s First Oil. A Blessing or Curse?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, ghanablogging.com, globalvoicesonline.org, and kojobaffoe.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for free sms to ghana, google baraza, red phone, taurian deveaux, and ghanamixtapes.com.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

A Closer Look Into Ghana’s First Oil. A Blessing or Curse? December 2010
3 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

Google’s Gmail Free SMS in Ghana March 2010
1 comment

3

Google Baraza – Q&A for Africa October 2010
2 comments

4

Sandi Owusu’s Diva Delicious Line…. May 2010
3 comments

5

About Mac-Jordan January 2010
3 comments

FCC Commissioner; Mignon L. Clyburn Meets With Ghanaian Media/Internet Users.


Gradually, Ghanaian bloggers and free-lance journalists in Ghana are getting the necessary attention and recognition they deserve to keep on impacting their communities positively and also creating awareness about social issues that needs to be discussed and addressed.

I was very glad (and a bit nervous) when Stephen Anti formerly of Joy 99.7 FM and now with the US Embassy in Accra extended an invitation to attend and also be a panelist on a round-table discussion on the topic: “Internet Use and the Ghanaian Media.”

The forum was held by the Information Resource Center (IRC) of the US Embassy  in honour of the visiting Federal Communications Commissioner; Mignon L. Clyburn who was in Ghana for a couple of days and wanted to meet and interact with media practitioners in Ghana.

FCC Commissioner; Mignon Clyburn

 

On the panel was Mrs. Abigail Bonsu from the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Isaac Yeboah from Multimedia Group Ltd representing MyJoyOnline, Emmanuel Dogbevi of Ghana Business News, Kojo Asante of Peace FM Online (he couldn’t make it, I guess) & I representing the prestigious Ghana Blogging Community, Future Challenges Organization & Global Voices Online.  Each panelist had 20-mins to present his/her ideas and opinions on the topic been discussed.

Mr. Isaac Yeboah was the first to take the floor, where he shared insights into the running of http://myjoyonline.com as a different organization from the radio station; Joy 99.7 fm. He also touched on content aggregation and how viral some political topics could shoot up with several comments where in another instance, an article about the Ghanaian 2011 Budget presentation won’t even be looked at by readers/news junkies.

Next was Mr. Emmanuel Dogbevi who talked about how he’s running ; http://ghanabusinessnews.com all by himself without any financial support from anyone. He’s actually motivated to continue this venture knowing that, it surely going to pay off someday. He also stressed on how his outfit is doing very well when it comes to reporting business news in Ghana and how he won’t allow any organization, company or person to stand in his way of reporting.

Mrs. Abigail Bonsu spoke briefly on what her outfit hope to achieve now that, traditional journalism is almost dying out because of new media (social media) been embraced by all and sundry.

I had a presentation prepared for my session therefore, I happened to be the last to speak. I spoke briefly about myself and the various organizations I’m connected to.I recommended the US Embassy in Accra to share info’s and other important contents from their outfit via Social Media platforms just like US Embassy Pretoria and Harare are doing. Follow them on Twitter here: @USEmbPretoria & @USEmbassyHarare. Would be very glad to see a US Embassy Accra Twitter account soon, though. #USEmbassyAccra

Please find my presentation below.

 

 

Photo Credit: Federal Communications Commission.

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How Many Ghanaians Are On Facebook?


A heated argument ensured between my very good friend;MudalawGH yesterday on the number of Ghanaians on the Social Media site; Facebook. I quoted about 500,000 and he disputed the fact that, it’s not possible.

Research:

In trying to feed my inquiring minds; I chanced upon CheckFacebook.com which provided the needed data for this post.  CheckFacebook.com is not affiliated with Facebook in anyway. It’s a platform that is able track data reported from Facebook’s advertising tool to help marketers and researchers understand how Facebook is spreading across the globe.

Number of Ghanaians on Facebook

According to the platform; approximately 700,000 subscribers from Ghana have sign-up on Facebook been total users till date. Out of this number; 470, 560 are Males and this represents 68.3% and 218,480 been Females which represents 31.7%.  The photos below should give you a clear idea of the data been compared.

 

Percentage of Ghanaian Males/Females on Facebook

When the above data is broken down; those between the ages of 18 – 24yrs dominate the social networking site making up 44.9% followed by 25- 34yrs olds who are at 32.0%. More info below:

 

Age Range of Ghanaians on Facebook

Do you know that; currently there are about 1.733 billion internet users in the world? When Facebook gets half of that then their user base would balloon to 850 million. Amazingly there are still some countries that have some other social networking sites dominating.

The diagram below distinguishes between the percentage of Online Population of both Ghana and Nigeria. Nigeria with a total population of about 2,102,120 active subscribers on Facebook have 21.02% of Online population at all times whiles Ghana with a total of about 700,000 active subscribers have 79.14%.

 

Online Population Between Ghana & Nigeria

According to InternetWorldStats; Ghana’s internet penetration is at 5.3% with 1,297,000 internet users as of June, 2010. This is a big improvement of last year’s stats of 4.2% with 997,000 of internet users as of June/2009.

What is accounting for this high margin in Online population between Ghana and Nigeria?

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Worldwide Top 30 for Internet Penetration Rate in 2010

How Influential Are You Online? Use Klout…!


Image representing Klout as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

How many times have you come across these buzzwords; “influence and social currency” in your daily digest of blog posts, articles, and tweets? What do these terms mean?

I use Klout to track and measure my influence on the internet.  I believe you have a question for me at this point which would be;

What  is Klout?

Klout is a tool that measures social influence across the web. The higher the Klout score, the higher the social influence.

From their website:

The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 0 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 25 variables to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score. The size of the sphere is calculated by measuring True Reach (engaged followers and friends vs. spam bots, dead accounts, etc.). Amplification Probability is the likelihood that messages will generate retweets or sparks a conversation. If the user’s engaged followers are highly influential, they’ll have a high Network Score.”

Don’t misunderstand for having more followers because having more followers doesn’t necessarily give you a higher Klout score.  Your ability to interact, create genuine conversation and have conversations with other accounts that are high Klout scorers is key to getting a better number as well.

One would ask me; How do you use Klout?

I use Klout to help determine if I’m positively interacting with my audience or not. I actually use Klout to get a clear perspective of who is directly interacting and exchanging the tweets I send out. It also allows me to ensure that the folks that influence me and that I influence into are all well represented.

According to Klout; I’m “The Standard for Influence” at 48 points (as at June 13, 2010).

Klout Score for @MacJordan

With regards to “True Reach & Amplification”; Klout says, my messages/tweets are more likely to be amplified than the average person.

True Reach & Amplification Score for Mac-Jordan

Very interesting to note; I’m mostly influenced by @Maneno @Karennattiah @GhanaMixtapes @WhiteAfrican @tcktcktck @MangoSyrup & @Nadia870 (**cough**).

I’m proud to be the influencing force behind the following people; @Abocco @Disterics @Neddotcom @Inepdshane & @Ghanablogger.

 

Klout Influence for Mac-Jordan

Most of the topics that brought about my Klout score are; #African #Ghana #Accra #ICT4D #SocialMedia & #MobileTechnology

Hope this blog-post was helpful. If you have any questions for me, kindly send me a reply via Twitter; @MacJordan. Also; to figure out your Klout score simply go to http://www.klout.com and enter in your Twitter name.

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Most of the topics that brought about my Klout score are; #African #Ghana #Accra #ICT4D #SocialMedia & #MobileTechnology

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My Talk @ TEDxYouthInspire


Growing up in a small trading-town of Keta in the Volta Region, my grand-mother; Madam Doris Degadjor-Deha; a Cereal/Grains  Seller in the Keta Market paid so much attention to Education as the only key to eradicating poverty in our family.

Mac-Jordan @ #TEDxYI

Back in the day, she always makes me write letters to my father by normal dictation of whatever she wants to say and I also try as much as possible to express them on the foolscap sheet from my notebooks…! This was the only mean of communicating between my father and Uncles who were in Accra.

I saw those habits as a means of bridging the communication-gap between myself, my dad, Uncles and my grandmother. Those days of letter writing have really helped in shaping my writing skills till date. I owe my grandmother every bit of my success story. She’s the reason why I’m on this podium sharing my life experiences with you all.

In secondary school; Keta Secondary School. I was a member of the Writer’s & Debaters Club in my first and I later on  became the Editor-In-Chief of the School’s Magazine [The Dzolalian] which was released in time for the 50th Anniversary Celebration.

To some extent, I do believe it’s hard to know sometimes how our life has changed until we stop for a moment and look at how different it is from 10 or even 5 years ago.

In recent year’s social media, likely more than anything else has significantly impacted most of my daily lives. The very first thing I look out for when I open my eyes each morning is my Nokia E71 Mobile Phone…! With this tool, I’m able to communicate, know of the latest trending topics/news and update my followers/friends about happenings around me.

Positive Effects of Social Media

Envisioning the global conversation that has developed over the past few years because of tools like Hi5, MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter might have been unimaginable for most people at the beginning of this decade. But social media communication tools have profoundly changed my life and how I interact with other people in the world.

Below are the various ways Social Media has revolutionized MY LIFE.

1. Citizen Journalism / Blogging

My friends on social media are increasingly becoming my trusted sources of information, even more than search engines. My Nigerian blogger friend now resident in Ghana, Oluniyi David Ajao recently commented,

“More people are finding my blog from Twitter and Facebook referrals than via Google.com.”

Interestingly, this should tell you how deep people are going with Social Media these days. News (news) is more social than ever.  By getting our news from social media, we know who is recommending and can easily communicate with that person about it.

2. NETWORKING / MEET-UPS

Recently, staying up-to-date with family and friends has been very easy with the coming in of Social Media tools. From writing letters which were either sent by post or hand delivered to today’s modern way of email/SMS has really proven that, Social Media has more positive effects than the negative.

The organizing crew and members of Barcamp-Ghana, Ghana Blogging Group, Maker Faire Africa, Accra Twestival and TEDxYouthInspire all came about as a result of networking via social media tools. By constant staying in touch with each other and working on projects, we know who is available to support any event/project that will be happening and who can play “X-Y-Z” role.

Of course, there isn’t only so much communication that can happen through a social network, but via Tweet-ups and other in-person events, people are expanding these online interactions to face-to-face meetings just like I met RodneyQuarcoo for the very first time even though we’ve been communicating for quite sometimes now.By the way, Rodney Quarcoo was the official photographer at the #TEDxYouthInspire event.

The introductions are initially made through social networks, and then people develop the relationship using phone calls and in-person meetings. In other words, social media is increasingly being used to find and maintain both old and potentially new friendships. There’s been so many instances where friends from Secondary School or University who’ve not been in touch after graduating get to reconnect again via Facebook or Twitter.

3. START-UPS / ENTREPRENEURSHIP

It is easier than ever to start and launch a business today, in great part thanks to social media. We can’t only locate potential collaborators and employees through interest-focused Google Groups, Facebook groups, Twitter searches, and other social networks, but perhaps more importantly, social media gives people who have time, but little money for advertising, the chance to engage with others and promote their business.

While business in the past was generally conducted with those in one’s immediate environment, social media tools, including everything from blogging-tweeting-posting videos on YouTube, has opened new possibilities for both customers and clients. Who we do business with and how we promote that business has moved increasingly online, and for small business especially, social media has proved valuable.

Start-ups using Social Media for advertisement in Ghana.

Start-ups like Meltwater Group, Internet Research, Twists & Locs, DreamOval, Suuch Solutions and some Ghanaian Musicians are a few that are really using Social Media to sell their products and name. A Google search on any of these businesses/Groups/Persons would definitely reveal more information about them today than a couple of years back.

4. SOCIAL ACTIVISM

The practice of using digital technology /social media tools for entertainment, reporting, education, travel and social change is how I define my zeal for activism. Last year, I was part of a few selected bloggers from Africa that participated in the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before my departure, I really experienced the positive side of Social Media from Visa acquisition, accommodation and air-fare package.

Managing Director of GlobalVoicesOnline, Georgia Popplewell visited Ghana sometimes in October 2009 for the African Media Leadership Conference. I happened to take her for a guided tour around some parts of Accra and Cape Coast. She actually convinced me into writing for #GVO from Ghana which I accepted without any comment after hearing of the benefits/opportunities that come with GVO. In my preparation for the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen; I was approved of a stipend

Chip-In Campaign by Georgia Popplewell

which will help me in my participation in the conference and my successful return to my home-country, Ghana. When the stipend was successfully approved, Georgia played a very important role by starting a “CHIP-IN campaign” on twitter which saw people from different parts of the world contributing.

The following 45 Activists supported my going to Copenhagen to report on Climate Change issues been discussed for Global Voices Online & Ghana Blogging Group; and also add my voice to the climate petition been demanded from world leaders. I want to use the medium to say a big “THANK YOU” to all 45 social media activists who saw the importance of my going to Copenhagen and contributed.

Whiles in Copenhagen, I didn’t only focus on reporting and blogging but rather, I took the opportunity to meet other people, exchange contacts and more… I met dignitaries, Heads of States and celebrities from all over the world. Amongst them are; (Please click on the links for the photos)

The Mayor of British Columbia, VancouverGregor Robertson

Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town – The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu.

Pro-Photographer – Kris Krug and the Fresh Air Center Crew.

Daryl Hannah – Movie Star from the movies; “Kill Bill 1 & 2” and “Splash”.

Kumi Naidoo – CEO of Greenpeace International

Currently, I voluntarily reports on the activity of the Ghanaian blogosphere; summarizing on the concerns of bloggers in Ghana. I’m also a key member of Ghana Blogging Group and Future Challenges by the Bertelsmann Foundation in Germany.

5. Conclusion

Before I conclude, the print and electronic media somehow have made a huge impact in positively affecting the lives of people for sometimes now. It is not really a big deal but to some extent it is; because most people read news items and follows stories from MyJoyonline, Peacefmonline, GhanaWeb and other media outlets but with the coming of social media tools; power is increasingly more widespread. So-called mainstream media is no longer always the driving influencer of public opinion.

Bill Gates signed up on Twitter recently and you would be amazed at the number of followers he received within an hour.  About 100.000 people started following including myself. On Twitter, some individuals now have a million or more followers, Facebook Pages of Movies Stars, Musicians and key influential people also have hundreds of thousands of fans, and YouTube videos get millions of views when they go viral. Most of this content is coming from regular people, rather than big, corporate-owned media organizations.

For example, people like Esi Cleland, Ato-Ulzen Appiah, William Kamkwamba, Ameyaw Debrah and few others  who have over 1000 friends/followers on Facebook and Twitter, have used social media to increase their influence beyond what was possible for “regular people” in the past couple of years…

At this juncture, I know some of you sited here won’t agree with me but in every era;

“cultures go through numerous changes, and in recent years ours has been more impacted than anything else by social media.”

Large media houses in Ghana are not likely to go away overnight, nor will the need to communicate by phone or meet people in person, but social media is providing yet one more means of engaging with people on this vast planet of ours, and if used effectively can give all of us greater choice in how we live and what happens in our world.

I’m experiencing the positive effects of social media since I signed up a couple of years ago. I’m calling on all you sited here this evening to take a bold step and make it point to transform people’s lives with social media.

Thank you….! 🙂

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Making The Most of Twitter


Twitter

Image by respres via Flickr

On July 23, 2009; I did a blog-post [My Love for Facebook Is Decreasing; I’m Twit-ter-ing NOW] on my new found social media platform; Twitter and how it’s positively influencing my social life. Just this morning, I caught a post on my tweet radar on; “Making the most of Twitter”.

Back to page #1. What is Twitter?

Laura-Jane Rich a freelance TV presenter with many hours of live experience, specialising in technology & music describes Twitter as; “a micro-blog, or a mini online diary, where you can type the answer to “What Are You Doing?” in 140 characters or less as frequently as you like.

It is now proving more than the passing fad some thought it to be when it started in 2006.  Part of the reason it has become so popular is that people tweet from the web, mobile, or by SMS.

Nowadays there are two main ways people use it – either posting or “tweeting” yourself – or just following the tweets other people write. This is similar to writing a status update on Facebook so you can see what others are up to, or talking about, and vice versa.

Question No #2. How Do I get started?

You have to sign up [register] first for the service and get started by simply typing the answer to “What’s happening?“, “What’s you doing?What’s new with you?” or “any interesting news/data worth sharing and reading…

After logging in, find and follow others by clicking on their @name or by

@MacJordaN profile with Followers & Tweets Updates

searching for them with their email address or real names. Once you hit “follow“, their updates (or tweets) will show up on your homepage in chronological order, along with the other people you follow.

People who subscribe to your updates are called “Followers“. See how many I have underneath my profile picture.

You can continue reading more here Making the most of Twitter and other social media posts here; Accra Conscious Forever Blog…!

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