How To: LIVE-Blog or Tweet From A Global Event/Conference!


Whiles in Johannesburg, South Africa; Live-blogging from the “Sub-Saharan Africa Freedom of Expression & Internet Workshop”; a colleague whom I’ve known for a long time, joined twitter not long ago and I’m sorry to say; not too ICT-inclined sent me a message on Facebook asking;

What are those stuffs you keep saying on Twitter? What is RT? Where do you get your links from? Do you have any special protocols that you use? Is this very difficult to do? How exactly do you go about LIVE-blogging from global events? I’m sorry to bother but I really want to become like you. Thanks.

 

@MacJordan & @dotKwame Live-blogging from #TEDxYI

This isn’t the first time, I’ve received such a message; therefore I took it upon myself to write a post covering: LIVE-Blogging from Events/Conference and Workshops/Seminars.

CEO & Founder of Web4Africa; David Ajao once said;

“It looks like; Twitter was specially made for him (Mac-Jordan) because; the speed with which he tweet/update is just too awesome.

I won’t call myself a PRO in this New Media field yet as I’m still learning from my mentors (Erik Hersman, Jillian C. York & Ethan Zuckerman). I’m just very passionate for anything new media that helps in information dissemination in real time. Below are some ideas that should get you started to LIVE-blog from any event or workshop you find yourself.

Pre-Event Preparations

  • Get Accreditation / Press Pass: In recent times, more PR & Media companies are beginning to treat and recognize bloggers & social media activists as “New Media Press”. If your intention is to cover the event for your online audience; be sure to emphasize your reach, influence and network effect.
  • Wi-Fi/Cell Coverage: Be very sure to check on the presence of Wi-Fi at the venue. Ask whether the venue has either free Wi-Fi or strong cell reception. Make necessary provision for internet modems from any of the Telcos in case there is no Wi-Fi or internet connectivity.
  • Confirm The Hashtag: As opposed to creating your own, ask the conference organizers if there is an official Hashtag e.g. (#MFA10Maker Faire Africa 10; #BCGhana Barcamp Ghana; #FC_Org – Future Challenges Org; #GVOGlobal Voices Online) for the event. If they don’t understand the words coming out of your mouth and think a “hashtag” is some sort of drug label, feel free to get creative.
  • Configure Your Applications: Whether you intend to use your laptop or smart phone, please be sure to pre-program your tools (such as TweetDeck, HootSuite or Twitterrific) with the appropriate hashtag.
  • Bring Your Charger & Power Plug(s): I know this one is painful and it’s happened to me more than once. (I traveled to  Casablanca, Morocco on the invitation of a friend to attend & share my views on New Media & Development in Africa; & I totally forgot my chargers. That is not happening ever again). Do not forget your charger(s). Make sure, you bring all of your gadget chargers from laptop; Digi-cam & smart-phone.

Live At The Event/Conference

The keynote is about to begin and it’s time to get to work. The Chair of the event is ready! What’s the best way to cover the event?

  • Be A Back-Log Flower: Like it or not, most traditional conference attendees will think you’re being extremely rude by clicking away during the presentation. Shy away from the front tables and instead choose a spot toward the back of the room. You’re more likely to find power plugs and won’t disturb those around you.
  • Set The Stage: Just like BBC/CNN, your followers may tune in to your Twitter stream at various points throughout the day. Level set with a tweet or two every few hours that describes the event’s purpose, location and name. e.g. (Tweeting LIVE from Bar-Camp Ghana in Accra. Follow us for more with the hashtag: #BCGhana)
  • Share Live Photos: There are various photo sharing apps on the micro-blogging platform these days. Take a snap of the conference whiles in section and attendees; share it on Twitter via either Twitpic, yFrog or Plixi
  • Use Attribution: If someone says something interesting, either use “– per [name]“, actual quotation marks and/or a reference to their firm. If you don’t explicitly state the source, your followers will be confused and may take the statement out of context.
  • Follow Others: Check the hashtag with some level of frequency to determine if anyone else in the room is covering the event as well. This is a good way to connect in real life and potentially divide and conquer across simultaneous tracks.
  • Perpetuate The Conversation: Although this can be difficult, watch for those statements that triggered interest among your followers. To the extent possible, reply to their comments, re-tweets and thoughts during breaks or the sessions themselves.

Post-Event Wrap Up

The curtain drops and another event is in the can. Now it’s time to head home and make sense of it all. What’s next?

  • Measure Your Success: Use sites such as What the Hashtag?! to find some amazing statistics on the event, including the number of tweets, contributors, tweets per day, re-tweets and the like. This helps to justify your impact the next time you ask for a free conference pass.
  • Blog Content: For the past three events I covered, nearly every cogent thought and worthwhile nugget was tweeted. Upon my return I used tools like Twitter search to revisit the hashtag driven-content as source material for my blog posts.
  • Thank Your Hosts: If you want to be invited back, but sure to tip your hat to the hosting organization. This is another no-brainer that I have seen my new media colleagues neglect time and time again.
  • Thank Your Followers: Also thank those who participated in the conversation and helped get the message out. Remember that without them you wouldn’t be there at all.

If you follow these simple rules I’m confident that conference organizers, your fellow attendees and online followers will be pleased with the results.

Did I forget anything? I’m very sure; there are other wonderful ideas with LIVE-blogging from conferences/events; please share your tips and tricks and let’s keep the conversation going.

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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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Goo.gl URL Shortener Now Accessible In Ghana


I’ve always been longing to tweet with Google’s URL Shortener Service; http://goo.gl when it was last launched a couple of months ago. I’ve seen one of my favorite ICT4D Tweep & follower; @Wayan_Vota use it a couple of times and I guess, he’s still using it.

Woke up this morning and decided to try it out once again. Lo and behold; it’s working from Ghana now. Guess, it is now opened to the general public.

 

Goo.gl URL Shortener Service

 

About Goo.gl

The Google URL Shortener at goo.gl is a service that takes long URLs and squeezes them into fewer characters to make a link easier to share, tweet, or email to friends.

Goo.gl used to be sort of an invitational ONLY product from Google —it was like, only a few trusted people could utilize it.

How do I use the Google URL Shortener?

Go to goo.gl and paste the long URL you wish to shorten into the input box at the top of the page. Click “Shorten” and to the right of the box you’ll see a short goo.gl URL that can be copied and pasted anywhere you’d like to share it.

If you’d like to track the analytics of your shortened URL, please sign in to your Google Account before shortening your URL. Your shortened URL will automatically be added to your goo.gl history.

Why use the Google URL Shortener?

People share a lot of links online. This is particularly true as microblogging services such as Twitter and Google Buzz have grown in popularity. With character limits in tweets, status updates, and other modes of short form publishing, a shorter URL leaves more room to say what’s on your mind.

According to Estelle Akofio-Sowah; Google Ghana Lead, the primary goal in making this service publicly available to all users is to harness Google’s global production infrastructure to provide users with the following benefits:

  • Stability – reliable service with good uptime
  • Security – warning message if the short URL points to a suspected malware, phishing, or spam website
  • Speed – fast resolution of short URLs (in a few milliseconds)

Features

Goo.gl short URLs are randomly generated, and the mappings of short URLs to long URLs are publicly accessible. Additionally, the short URL to long URL mappings are:

  • Immutable – once created by you, no one else can change them
  • Irrevocable – once created, they do not expire. Note, however, that Google reserves the right to remove any goo.gl short URL, for example for spam, security or legal reasons
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Passionate African Twitters Worth Following


This morning, I woke up to see a tweet from Kojo Baffoe requesting for bloggers, writers & interesting people he could follow on Twitter. As I sat on the edge of my bed reading his tweet, I quickly replied him; by promising to compile a list of followers worth following.

As you all know, there are a lot of people on twitter these days. From the likes of US President Barack Obama, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates, the Legend Michael Jordan (not verified) to my newest follower; Ghanaian upcoming photographer; Ghanyobi Mante.

Passionate African Twitters

I know it’s very difficult to find the right people to follow on twitter at times. I have been in this same shoe before so I definitely know how it feels. The most painful of them all are twitter users who block their tweets.  My question to them is;

“For what reasons are they hiding their tweets? “

Twitter to me is just like,

“sending SMS to the whole world”.

Everyone who follows you, gets to read whatever you sent/tweet despite it might not be meant for them. That not said, I think I’m ready to create a couple of lists worth following.

This list isn’t going to be just any list but one that shall include ONLY those who normally send/tweet good, informative & motivational tweets/updates. If you don’t get on this list, kindly bare with me because not everyone can be on it, just as not everyone shall make it to heaven. [smiling face…] Also, if you think you deserve to be on the list; kindly Direct Message or Ping me and I shall do you the honor by adding you to it.

You can find the curated Passionate Africans Twitter list here; http://twitter.com/MacJordaN/passionate-africans

Other great lists worth following:

> Ida Jeng’s Globally Minded People

> WhiteAfrican’s African Tech List

> Marieme Jamme’s Best Of Africa On Twitter List

> Kajsa Hallberg Adu’s Ghana Bloggers List &

> ICT_Works ICT4D Africa Twitters

You can always find and follow me on Twitter @ MacJordaN

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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#DearFutureWife Trending…


Whiles sited on the rear-seat of the rickety-newly-painted State Transport [STC] coach from Accra-to-Takoradi yesterday, I kept reading funny and silly tweets from around twitterdom [twitter world] on the trending topics; #DearFutureWife & #DearFutureHusband.

#DearFutureWife Trend

In my opinion, I saw those trending topics as;

Single men and women  expressing their unrealistic expectations to their future, imaginary mates.”

I decided to participate in the fun, though silly as someone tweeted in response. I’ve set a few expectations for a “future wife” and I felt it’s very necessary she and all prospectives know about them a few years in advance. Somebody may ask; “What if she’s not on twitter?

Well, I’m not cyber dating/hunting for a prospective wife but when the need be, why not?

One of my tweets reads;

#dearfuturewife ; Sincerely tweeting, dont worry about changing; For I loved u the very moment I saw you. Have I found one yet? #Justsaying

I found it very challenging when people started tweeting about useless stuffs but I still kept mine on a positive note. I felt like tweeting about my desire for Smirnoff Lemon Vodka;

#DearFutureWife : Don’t complain when I’m sitting all by myself w/ a full bottle of #Smirnoff Lemon Vodka pondering over an action!

Before this post, I read from Divine Expression’s blog about how disheartened she’s about marriage and couldn’t work up the effort to truly participate in the trend.

I decided to call it a day by tweeting my last #dearfuturewife tweet;

Last #dearfuturewife tweet : I will be sure to support anything you want to do but don’t EVER piss on my dream. Got, that 🙂

You can read interesting posts and more from the Ghana Blogging Group, a Ghanaian blogging evolution creating awareness about citizen journalism…!

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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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