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#SMDAYAFRICA: HOW AFRICA CELEBRATED 2015 SOCIAL MEDIA DAY

Plugged into the global euphoria of the 6th Social Media Day, which is annually marked on June 30, Africa for the first time celebrated the Social Media Day with continental pulse using the hashtag #SMDayAfrica.

The Social Media Day Africa #SMDayAfrica celebration is a parallel event with the global Social Media Day launched in 2010 by Mashable – a global technology firm. #SMDayAfrica was organized by the Social Media Awards Africa, #SMAA, as an all-day continent-wide virtual event to commemorate the 2015 Social Media Day from an African perspective with global ambience.

The event which featured eight (8) sessions cutting across diverse sectors and countries of the continent had appearances from leading industry experts with a knack for social media such as Maverick Music Producer,  Don Jazzy; HR Expert, Jimi Tewe; Songstress, Simphiwe Dana; Social Commentator, Japheth Omojuwa;  Social Media Denizens, Subomi Plumtre and Chioma Chuka; Representatives of the African Media Initiative, AMI; Social Innovators, Yemi Adamolekun and Seun Onigbinde; as well as winners, finalists and nominees of the maiden Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA from across the continent – Ben Kiruthi, Michael Hlatshwayo, Jimi Tewe, Barefootlaw, The Love Tour,Republic of Rwanda Ministry of Youth and ICT, DHL Africa, Stand to End Rape, Adforumco, KCB Group, Afrinolly, #TheNiteTalk, Raha 2.0, Nigeria Trade Hub; amongst other prominent personalities, social media enthusiasts and users across the continent.

The hashtag #SMDayAfrica which started trending in Nigeria within 2 hours of launch had an all-day penetration across Africa reaching over 30million Twitter users. The celebration also had other events at country-levels with active participations by the online community including #SMAA winners, finalists and nominees in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco.

Opening the conversation on the realities of social media usage and practice in Africa, Chioma Chuka posited that although gradual progress is been made on internet penetration across the continent, yet, more needs to be done on digital penetration and local content generation.

Chioma urged Africans to be conscious to their online existence. HR Expert, Jimi Tewe, explained that social media is a growing component of online recruitment which Africans need to come to terms with.

Don Jazzy and Simphiwe Dana, however had a point of difference on whether or not music artistes need to be signed to a record label, considering the growing popularity of digital collaboration – see conversation here.

Sterling Bank Plc, lead sponsor of the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA, explained that the future of banking on the African continent is social, which, the bank says it is taking the lead in innovating the path and pattern towards the social media boom. The innovative #Onecustomer financial institution which has clearly set the pace in social banking, participated actively and engaged stakeholders for an hour’s session entitled: ‘The Social Media Story: Me and My Bank.’

Relating governance with social media practice in Africa, Seun Onigbinde of BudgIT and Yemi Adamolekun of Enough Is Enough, agreed that although social media tools are viable in advancing governance and accountability processes in Africa, they however cannot in isolation pull through on the desired social needs of the continent, hence, the need for offline and online convergence.

Citing emerging trends such as digital jobs and cloud computing, experts raised the need for Africans to acquire requite digital skills in order to be effectively relevant in the globalized world. They also challenged the African continent to influence and develop itself through local content production and distribution.

Subomi Plumtre challenged African businesses to be more social, leveraging the power of cost-effective social media tools and platforms

Wrapping the all-day TweetChat, was the relationship session tagged: E-Relationship: Love through the web. Gist, Gossip and Tips, anchored by #TheNiteTalk – @LtCaezar, winner of the 2014 #SMAA hashtag of the year award.

As the maiden continental celebration of the world Social Media Day, #SMDayAfrica has succeeded in establishing an African perspective to social media, through robust virtual engagement, education and entertainment.

#SMDayAfrica: Social Media Day Africa

#SMDayAfrica: Social Media Day Africa

In coming years, it is hoped that the Social Media Day celebration in Africa will be bigger and broader, towards enriching continental good.

Conversations and other activities of the #SMDayAfrica celebration can be followed via: @sma_africa on Twitter or through Storify.

ABOUT #SMDayAfrica

The Social Media Day Africa #SMDayAfrica is to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on Africa’s communication and growth, blending the African perspective with global ambience.

This day is marked annually on June 30th in consonance with the global Social Media Day celebration as launched by Mashable, a global tech and social media firm.

ABOUT #SMAA

The Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA is a premier continental initiative poised to recognise and reward excellence, creativity and impact in the use of social media tools and platforms by individuals and organisations.

The Social Media Awards Africa is an initiative of Development Diaries and sponsored by Sterling Bank Plc.

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#SMDayAfrica: Africa celebrates Social Media Day

June 30th is annually commemorated as the World Social Media Day. This day brings to the fore the realities of a growing global community of diverse individuals who are wirelessly wired.

The Social Media Day was launched by Mashable in 2010 as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. While every day is essentially Social Media Day, June 30th, 2015 marks the sixth-annual official global celebration.

With over 110 million active social media subscribers and 300 million active Internet users, social media is literally influencing all facets of Africa’s livelihood. This is remarkable in the growth of ecommerce, online entertainment, civic engagements and the outstanding convergence of traditional and new media across the continent.

The continent also boosts of over 700 million mobile phones. Little wonder the continent is referred to as the mobile continent.

To this end, the Social Media Africa Initiative, parent initiative to the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA, is hosting a continent-wide virtual event to commemorate the 2015 Social Media Day from an African perspective with global ambience.

The Social Media Day has never been celebrated in Africa and an all-day Tweet Chat to deliberate on Social Media appreciation, relevance and the African reality (eCommerce, Entertainment & Creative Industry, Governance and Leadership, Banking, amongst others) has been planned. The event will also feature interesting meet-up sessions and historical review of the growth and evolution of social media in Africa.

PATTERN

The TweetMeet is segmented into 7 sessions, with each session running for an average of two (2) hours. Each session will be moderated by a proficient social media personality whilst having at least two competent individuals as guest/authority on each subject line. Questions, interventions and other engagements will not be exclusive to the moderator as the general public can also have their say.

VENUE: TWITTER (SYNDICATED TO OTHER MAJOR PLATFORMS)

TIME: 9.00 – 21.00 GMT

PASS: #SMDAYAFRICA (Global hashtag is #SMDay)

No matter where you live, you can celebrate with us! Learn how to make Social Media Day official in your city, and follow @sma_africa on Twitter for #SMDayAfrica updates.

Download ToolKit Here

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Meet the digital natives trailblazing internet use in Africa: 6 facts you need to know

In 1998 there were less than 2 million mobile subscription in Africa. Today there are over 630 million.

Photo from an MTN Zambia ad making the point that the young ones have crashed the digital party.
Photo from an MTN Zambia ad making the point that the young ones have crashed the digital party.

THE United Nations recently observed “Safer Internet Day”, joining the global call for child online safety. It is a call driven partly by the fact that creatures known as “digital natives” will double in the developing world, growing from 22.8% to 53% of young Internet users.

These are worries that were inconceivable in Africa just 20 years ago.

In the late 1990s, Africa was in the throes of a privatisation spree, particularly in the telecoms market. Five countries privatised their telecom operators between 1996 and 1997 – Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Ghana, Senegal and South Africa – compared to just one privatisation in 1990-1995.

Fifteen new private mobile cellular companies started up operations between 1995 and 1997. Ghana awarded its second network operator licence in 1996 to ACG Telesystems, a consortium led by Western Wireless of the United States. Around the same time, Uganda awarded a second network operator— the MTN Uganda consortium— a full service license including cellular.

In Kenya, a local company called Kencell – which would later go through three turbulent rebrandings and burn through nearly a dozen CEOs in just over a decade – had just clinched the country’s first mobile operator license.

We all know how the story unfolds: mobile takes Africa by storm, with a compounded annual growth rate in subscriptions growing at 2,000% in a decade.

At the start of Africa’s mobile revolution in 1998, there were less than 2 million mobile subscriptions, says data from the African Development Bank (AfDB), and 86% of these were in South Africa. By 2008, South Africa’s “market share” had been whittled down to 18%, and today, latest data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) indicates that there are 630 million mobile subscriptions on the continent.

In that time, there is a generation that has grown up with no inkling of what the world was like before mobile phones, or the Internet. Meet the “digital natives”, defined as a young person between the ages of 15 and 24 with five years or more experience using the Internet.

1. About 5.2% of the world population is considered to be digital native, shows latest data from the ITU in a report titled Measuring the Information Society 2013. It may seem like a tiny fraction, but the overall figure masks great variations between and within nations, from a low of 0.13% to a high of 16%.

Where the online population is concerned, youth are clearly overrepresented, so when we take digital natives as a proportion of youth, globally the figure shoots up to 30%. The global leader is South Korea, where virtually all young people – 99.6% – are digital natives.

2. In Africa, the fraction of youth said to be digital native is about 9.2%. Morocco’s youth are in the lead, with nearly half of young people aged 15-24 (45.8%) in 2012 being digital natives, followed by Mauritius (42.8%), Tunisia (36.7%), and Egypt (34.9%).

But position five is a country you may have written off, for its abysmal economic performance in the past fifteen years. It’s Zimbabwe, with fully 25% of its young people considered digital natives, ahead of more prosperous countries like South Africa (18.6%), Nigeria (16%), or Kenya, that gets much of Africa’s IT accolades and is angling to be the continent’s “Silicon savannah” – about 18% of Kenya’s youth are considered digital natives.

A country will have a high percentage of digital natives if it has relatively high levels of youth and at least medium levels of Internet use; high levels of Internet use; or some combination of the two.

Having a big youth bulge, and a large rural population, tends to bring this figure down, such as in Nigeria.

3. Digital nativism is correlated with secondary, and especially tertiary education levels. Zimbabwe is Africa’s most literate country, so that makes its reading habits (and by extension, its media and information-seeking habits) rather insulated from the day-to-day vagaries of the economy.

Read More Here

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Your Mileage May Vary: How Often You Should Post to Social Media

1 minute read

 

Have you ever woken up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night wondering exactly how many posts you should be making to Pinterest to get the most engagement, or why you shouldn’t be make more than three tweets per day?

Ok, that may just be another thing that only keeps me up at night, but knowing exactly how many Facebook posts you should make per day is endlessly fascinating (and useful) information to most people who are active on social media.

So, to make all this data digestible and easy to understand, we partnered with our awesome friends over at Buffer to produce an infographic that shows the ideal posting number for all the major social media networks. Check it out below!

how-often-post-social-media-infographic

Source: SumAll

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Here’s how to stop looking at your phone every five seconds

We’re drowning in screens.

Kids under the age of eight use screens for 2 hours a day. Preteens and teens (from ages eight to 18) an average of 7.5 hours. Adults stare into the light an average of eight and a half hours a day.

You know. We got problems.

According to the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, we tend to check our phones 150 times a day. In an international poll taken by Time magazine, one in four people check their phone “every 30 minutes, 1 in 5 people every 10 minutes.”

The distraction has consequences.

WYNC, America’s largest public radio station, has found that creativity is diminishing because the boredom in which we used to think of great ideas has been taken over by scrolling and tapping. Some of those services we use on our phones have become more addictive than alcohol or cigarettes, and make us feel worse about ourselves even when we use them. Not to mention, when we use them at night, the light from our screens can ruin our sleep.

But don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s difficult to tear our eyes away. Not only are the apps intentionally addictive, but the maintenance of our digital lives — what I call digital chores — demands our time. Software updates must be downloaded and installed (last year, Chrome had eight different version updates, while iTunes had nine), passwords reset (don’t forget to do it every 30 days), and notifications attended to (active Quora users get 150 to 500 a day).

On top of it all, although manufactured with micro-precision by specialized robots, those beautiful metal-accented buttons and cutting-edge industrial designs are terrible in the real world: even though people in UK and the US replace their smartphones every 22 months, on average, one in four iPhones still has a broken screen.

I say, let’s keep them hidden and safe. Stop taking your phone out every five minutes.

There are psychological tricks. Keeping your phone in your bag instead of your pocket can reduce usage. Keeping it out of your bedroom can reduce temptation at night. Services like f.lux and Twilight can alter the color temperature to diminish a computer screen’s effect on your sleep.

But we can also make brilliant technology that doesn’t rely on screens.

We tend to focus on what we can see, but the hidden stuff – the processors, sensors, radios, and other internal components of our smartphones – have made exponential improvements that allow for a new era in computing: a screenless future. Instead of depending on the dated paradigm of a graphical user interface — fundamentally unchanged since the late 1970s — our powerful computers could do far more independently, and finally stop bothering us with requests and notifications.

Let your phones do the work without you. New technology can rescue today’s screen zombies: Web app Unroll.me can automatically compile promotional emails into a single digest to save you on email time. Dropbox’s Carousel can automatically backup your photos and remove them from your phone to save you space. TripIt automatically syncs your calendar with your flights so you don’t have to enter them manually.

But to start to see the real potential of a screenless world, grab IFTTT(and maybe even a sister app like LIFTTT). By creating triggers — for example, leaving the GPS location of your workplace — you can create recipes that take action automatically — text my wife that I’m on my way home — without ever taking your phone out of your pocket.

If you have Android, you can tweak further with apps like Trigger (which has over 1 million downloads) that can run a variety of tasks from a mix of triggers. It even allows NFC extensions, so you can use a radio connection instead of 20 taps to send a simple message.

While these hacker-type services are available for simple actions today, others are more complex systems that understand your needs and automatically start solving problems. Cameras installed in the rafters of NBA stadiums can now study player movements and alert team physicians when someone is likely hurt, injured or tired.

Smartphone screens have engrossed us in awful ways, but by utilizing the amazing tiny computers that they are, you can start your journey towards what I hope will eventually become a screenless world.

You can stop looking at your phone now.

Source: QZ.COM

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The Rise of the Digital Leader

The worldwide reality is that only about 13% of the workforce is actively engaged, while the rest are just at work, doing what they need to be doing, so they don’t get their arses fired! A few of the workforce are also actively disengaged and this means they are at work to see how they can bring the organisation to it’s knees and this could be for many reasons. Perhaps they were unfairly treated, harassed by a senior employee or they have been bribed by the competitors to divulge strategic information.

leadership-tag-cloud

Enter the Digital Leader … What on earth is a Digital Leader?

A digital leader is a person who is connected and realises that they have a personal responsibility to represent themselves as a brand (personal branding). This example of representing yourself is the way you will influence others. If you can be consistent at representing yourself you will be successful and ultimately your organisation will see you as valuable and allow you to represent them (strong brands are made up of strong personal brands).

This happens when you personally use the ‘ORS* – Open, Random and Supportive’ networking communication style as opposed to the institutional ‘CSC – Closed, Selective and Controlling’ – we’ll tell someone else what to say style.

I don’t need to explain the negative ‘CSC’ and will rather focus on how leaders can be more pro-active using ‘ORS – Open, Random and Supportive’.

OPEN 

Remember the old ‘open door policy’? DO you communicate in such a way that others will gladly engage with you or are you so academic and opinionated that others feel intimidated by you, if you not getting interaction and no one is telling you this and you not getting any criticism it may just be time to ask those closest to you, ask your partner if you have allowed them to be honest with you in the past. If you have never allowed them to be honest with you, then that is a clear indicator that you need help.

This approach to open communication is about listening more than it is talking, you need to listen to understand. Look for the possibilities of seeing the strengths in others and allowing them to say what they need to say. You will be amazed at how quickly people become engaged when you release your need to be heard.

RANDOM

Allow people to express themselves and remember everyone has 5 primal needs: Discovery, Directions, Disruption, Distraction and Declaration. They will say what they want and need to say if you give them the platform to do this. If your leadership style does not recognise people and what they need to say, you may need to rapidly unlearn some of your bad habits.

Release your need to micromanage people, micromanagement is for products not people. You will find innovation lives in this randomness, the expression and collaboration that comes through this will amaze you.

SUPPORTIVE

Your need to control things comes from the processes and your beliefs about how things should be. As mentioned you can use all your micromanagement skills on whatever it is you are producing, but support your people and you will probably find that you won’t have to do so much micromanaging after all.

In this world of ‘ORS’ you will find that people have a need to be in community with each other and this needs brings them closer, once they are closer they tend to regulate themselves as ‘no one wants to let the team down’.

You will find that you have more time to do the things you wanted to do. As a leader you need time to dream and visualise and get a clear focus of where you are taking your team of followers.

Have a wonderful Open, Random and Supportive Day.

* The ORS and CSC are phrases that @ThomasPower uses regularly.

Source: Rich Simmonds

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‘Most-followed’ Africans on Twitter

Twitter mirrors a very diverse Africa. Egypt is very serious on it, and in the rest of Africa the stars are not what you would ordinarily expect.

FACEBOOK and Instagram went down early Tuesday morning as a major snowstorm hit the Northeast of the US. There were reports that Tindr and Hipchat were also down. Users worldwide were affected by the outage, and many took to Twitter – where else? –  to express their outrage and poke fun at social media sites in general.

You would think that, given Africa’s high-stakes, cutthroat political arena, where a portrait of the president – as a symbol of his power – still adorns business premises and public offices,  African presidents suffered the most loss of visibility on social media in the outage, because they are the most influential individuals on the continent. Not so, says Twitter.

Looking at the Africans with the most followers on Twitter – excluding companies and organisations – reveals that the attention of tweeting Africans is not on their political leaders, but on their musicians, comedians, models and sports stars.

Kenya, Rwanda odd men out

The only African countries in which the president is the personality who has the most followers on Twitter is Rwanda (Paul Kagame has 787,000 followers) and Kenya (Uhuru Kenyatta has 716,000 followers).

And, Burkina Faso, until recently, before they kicked Blaise Compaore out.

The African with the most followers on Twitter at 3.7 million is Egyptian satirist and TV host Dr Bassem Youssef. A former heart surgeon, he hosts the hugely popular Al-Bernameg satirical news show; in 2013, he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Egyptians make up nine of the top ten “most-followed” Africans on Twitter, dominated by political activists, politicians and civil society leaders.

That makes Egypt unique in Africa, underscoring just how much Egyptians are wired, and how big a role social media plays in driving Egyptian society – and perhaps also that social media thrives where there is repression.

The one non-Egyptian who edges into the top ten isn’t a musician, politician, model or footballer.

20-year-old South African Twitter king

He’s a 20-year-old South African named Caspar Lee with 2.32 million followers, who has built his celebrity status entirely on the Internet, posting short videos on YouTube.

His first video was in 2010 when he was aged 16, a funny video of himself in the bath talking in an exaggerated South African accent.

Today, he’s barely out of his teens, and his YouTube channel Caspar has 3.6 million subscribers and over 160 million video views.

French-speaking Africa tweets much less than Arabic and English-speaking Africa does, perhaps not so much because of the language per se but because of relatively poor communications infrastructure in Francophone Africa.

But one thing French-Africa does produces much of is internationally successful footballers, and so football stars tend to dominate their respective countries’ most followed lists, including Samuel Eto’o in Cameroon (729,000), Didier Drogba in Cote d’Ivoire (521,000), Frederic Kanoute in Mali (213,000) and Emmanuel Adebayor in Togo (137,000).

Even in Liberia, two football stars are the most followed on Twitter – Ola John, with 31,000 followers who plays for Benfica in Portugal, and Darlington Nagbe with 12,000 followers, who plays for Portland Timbers in the US’ Major League  Soccer.

Egyptian Bassem Youssef, the king of Twitter in Africa. He's a former cardiac surgeon turned political satirist and TV host. (Photo: Flickr/ Hossam el-Hamalawy).

Egyptian Bassem Youssef, the king of Twitter in Africa. He’s a former cardiac surgeon turned political satirist and TV host. (Photo: Flickr/ Hossam el-Hamalawy).

 The Morocco surprise

The only African country where all top three of its most followed are women, surprisingly, is in Morocco. The three are celebrated musicians and pop stars – Salma Rach (688,000), Sofia Essaidi (202,000), and Shatha Hassoun (177,000).

It seems that although Moroccans may be conservative in some ways, when it comes to their music and culture, women have all the room to be superstars.


Intriguingly, the most followed person in Zimbabwe is a Muslim preacher, Ismail bin Musa Menk, who’s the Grand Mufti of Zimbabwe. With 450,000 followers drawn from Zimbabwe and around the world, his tweets aren’t overtly Islamic in tone, instead, they read like motivational quotes and pop wisdom, the kind that everyone can agree with.

Sample this from January 21: “Once in a while, it pays to get out of your comfort zone; perhaps spend time with new friends. It may open your eyes to how lucky you are.”

Opposition owns Tanzanian Twitterdom

And Tanzania and Uganda stand out too. Tanzania is the only country to have an opposition politician as its most followed person on Twitter.

Zitto Ruyagwa Kabwe, 38, is member of parliament for Kigoma North and chairman of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee with 219,000 followers. A vigorous shadow finance minister, Kabwe has tabled several damning reports in parliament detailing high-level corruption in President Jakaya Kikwete’s administration.

He had been widely tipped to be the main opposition party’s candidate in this year’s election, but fell out with the top leadership of the Chadema party that accused him of plotting to topple party chairman Freeman Mbowe.

In Uganda, it’s a businessman

And Uganda stands out for having a businessman as its most followed personality on Twitter, Ashish J. Thakkar with 723,000 followers. Thakkar’s family was forced to leave Uganda with the 1972 Asian explusion ordered by Idi Amin, he was thus born in Leicester, UK in 1981.

But in the 1990s his family returned to Africa, to Rwanda, only to be flee again with the 1994 genocide. After escaping Rwanda, the family settled once again in Uganda.

As a teenager, he began selling computers and accessories in Uganda, and that was the beginning of his hugely successful company Mara Group.

Today, Mara Group operates in 21 African countries, a diversified business with interests as wide-ranging as telecoms infrastructure, packaging manufacture, hotels, conference centres and shopping malls, a paper mill, and thousands of acres of prime agricultural land.

At just 31, he’s been called “Africa’s youngest billionaire” . To help the next generation of entrepreneurs, he also runs a social enterprise called the Mara Foundation, which provides mentoring and other support to people starting their own businesses.

 

Source: Mail & Guardian Africa

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#SMAA: WINNERS EMERGE AS THE SOCIAL MEDIA AWARDS AFRICA HOSTS NIGHT OF VIRTUAL WONDERS

Last weekend, Nigeria hosted Africa at the maiden edition of The Social Media Awards Africa, #SMAA where fifteen winners emerged from 43 finalists at the event tagged ‘a Night of Virtual Wonders’, representing all the regions of the continent except Central Africa.

The #SMAA Winners include: Ben Kiruthi, Kenya – Blogger of the Year, Michael Hlatshwayo, South Africa Social Media Hero and Jimi Tewe, Nigeria – Twitter Handle of the Year. Others are: Barefootlaw, Uganda – Facebook Page of the Year, The Love Tour, Kenya – Influencer of the Year, Republic of Rwanda Ministry of Youth and ICT Rwanda, Best Use by Government/Public Sector, DHL Africa – Best Use by Private Sector, Stand to End Rape, Nigeria – Best Use by Non-Profit. In other categories, Adforumco, Nigeria won the Best Use by Start-up/MSME, KCB Group, Kenya – Best Use by Financial Institution, Afrinolly, Nigeria – App of the Year, #TheNiteTalk, Kenya – Hashtag of the Year, Raha 2.0, Tanzania – Brand of the Year and Nigeria Trade Hub, Nigeria – Best Rated Platform.

Jimi Tewe (M) - Nigeria, receiving the Twitter Handle of the Year Award Plaque.

Jimi Tewe (M) – Nigeria, receiving the Twitter Handle of the Year Award Plaque.

BarefootLaw (L) - Uganda receiving the #SMAA Facebook Page of the Year Award Plaque

BarefootLaw (L) – Uganda receiving the #SMAA Facebook Page of the Year Award Plaque

Winners of the award were rewarded with the one-of-a-kind #SMAA plaque, $1,000 USD prize money, all-expense-paid trip to Nairobi for training with the Africa Media Initiative (AMI) amongst other opportunities and benefits.

One of the finalists who was conspicuously absent is currently serving a 1-year sentence for a Facebook post adjudged to be defamatory, Tunisian Blogger and Activist, Yassine Ayari emerged The #SMAA Social Media Personality of the Year at the just concluded awards ceremony tagged, Night of Virtual Wonders; which held in Lagos, Nigeria last weekend.

One of Ayari’s friends contacted the #SMAA Secretariat and Convening team in an email dated December 26, 2014 to formally notify the conveners of Yassine’s inability attend the awards ceremony due to his trial. Ayari was first sentenced to 3-years in prison albeit in absentia, for criticizing the Tunisian Defence Minister through a Facebook Post. His lawyers appealed the judgment but Ayari was later sentenced to a year in prison by a superior court of law.

The #SMAA Conveners, Development Diaries Ltd/GTE; condemn in strongest terms the actions of the Tunisian Government and re-affirm that the Right to Free Speech is a fundamental Human Right which must not be suppressed or stifled.

Ben Kiruthi (L) - Kenya, receiving the #SMAA Blogger of the Year Award Plaque

Ben Kiruthi (L) – Kenya, receiving the #SMAA Blogger of the Year Award Plaque

DHL Africa (M) receiving the #SMAA Private Sector Award Plaque.

DHL Africa (M) receiving the #SMAA Private Sector Award Plaque.

On another surprising note, three of the continent’s favourites earlier tipped to clinch awards, Xtian Dela from Kenya and Japheth Omojuwa from Nigeria; both with 3 nominations and Vodafone Ghana with 2 nominations across different awards did not emerge winners in all nominations despite overwhelming support from fans and followers.

The Social Media Awards Africa, #SMAA is poised to recognize and reward excellence, creativity and impact in the use of social media tools and platforms by individuals and organizations in Africa. This year, 15 awards across 4 categories recorded over 3,000 entries accounting for about 923 nominations from 26 African countries were received From September 30 – November 28, 2014 when the nomination window was open.

The #SMAA judging process follows a set of criteria: Influence, Originality, Scalability, Creativity and Impact and observed a three-step process which commenced with call for nominations across the continent. After this phase, a virtual council reviewed all entries and shortlisted to 10 Nominees per Award. The nominees were adjudged by their responses on the above-listed criteria. To proceed to the final stage, cumulative scores from amassed votes and Jury scores (each accounting for 50%) was collated. The nominee with the highest average cumulative score emerged winner of the corresponding #SMAA Award.

Afrinolly (M) Nigeria, receiving the #SMAA App of the Year Award Plaque

Afrinolly (M) Nigeria, receiving the #SMAA App of the Year Award Plaque

The event lived up to its billing as a Night of Virtual Wonders with a fantastic treat of inspiration, and a glamorous blend of music, dance, comedy, stunts and other artistic displays and competitions. The guests, many of whom were visiting Nigeria for the first time, were thrilled by Award-winning performers such as songstress Yemi Alade; enchanting vocalist Timi Dakolo; Award-winning R&B-turned-Gospel artiste, Obiora Obiwon; South African Best Selling Music Star, Simphiwe Dana; Jazz Star; Kunle Ayo; DVD the Comedia and DJ Jimmy Jatt. The Lead anchors were Beat FM’s OAP, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi and Kelvin Igbodo whilst Award-winning Denrele Edun and Chigolicious MC supported with hilarious stints to promote the #SterlingSelfie Contest.

Yemi Alade giving Africa the Johnny melody at the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA ceremony.

Yemi Alade giving Africa the Johnny melody at the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA ceremony.

DJ Jimmy Jatt spinning the African audience to good music. #SMAA

DJ Jimmy Jatt spinning the African audience to good music. #SMAA

Nigerian Gospel Music-star, Obiora Obiwon and the Rebirth Band kick started the event with the powerful #SMAA Theme Song entitled, ‘One Voice’. And in a very rhythmic transition, he sang some popular inspirational songs – all with a gospel undertone. Then, he wrapped his very vocal performance with hit track ‘Testify’ supported by electrifying dance routines from Alien Nation, which left the captive audience begging for more.

Lead Anchors, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi of Beat FM, Official Radio Partner, #SMAA and Kelvin Igbodo of Corporate Communications Unit of Sterling Bank welcomed guests to the Night of Virtual Wonders cracking them up with jokes about Pen Pals, Hi 5 and old social media platforms and the use of social media to verify blind dates or dating interests.

Voice Maestro, Timi Dakolo serenaded the audience with his hit song, ‘Iyawo Mi’ after which he left them spell bound with ‘Great Nation’ to make way for a few remarks from Sponsors, Conveners and Jury. With a short word from the #SMAA Sponsors, Sterling Bank Plc.; represented by Shina Atilola, Group Head, Strategy & Communications; Duncan Onyango, East Africa Director, Acumen Fund shared his experiences and key learning outcomes from the #SMAA Judging processes. Femi Aderibigbe, Project Lead, #SMAA and Co-Founder, Development Diaries Ltd/GTE explained to the guests the inspiration for creating the #SMAA at a time like this for the continent.

Timi Dakolo thrills the award audience to some soulful melody.

After the speeches, the awards came in batches with the first four (4) award presentations. DVD the Comedian thrilled the guests with a few local and African-themed jokes and another round of presentations were made to deserving finalists.

The night’s surprise package emerged when Award-winning On-Air Personality, Denrele Edun and Chigolicious, a fast-rising female compere presented the #SterlingSelfie Segment encouraging guests to take and promote selfies in order to win exciting prizes.

Denerele Edun and Chigo, dominated the stage with exciting audience engagement banters. #SMAA

#SMAA Lead Sponsors, Sterling Bank promoted a competition to find the most exciting selfie using the hashtag, #SterlingSelfie. All through the night, guests took selfies and encouraged their friends to like and promote their images for a chance to win prizes. Two (2) guests emerged winners at the end of the event and each took home a tablet device courtesy the bank.

And then it was time to welcome on stage Simphiwe Dana, South African Award-winning & Best Selling Songstress. She performed songs from her album, Firebrand accompanied by strings from the guitar by Award-winning Jazz Artiste, Kunle Ayo.

With more award presentations to the excitement of the audience as it seemed as though #TeamKenya had clinched many more awards than all other represented countries, it was time to welcome Yemi Alade. Her electrifying performances of hit singles, ‘Kissing’, ‘Johnny’ and ‘Marry Me’, wrapped the performances for the night with many guests singing and dancing along. Yemi Alade showed the visiting guests how to party the Nigerian way.  Immediately after Yemi Alade’s powerful performance, DJ Jimmy Jatt; one of the continent’s most respected Disc Jockeys showed why he is a veteran as he spun hit track after hit track compelling many more guests to take to their feet.

Far into the night, it was time to deliver the vote of thanks and Emilia Asim – Ita, Co-Founder of Development Diaries Ltd/GTE did justice to her note of gratitude to the admiration of all guests. She thanked #SMAA Lead Sponsors, Partners, Event Vendors, Performers, and key individuals who were outstanding in upholding the vision of the #SMAA to its successful birth.

As the Lead Anchors returned to bid farewell, guests were waiting to continue the treat from the wheels of DJ Jimmy Jatt as the Night of Virtual Wonders climaxed.

Prior to the awards ceremony, finalists, Jury Members and other Social Media professionals had converged for the maiden edition of the Social Media Africa Summit with the theme: Social Media for Governance, Leadership and Development. The event featured inspiring presentations by many speakers and experts Rich Simmonds, Author, Mug & Tweet and Communications Expert; Thebe Ikalafeng, Chairman, Brand Leadership South Africa & Brand Africa and Ojoma Ochai, Arts Director, British Council.

The #SMAA was presented by Sterling Bank and supported by: African Media Initiative (AMI), AIESEC AfricaWest African NGO Network (WANGONET)Beat FMFan Milk Nigeria, Enplug Africa, Zisat, Trace TV, and ONTV.

#SMAA Jury: Founder and Executive Chairman, African Leadership Academy, Fred Swaniker; Chief Executive Officer, African Media Institute, Eric Chinje; Founder, kiwanja.net, Ken Banks; Director Operations, Mara Group of Companies, Hetal Shah; Vice President, VAS, Airtel Nigeria, Francis Ebuehi; Chief, New Technologies and Innovation, UNECA, Dr. Kasirim Nwuke; Director, Legal and Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Africa, Louis Onyango Otieno; Founder and Chairman, Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng; Executive Director, Strategy and Finance, Sterling Bank Plc, Abubakar Suleiman; Chief Operating Officer, Popimedia, South Africa, Ryan Silberman; Communications Co-ordinator, Royal African Society, London, Dele Fatunla; Founder, Dragon Africa, Obi Asika; East Africa Director, Acumen, Duncan Onyango; Special Adviser Communication Technology Development – Cross River State Government, Odo Effiong; External Relations Lead, IBM West Africa, Muyiwa Moyela and Nigeria Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Udo Jude Ilo.

#SMAA Advisory Board: Executive Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Abdul Tejan-Cole; Co-founder and CEO Crowdcentric, Toby Daniels; Lead Consultant/CEO, ThistlePraxis Consulting, Ini Onuk; Executive Director, West African NGO Network, Tunji Lardner and Head of Social Anthropology University of Cape Town, Prof. Francis Nyanmojoh.

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#SMAA: WINNERS EMERGE IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA AWARDS AFRICA

15 nominees have emerged winners of the maiden Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA.

At the award ceremony tagged, ‘Night of Virtual Wonders’ in Lagos, Nigeria,  15 winners – from the 43 finalists representing all the 5 regions of the African continent except Central Africa – emerged at the maiden edition of The Social Media Africa Awards.

#SMAA Finalists 2

Finalists just before the Award ceremony.

Award winners are: Ben Kiruthi, Kenya – Blogger of the Year, Ayari Yassine, Tunisia – Social Media Personality of the Year, Michael Hlatshwayo, South Africa, Social Media Hero, Jimi Tewe, Nigeria – Twitter Handle of the Year, Barefootlaw, Uganda – Facebook Page of the Year, The Love Tour, Kenya – Influencer of the Year, Republic of Rwanda Ministry of Youth and ICT Rwanda, Government/Public Sector, DHL Africa – Private Sector, Stand to End Rape, Nigeria – Non-Profit, Adforumco, Nigeria – Start-up/MSME, KCB Group, Kenya – Financial Institution, Afrinolly, Nigeria – App of the Year,  #TheNiteTalk, Kenya – Hashtag of the Year, Raha 2.0, Tanzania – Brand of the Year,  Nigeria Trade Hub, Nigeria – Best Rated Platform.

Ben Kiruthi(L), Kenya, being presented with the 'Blogger of the Year' Award by Rich Simmonds and Ini Onuk #SMAA

Ben Kiruthi(L), Kenya, being presented with the ‘Blogger of the Year’ Award Plaque by Rich Simmonds and Ini Onuk #SMAA

Three of the continent’s favourites earlier tipped to clinch awards, Xtian Dela from Kenya and Japheth Omojuwa from Nigeria; both with 3 nominations and Vodafone Ghana with 2 nominations across different awards did not emerge winners in all nominations despite overwhelming support from fans and followers.

Denerele Edun and Chigo, dominated the stage with exciting audience engagement banters. #SMAA

Denrele Edun and Chigo, dominated the stage with exciting audience-engaging banters. #SMAA

The Social Media Awards Africa, #SMAA is poised to recognize and reward excellence, creativity and impact in the use of social media tools and platforms by individuals and organizations in Africa. This year featured 15 awards across 4 categories which recorded over 3,000 entries accounting for about 923 nominations.

DJ Jimmy Jatt spinning the Africa to good music at the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA ceremony..

Denerele Edun and Chigo, dominated the stage with exciting audience engagement banters. #SMAA

The #SMAA was presented by Sterling Bank and supported by: African Media Initiative (AMI), AIESEC AfricaWest African NGO Network (WANGONET)Beat FMFan Milk NigeriaZisat,Trace TV, and ONTV.

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Here They Are: Winners of The Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA

1. Blogger of the Year

Ben Kiruthi @Benkiruthi Kenya

2. Social Media Personality of the Year

Ayari Yassine @yassayari Tunisia

3. Social Media Hero

Michael Hlatshwayo @big_MIKE_ayooba South Africa

4. Facebook Page of the Year

Barefootlaw @BarefootlawUG Uganda

5. Twitter Handle of the Year

Jimi Tewe @jimitewe – Nigeria

6. Influencer of the Year (LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram)

The Love Tour KE @slumphotography Kenya

7. Government/Public Sector

Republic of Rwanda Ministry of Youth and ICT Rwanda @myictrwanda

8. Private Sector

DHL Africa @DHLAfrica Kenya

9. Non-ProfiT

Stand to End Rape @StandtoEndRape Nigeria

10. Start-up/MSME

Adforumco @adforumco Nigeria

11. Financial Institution

KCB Group @KCBGroup Kenya

12. App of the Year

Afrinolly @Afrinolly Nigeria

13. Hashtag of the Year

#TheNiteTalk @Lt_Caesa Kenya

14. Brand of the Year

Raha 2.0 @rahaFIBER Tanzania

15. Best Rated Platform

Nigeria Trade Hub @Nigeriatradehub Nigeria

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