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[STORIFIED] Social Media: Where is Africa? #SMDayAfrica

Yes! Digital and social media is growing globally, but where is Africa on the social media map?

This was the focus of the first session – “Social Media: Where is Africa?” of the maiden Social Media Day Africa celebration.

If you missed the session, here is a storified version of the TweetChat with Social Media Consultant, Chioma  Chuka; Winner, #SMAA Twitter Handle of Year Award, Jimi Tewe and the African Media Initiative, AMI. The session was moderated by #SMAA’s Startup of the Year Winner, AdForumCo.

ENJOY…Social Media: Where is Africa? #SMDayAfrica

Tayo Elegbede
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AFRICA CELEBRATES WORLD SOCIAL MEDIA DAY

June 30 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 an organisation called Mashable, a digital technology company, in 2010 to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. While every day is essentially a social media day, today marks the sixth celebration.

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, BBM, Instagram and a host of other social networking platforms are a next to none work or playground for both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy individuals across the world to explore their lives.

Daily, these networking platforms record a high number of new users, thereby keeping the social media space ever busy with restive timelines.

For sure, the impact of social media, though a relatively — growing space when we focus on the African continent, cannot, and should not be undermined. Social media are growing with Africa and vice-versa.

With over 110 million active social media subscribers and 300 million active Internet users, social media are literally influencing every facet of Africa’s livelihood. This is most notable in ecommerce, online entertainment and civic engagements. They complement the traditional media, thereby forming an outstanding convergence.

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

For the many benefits enjoyed thus far by the people — and the envisaged ones — the Social Media Africa Initiative, parent initiative to the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA, is hosting a continent-wide virtual event to, among others, venerate the 2015 Social Media Day from an African perspective.

The Social Media Day has never been celebrated in Africa and an all-day TweetMeet 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.

The TweetMeet is segmented into seven sessions, with each running for an average of two hours. Each session will be moderated by a proficient social media personality while having at least two competent individuals as guests to examine each subject. Questions, interventions and other engagements will not be exclusive to the moderator as members of the public are expected to contribute.

During the TweetMeet, Africa’s best from across the online and offline will engage diverse issues of interest.

 

The growing reality of social media in Africa leaves the continent with no option but to join the global celebration to evaluate the impact of ever-changing communication while looking forward to harnessing the dividends of the process for the benefit of Africa.

For individuals and organisations that have embraced digital technology and social media, they can join in the global celebration from any part of the world.

First, you can join the global trend via the hashtag #SMDay as well as the Africa hashtag – #SMDayAfrica.

Many leading social media organisations like Mashable and Social Media Africa Initiative have free ‘toolkits’ for individuals and organisations to download and use before and during the celebration.

Another key component of the celebration is a promotional campaign by individuals and organisations through their social media accounts and blogs. By doing this, you will be recognised as an authority in the social media space.

Thirdly, you can take and share pictures of yourself and your team members carrying posters with inscriptions such as happy Social Media Day, Social Media Day Africa, We love social media, among other creative lines.

As Africa celebrates the 2015 Social Media Day, some pertinent issues come to mind, which both users and industry experts must make conscious efforts to address. Some of the challenges are digital illiteracy, cyber security and identity theft. The challenges confronting the African social media and, indeed, the cyberspace are enormously daunting.

It is, however, hoped that with the conscious efforts by policy makers, industry experts and social media influencers, some of the challenges will be addressed. Addressing them is critical to unlocking the potential of social media and making them serve the need of the continent.

Wherever you live, you join the conversation cum celebration on Twitter via #SMDayAfrica. Global hashtag is #SMDay.

Happy Social Media Day!

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Africans unite to #SayNoToXenophobia via social media

Tayo Elegbede – @tayojet1 on Twitter

From South Africa to Nigeria, Kenya to Malawi, Africans across continent are taking to social media platforms to condemn and protest against xenophobic actions in South Africa and generally on the continent. 

In Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, rallies were organised to press home the demands to stop the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The protesters marched to the South African Embassy in the city.

Want to lend your voice to the anti-xenophobic campaign, tweet at us on @sma_africa and use the hashtag #SayNoToXenophobia

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THE 9 MAJOR SOCIAL NETWORKS BROKEN DOWN BY AGE

For most social networks, the 25-34 age group has control, but not by much. Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest fall into this category. Millennials age 18-24 consist of the most users on SmapChat, Vine, and Tumblr. LinkedIn is the odd-one out, with 35-44 year olds leading the way.

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What marketers should take away from this chart is the content they push out on each social network should relate to its key demographic. Posting the same copy and link on twitter does not mean it will perform the same on Facebook or LinkedIn. Businesses should also be inspired by this chart to think outside the box and create content that different age groups will enjoy. There are ways for even the most boring companies to produce engaging content. Yes, even on Vine and SnapChat too!

This also might show marketers that the 65+ crowd is not too strong on social. Rather than spend the time and money to reach 65+ individuals, perhaps other marketing efforts, such as direct mail or email newsletters, are the best option. At the very least, this chart should make marketers think twice about the content they are producing, the channels they are using, and the types of users each social network has.

Source : SocialMediaWeek

 

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What Your Tweets Say About You

How much can your tweets reveal about you? Judging by the last nine hundred and seventy-two words that I used on Twitter, I’m about average when it comes to feeling upbeat and being personable, and I’m less likely than most people to be depressed or angry. That, at least, is the snapshot provided by AnalyzeWords, one of the latest creations from James Pennebaker, a psychologist at the University of Texas who studies how language relates to well-being and personality. One of Pennebaker’s most famous projects is a computer program called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (L.I.W.C.), which looks at the words we use, and in what frequency and context, and uses this information to gauge our psychological states and various aspects of our personality.

Since the creation of the L.I.W.C., in 1993, studies utilizing the program have suggested a close connection between our language, our state of mind, and our behavior. They have shown, for instance, that words used while speed dating can predict mutual romantic interest and desired future contact; that a person’s word choices can reveal her place in a social or professional hierarchy; and that the use of different filler words (“I mean”; “You know”) can suggest whether a speaker is male or female, younger or older, and more or less conscientious. Even the ways in which we use words like “and,” “under,” or “the” can be linked to depression, reactions to stress, social status, cultural norms, gender, and age. “The words we use in natural language reflect our thoughts and feelings in often unpredictable ways,” Pennebaker and his colleague Cindy Chung have written.

Social media seems tailor-made to take this kind of language analysis to the next level. You don’t have to ask for writing samples or diary entries. It’s all already online: tweets, Tumblr posts, and even Instagram captions give researchers access to the language that individuals use on an unprecedented scale. But the world of social-media language analysis is also fraught with difficulties. “The biggest problem with this approach is establishing causality,” Pennebaker said, when I spoke to him last week.

Take a study, out last month, from a group of researchers based at the University of Pennsylvania. The psychologist Johannes Eichstaedt and his colleagues analyzed eight hundred and twenty-six million tweets across fourteen hundred American counties. (The counties contained close to ninety per cent of the U.S. population.) Then, using lists of words—some developed by Pennebaker, others by Eichstaedt’s team—that can be reliably associated with anger, anxiety, social engagement, and positive and negative emotions, they gave each county an emotional profile. Finally, they asked a simple question: Could those profiles help determine which counties were likely to have more deaths from heart disease?

The answer, it turned out, was yes. Counties where residents’ tweets included words related to hostility, aggression, hate, and, fatigue—words such as “asshole,” “jealous,” and “bored”—had significantly higher rates of death from atherosclerotic heart disease, including heart attacks and strokes. Conversely, where people’s tweets reflected more positive emotions and engagement, heart disease was less common. The tweet-based model even had more predictive power than other models based on traditional demographic, socioeconomic, and health-risk factors.

Source: Newyorker

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Has The Digital Video Ecosystem Changed For Good?

The digital landscape is developing at an incredible pace and has been for some time. We’ve witnessed major shifts over the last two years in just about every facet of online video, but particularly in video consumption habits. With the introduction of mobile-first platforms like Vine and Snapchat, YouTube is no longer the go-to destination for online video. Similarly, the days of the lone blockbuster online video have been and gone; now, watercooler moments and massive viral spreads are becoming more and more common. Historically these hits all belonged to YouTube, but now the rapid shift to mobile video has left the Google platform a little out in the cold.

Over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and that’s from a service where video engagement is likely on the decline. In fact, according to the WSJ, YouTube isn’t making Google any money. The engagement drop is partly thanks to Facebook, who recorded some impressive video stats in 2014, including the fact that 65% of all Facebook Video views are now taking place on mobile. 2015 is set to be the year that YouTube either steps up or steps aside. The opportunities of the online video market have become so apparent recently that Twitter, already the owner of a uber-popular video service, Vine, has just launched its own native video product in an attempt to grab a slice of the lucrative video market.

Whilst the numbers associated with YouTube are still mammoth, consumers’ interaction with the service have fundamentally changed. Following in the footsteps of parent company Google, YouTube has become the search engine for video. Viewing statistics continue to soar on YouTube, but more active forms of audience engagement, the kinds that get brands excited, are on the decrease. Users are simply sharing fewer YouTube videos across their social networks.

This is where Facebook Video hits hard. The platform makes content super shareable but in an entirely new way. When a user engages with a video be it by liking, commenting or sharing within a feed, the content is shown to a selection of the engaging user’s friends, rapidly boosting the viral spread of a video. This is an area YouTube really can’t compete in. YouTube is now predominantly a search destination and there’s plenty of real life evidence of this. Here’s just one example:

The Super Bowl, advertising’s biggest annual event, has just been and gone. Here advertisers pay north of $4.5M for a single 30-second ad slot. Whilst most ad spend goes on the aired TV spot, increasingly the exciting bit of the campaign is the social buzz online. What’s made this battle so exciting – besides the ad’s availability on YouTube, is the fact that these spots are shared across the social web, in many cases before the day of the Super Bowl. Nearly all advertisers this year decided that the aired TV spot would NOT act as the ad unveiling.

The days of water-cooler chats on Monday morning after game day are not over, but they’ve changed. Conversation sets alight as soon as the ad drops online. Links to the most popular videos pepper Twitter, Facebook and social feeds – everyone having their say on brand’s controversial, emotional and sometimes even hilarious ads. However, the rise of Facebook Video ads another layer. No longer do videos have to make their way to Facebook, after first being discovered on YouTube. They are now born on Facebook.

Takes this year’s big spot, Budweiser’s #BestBuds ad, launched on YouTube and for the first time on Facebook Video. Though it was the bookies’ early favourite to ‘win’ the ad battle, the numbers that follow may still surprise you.

Just 48 hours after launch, the YouTube instance of the spot had amassed 234,000 shares. That’s impressive by any video standards. However, the Facebook’s video player had attracted an astounding 899,000 shares over the same time period. That’s a difference of a hefty 285%.

This is what I alluded to before – YouTube has now become a video search engine while Facebook is the social hub for 1.3 Billion active users. With the sheer scale of YouTube videos now being uploaded per minute, it’s not hard to see why discovering good content organically by simply visiting YouTube.com has become such a challenge. You heavily rely on word of mouth, a link on an alternative social media platform or a reference to a YouTube video online. In other words, the very factors that Facebook thrives on.

But why are they sharing at such an astronomical rate? Surely it doesn’t matter where the video originates from. Simply, Facebook makes it easy to share a video in its native format. Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm develops rapidly and currently weights video engagement very highly. Any engagement you make with a video, whether it’s a ‘like’, comment or share counts as a positive interaction for Facebook and a good indicator that you and your friends want to see more videos like this.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of YouTube as a video service. I spend hours on there every week, it’s part of my job. Before I get too carried away and put YouTube, a platform with over 1 billion users on the digital shelf, let’s look at other reasons things might not be looking so peachy for the video platform.

There are real overheads to successful YouTube hits. And when I say hits, I mean ‘HITS’ or many millions, not videos that get reported in the news with a few hundred thousand views. Brands looking for cut-through have to spend big to stand a chance. While it’s an awesome place to build a brand, it’s also a horrible place to build a business. If you’re a successful content creator on YouTube, they take a whopping cut of your success. On the other side, if you’re an advertiser it can be very expensive to reach a large, relevant audience. Whilst the likes of Old Spice Man, Poo-Pourri and Dollar Shave Club have had huge brand awareness success using the service, global brands have spent spectacular sums to try and replicate these fortunate brands. Times have changed. To capture attention in this rapidly developing market, video advertising requires a new approach. Now more than ever.

Rather than honing in on YouTube, your effort and attention is much better spent diversified across Facebook Video, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat and the Open Web, in general. After all, YouTube only equates to roughly 25% of video views online, leaving 75% up for grabs on the Open Web.

Furthermore, brands should consider shifting to metrics like ‘minutes watched’ or ‘shares’ as superior measures of branded video success. Many large publishers are already analysing these sorts of metrics as part of their own content development.

YouTube is a platform that lives and dies on one key metric, views. Whilst this has sufficed over the last decade, questions now have to be asked, especially when you can buy views online as easily as buying a new book from Amazon. As a result, both advertisers and viewers have become disillusioned with the efficacy of this metric as a total measure of success. Without accurate figures on broader engagement, a platform begins to stagnate. All that awaits in this current scenario is a whole load of lacklustre content, being promoted desperately by brands looking for attention – and that’s bad news for everyone.

Source: LinkedIn

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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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‘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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The Impact of Social Media on Africa’s Politics

John Oyadougha

Few years ago, only a minute fraction of social observer could picture the current ‘penetrating effect(s) of social media on Africa’s political landscape and structure. Today, the once perceived ‘social play-ground’ is now the hub for strong political discourse and developmental engagement on the politics and policies of Africa.
From Kenya to Botswana, Nigeria to Egypt, social media is setting a new agenda for Africa’s political manoeuvring through active citizens’ engagement and pro-active social consciousness and public connectivity.
In 2013, Kenya held its presidential election which was adjudged free and fair by electoral observers. Whilst Twitter – a fast growing microblogging platform in Africa played a significant role in the outcome of that election which Uhuru Kenyata eventually won, the hashtag #KenyaDecides was helpful before, during and after the election to monitor events, exchange opinions, get update and rally support for choice candidates.
Just like in Kenya, social media played a vital role in the presidential election in Algeria and Tunisia in 2014, Zimbabwe and Mauritius in 2013, amongst other non-presidential elections conducted across different African countries.
To speak or write of the impactful role of social media in Africa’s politics without recourse to Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya etc is to be unfair to history. In the wake of the uprising, Egyptians made use of social media to inform and organise movements for public interest and protest. Social media provided the platform for people who were dissatisfied with the status quo to voice their opinion and gather support for cordinated protest. This finally led to the resignation of the then president, Hosni Mubarak on the 11th of february 2011.
The recent resignation of Burkina Faso’s Blaize Comparee as the country’s president which was first received by the online community, also lends credence to the undeniable force and impact of social media in Africa and its politics.
Today, multitude of socio-political, economic and developmental issues are constantly debated and contested on a number of online platforms by Africans, hence, increasing citizens’ understanding and engagement in political cum policy processes and programmes.
In the coming year, 2015, new vista of political and social media connection will be explored as Africa’s most populous country –#NigeriaDecides amongst other African countries.
One thing has become very clear though, technology is influencing not just the political landscape but all spheres of our lives in Africa and will continue to do so in ways we cant imagine yet control.

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