Reflections on 2007 Digital Citizens Indaba

It’s been a week after the 2nd annual DCI event in Grahamstown. This event is a sidekick to the much larger and more established conference Highway Africa. As with all these types of events it’s layered with good intentions. However, the practical side of it sometimes leaves much room for improvement. The highlights were certainly the keynote by Ndesanjo Macha and my friend Daudie Were. During the later sessions Vincent Maher delivered the geekiest presentation I’ve ever seen at a conference. And he’s well on his way to becoming everyone’s favourite geek in South Africa.

There was some miscommunication between DCI organisers and Highway Africa as they initially asked me to conduct some workshop with DCI delegates. I could not track down anyone from Highway Africa to confirm it but based on the programme I realised it was not worth the effort. I had so much more to share with the delegates. My own talk was more aimed at inspiring bloggers to think beyond just writing and specifically how blogging can bolster their careers. Much of the investment is upfront and the pay-off is over the longer term. There are excellent online role models emerging in South Africa with the likes of Laurian Clemence, who spoke with me on the Moneytising and Marketing panel, launching her Wibble project recently.

What I would like to see more of in the future:

  1. Better planning of the sessions – there were some hiccups later in the day and the timing was consistent between breaks. Maybe the lunch venue can be in the same place as the conference venue because there was time lost walking to the lunch venue.
  2. Quality control on presentation – while most speakers were awesome there was not sufficient glue tying things together. I’ve noticed this is symptomatic of conferences i.e. the program directors are not checking the contents of the presentations or taking a few minutes to discuss with the speakers what exactly they will talk about. Just doing this one thing can take the quality of what delegates get out of this to the next level.
  3. Interaction between speakers – it would help if the speakers are able to have a dinner the evening before the event to discuss their topics and create more synergy.
 

Author: RJ Thomas

RJ Thomas is an International Relationship Builder. He was born in South Africa, and moved to China in 2013.

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  • Thanks for your comments, Ramon. We’ve already started putting together some ideas for next year’s DCI and will take your feedback into account. There will definitely be stronger synergies between Highway Africa and DCI and we’ve decided on a more intimate, more appropriate venue (where we’ll also serve lunch!) We did have a welcoming drinks party on Saturday evening this year, which started things off on the right foot. However, we’re thinking that next year, we’ll make it a little more formal.See you then! Anne