Digital Citizens Indaba 2007 announced at Rhodes University

My friend Henry Addo notified me of this event via the African Bloggers Group. The Digital Citizens Indaba, which is a Blogging Conference, will take place again this year from 9-11 September 2007.

Last year I was a speaker at last year’s event. There was a lot of talk about blogging being used to for activism and the now stale debate on blogging vs journalism. There were several international speakers like Ethan Zuckerman, co-founder of Global Voices and Emeka Okafor, program director of the TEDGlobal 2007 conference. There was a very small focus on blogging for business and so I sincerely hope they will bring more of that into it this year. If we really want to make an impact with blogging we need to get more companies in Africa to use it as a tool.

On Tuesday this week I did another one of my blogging seminars for Douglas Green, a very big wine and spirits company in SA with distribution in Europe and America. They are reeling with possibilities based on the Stormhoek success. And I helped them see these possibilities more clearly.

Perhaps the most important thing we need to do is to help individual Bloggers , especially those from other African countries, make money or generate an income or get some consulting work for themselves from their blogs. It certainly works for me here in South Africa. And I can say once again that my experience at TEDGlobal in Tanzania has taught me how fortunate we really are here in South Africa. My friend and mentor, Tony Roocroft, makes more then R1 million per annum from over 100 websites even with the high prices of Internet and broadband costs.


South Africa's first Blogging Conference

Ramon Thomas @ Africa's 1st Blogging ConferenceThe conference has been a long time coming. And being a blogger myself I just had to attend. Because it is such an excellent niche topic “blogging” this conference will grow in popularity in the coming years. I applaud the people from New Media Lab @ Rhodes University’s School of Journalist & Media Studies who is responsible for this initiative. There is a need to take this to the masses of entrepreneurs and business people elsewhere in South Africa. And therefor I’m launching the first ever blog marketing training workshop in October.

14 September 2006: Day 1
I missed the welcome and opening by organiser Colin Daniels and Prof Guy Berger, head of Journalism @ Rhodes University. Anyway Ethan Zuckerman opened the conference with a great overview of the state of blogging with particular reference to journalists, the threats and the opportunities. The Editors Panel was slightly enlighting. Chris Roper & Bryan Porter discussed the Naspers/ blogging strategy. The worst presentation of the day for me has to go to Ray Hartley, Sunday Times. This guy should read Seth Godin’s Really Bad Powerpoint. The Web 2.0 panel with Mike Stopforth leading the charge went directly into all the latest technology and briefly discussed the application of it. The problem with Web 2.0 is that its a limiting buzzword that will die out in a few years time as the Internet continues to revolutionise how we do what we do, every single day. Ian Gilfillan spoke very philosophically about technology and it reminded me of the Tao of Programming after he quoted a Zen koan.

After participating in the “speed speaking” session after lunch I skipped the Civil Society panel in the afternoon because I was running out of time to prepare for my present ion the next day. The evening we had a cocktail party in Grahamstown and I was kicking myself for having to leave early and drive back to Uitenhage, where I was staying with my mom.

Download my podcast with Ian Gilfillian from Greenman blog.