Where Africa and Technology Collide!

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Kelele – the African Bloggers Conference

Kelele - the African Bloggers Conference

Kelele, the African Bloggers Conference, was announced today at Barcamp Africa. That event has an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm behind it, and it makes the perfect segue to the next big African community event: Kelele! This event was born out of connections made at TED Global in Tanzania last year, when 25+ bloggers from around Africa were brought face-to-face for the first time.

The specific theme of Kelele ’09 Nairobi is “Beat Your Drum” – which connects the traditional African method of getting your message across vast distances – the talking drums – to the 21st century and the tools we use today, blogs and the Internet. We anticipate that this conference will continue to be called Kelele wherever it is held.

Daudi Were is producing the event, along with an organizing committee of bloggers from all over Africa. This includes Ndesanjo Macha, Dave Duarte, Nii Simmonds, Mshairi, Sami Ben Gharbia, and myself.

Bloggers Representing: Nigeria, Kenya and Madagascar

Why Kelele?

From Daudi:

“Kelele is the Kiswahili word for noise. We are organising a gathering of African bloggers in the tradition of historical African societies where everyone has a voice. With too many voices marginalized, or simply ignored in Africa society today for a variety of reasons, we believe that the internet in general and grassroots media tools such as blogs in particular represent the most powerful way in which to give Africans back their voice. We are gathering to make a powerful, positive, inspirational noise that will be heard across the continent and beyond. KELELE!”

I think we’re at a place saying, if Africans want to do something, then do it. So, let’s do it! Let’s celebrate the cultures we have in Africa and let the conference be a reflection of that. Let’s make it truly African, where the people involved are coming from all 52 countries on the continent and the diaspora. Let’s seed the next generation of bloggers and advocates of open dialogue in Africa – which is why one day will be focused on having the top 100 bloggers around Africa training new bloggers in whichever host country it’s in.

This is a pivotal kind of event that I think will grow each year. The goals are big – REALLY big – and I think we’ll reach them.

Sponsorships and a big Thanks!

Sponsors – We have only begun canvassing for sponsors for Kelele this week. Already, the Berkman Institute at Harvard is on board. If you’d like to join us and be a part of making some real noise in Africa, please get in touch with Daudi, or at main@kelele.org.

A very special thanks goes out to Foxinni and David Kobia for the logo and WordPress design work.

As my friend and fellow organizer, Ndesanjo, puts it: Peace and kelele!

[follow along on Twitter @kelele]

Blogging Tools: IZEAfest talk

I spent this Saturday morning listening to some pretty smart bloggers at IZEAfest in Orlando (Merlin Mann, Loren Feldman, etc.). This afternoon I’m on a panel talking about blogging tools. Below are my notes and slides for that short talk.

Blogging Tools

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: blogging api)

Simplify & Streamline It

If you’re like me, you don’t blog for a living, but you’re trying to blog while you’re living. I need tools and features that simplify my life and make it easy for me to be more effective as I’m doing the day-to-day things that actually run my life. That means I mainly want tools to work in the background, or I want a system coordinated in such a way as to make the work I have to do a lot easier and streamlined. So, it’s a little bit about making things easier and being productive while going about it.

All Things in Moderation

My next consideration is how cluttered additional items make the site look. Your mileage may vary – and it will depending upon your readership, but I like to keep my sidebar clean. Not empty, but with items that are relevant. So, I’m extremely careful about adding a new sidebar item. For me, this rule also applies to the posts themselves, so I’m careful not to add too much before or after the main text as well.

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A Brief Timeline of Blogging Engines

Timeline of Major International Blogging Engines

  • October 1998: Open Diary begins and pioneers reader commenting
  • March 1999: LiveJournal started
  • July 1999: Pitas launches the first free build your own blog web tool.
  • August 1999: Pyra releases Blogger which becomes the most popular web based blogging tool to date, and popularizes blogging with mainstream internet users
  • June 2001: b2Cafelog starts being built by a few unemployed hackers
  • October 2001: Movable Type released
  • August 2003: TypePad launches for the non-technical masses
  • May 2003: WordPress.org begins as a branch of the b2Cafelog code, and quickly becomes the most popular self-hosted blogging engine
  • December 2005: WordPress.com launches
  • July 2006: Microblogging tool Twitter launched
  • October 2006: Vox Released by Six Apart
  • March 2007: Tumblr microblogging tool launches

Sources: I put the above graphic together from the following timeline that I found on Wikipedia, Enterprise blogs and the platform owners blogs.

I’m working on my talk for Where 2.0 next week and am starting to think that there is an analogy between current consumer-facing mapping tools and where we were in the early 2000’s with blogging and journaling tools. Not sure if I’ll even talk about this, but thought the research into blogging engines was worth sharing.

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