OPINION: SMWLagos2013 Day Three – the travails of Diasporans in the hands of Nigeria’s ICT

The third day of Africa’s first Social Media Week was not on the same par as the second day.

Although the sessions began almost on time (just 10 minutes behind schedule), the two morning sessions were at best fair in terms of quality and attendance.

The Eden’s session on health only started with five participants, while few others joined later.

Maybe those that registered but did not show already knew the session would not be intriguing.

The session at best could be described as a health awareness talk and not one focused on bridging the communication gap between the patient and the doctor using social media.

The only social media-related point mentioned was the suggestion made by the Hugh Alies rep that patients can form support groups in order to share knowledge and support each other.

She also mentioned her company’s My Life Care app which could aid First Aid care for its registered users that are in the rural area.

She however failed to mention how much the service costs and current number of users.

Having expected to hear how proud African innovations were connecting patients across the continent, we were only enlightened by Pathcare’s free medical examinations.

The African Diasporans’ session was also disappointing. Streaming a YouTube video recorded in Lagos was not a sensible idea.

Imagine the megabytes wasted in uploading and the funds spent in producing the clip which was then not viewed because of the snail speed bandwidth.

Why did none of the members of the session’s organising team have the video on their IT gadgets? It showed a disconnection with what is going on back home. The theme of the session was on point: Who needs the Diasporans anyway?

The sheer incompetence of the panel was also palpable. Even Africa’s ‘Twitter Queen’, Kathleen Ndongmo (around 8,000 followers), admitted at some point she was not sure she can “do justice to the topic of discussion”.

The technical difficulties with the audio of Professor George Ayitteh, of Free Africa Foundation, who connected with the session via Google Hangout Hookup did not look good either but they got it fixed and the professor came to their rescue with little help from Kwabena Oppong Boateng of Ghana Decides.

The inability of the Diasporans to put up a great show that a Nigeria-based organisation can easily pull off highlights those in the Diaspora are not in any way the geniuses Nigerian job recruiters present them to be.

In reality, they are just like the rest of us, only with foreign dictions.

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