Plugged into the global euphoria of the 6th Social Media Day, which is annually marked on June 30, Africa for the first time celebrated the Social Media Day with continental pulse using the hashtag #SMDayAfrica.
The Social Media Day Africa #SMDayAfrica celebration is a parallel event with the global Social Media Day launched in 2010 by Mashable – a global technology firm. #SMDayAfrica was organized by the Social Media Awards Africa, #SMAA, as an all-day continent-wide virtual event to commemorate the 2015 Social Media Day from an African perspective with global ambience.
The event which featured eight (8) sessions cutting across diverse sectors and countries of the continent had appearances from leading industry experts with a knack for social media such as Maverick Music Producer, Don Jazzy; HR Expert, Jimi Tewe; Songstress, Simphiwe Dana; Social Commentator, Japheth Omojuwa; Social Media Denizens, Subomi Plumtre and Chioma Chuka; Representatives of the African Media Initiative, AMI; Social Innovators, Yemi Adamolekun and Seun Onigbinde; as well as winners, finalists and nominees of the maiden Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA from across the continent – Ben Kiruthi, Michael Hlatshwayo, Jimi Tewe, Barefootlaw, The Love Tour,Republic of Rwanda Ministry of Youth and ICT, DHL Africa, Stand to End Rape, Adforumco, KCB Group, Afrinolly, #TheNiteTalk, Raha 2.0, Nigeria Trade Hub; amongst other prominent personalities, social media enthusiasts and users across the continent.
The hashtag #SMDayAfrica which started trending in Nigeria within 2 hours of launch had an all-day penetration across Africa reaching over 30million Twitter users.
The celebration also had other events at country-levels with active participations by the online community including #SMAA winners, finalists and nominees in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco.
Opening the conversation on the realities of social media usage and practice in Africa, Chioma Chuka posited that although gradual progress is been made on internet penetration across the continent, yet, more needs to be done on digital penetration and local content generation.
Chioma urged Africans to be conscious to their online existence. HR Expert, Jimi Tewe, explained that social media is a growing component of online recruitment which Africans need to come to terms with.
Don Jazzy and Simphiwe Dana, however had a point of difference on whether or not music artistes need to be signed to a record label, considering the growing popularity of digital collaboration – see conversation here.
Sterling Bank Plc, lead sponsor of the Social Media Awards Africa #SMAA, explained that the future of banking on the African continent is social, which, the bank says it is taking the lead in innovating the path and pattern towards the social media boom.
The innovative #Onecustomer financial institution which has clearly set the pace in social banking, participated actively and engaged stakeholders for an hour’s session entitled: ‘The Social Media Story: Me and My Bank.’
Relating governance with social media practice in Africa, Seun Onigbinde of BudgIT and Yemi Adamolekun of Enough Is Enough, agreed that although social media tools are viable in advancing governance and accountability processes in Africa, they however cannot in isolation pull through on the desired social needs of the continent, hence, the need for offline and online convergence.
Citing emerging trends such as digital jobs and cloud computing, experts raised the need for Africans to acquire requite digital skills in order to be effectively relevant in the globalized world. They also challenged the African continent to influence and develop itself through local content production and distribution.
Subomi Plumtre challenged African businesses to be more social, leveraging the power of cost-effective social media tools and platforms
Wrapping the all-day TweetChat, was the relationship session tagged: E-Relationship: Love through the web. Gist, Gossip and Tips, anchored by #TheNiteTalk – @LtCaezar, winner of the 2014 #SMAA hashtag of the year award.
As the maiden continental celebration of the world Social Media Day, #SMDayAfrica has succeeded in establishing an African perspective to social media, through robust virtual engagement, education and entertainment.
In coming years, it is hoped that the Social Media Day celebration in Africa will be bigger and broader, towards enriching continental good.
Conversations and other activities of the #SMDayAfrica celebration can be followed via: @sma_africa on Twitter or through Storify.