Posts Tagged ‘Dave Harte’

Wow! I can’t believe it’s the end of the year already! Feels like yesterday when I rang Nike Coker to tell her I didn’t think I could do this Masters, and she said that as soon as I settled in, the year would run very quickly. Was she right or what? Cos today marks a year of my stay in England, and yes, I’m done with studying!

On the way out (don't remember where)

I’m grateful to a lot of people, who have been there for me this past year; who have gone out of their way to comfort, encourage, tickle, uphold, and ensure that my stay here felt a little more like what I’ve been used to.

I won’t forget today exactly one year ago now, it was drizzling in a very annoying and depressing way. After a pleasant breakfast, my guardian and I headed to Car phone Warehouse where I exchanged £450 for a 9700 (smile if you live in jand), and then she dropped me at the train station to catch something to Birmingham.

Got to Brum about 1pm, it was still raining, and I couldn’t understand why it looked like it was pm; thought they said winter would start in October? My dear friend Andy Madaki had called me a cab from New Street Station; it just didn’t occur to us (especially me) that there were many entrances and exits. Cabbie was at one end calling me, and I was at a different exit, trying not to panic. We didn’t find each other sha so I caught a cab from the station (at twice the cost) and we headed to uni.

I had called the accommodation office before I left London so they were expecting me, only problem was the cabbie and I couldn’t find their office. After an extra 10 minutes of countless U-turns and false starts, he dropped me, graciously didn’t charge any extra, and left. Don’t forget it was raining, I had two suitcases (left a third one in London), and it was my first time in Birmingham.

I finally found the office, got my key, and then trudged to what would be my lodgings for the next year. Fortunately we’d passed the place and because I already knew the house name, it was easy to find. I got there in three minutes. What did I do next? I pushed my boxes to a side of the room, made my bed, climbed into it, and cried myself to sleep. The evening and the morning, the first day.

Taken two days ago, I love it and thought to share!

I’ve come a long way from that dreary day, various highs and lows, exciting and not too exciting days. I just thought I’d mention a couple of things that one year after, I’m grateful for:

  • My church! The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Covenant Restoration Assembly, Perry Barr gives life to the ‘home away from home’ saying. I am particularly indebted to my pastor’s wife, Pastor Mrs Obileye for calling to check on all of us students in the church, scolding, caring, and pushing us to do and be better. God bless you ma!
  • I’m also grateful for my class, and my colleagues. Grateful that somehow, with a Nigerian, an Egyptian, a German, two Britons, one Irish, one Chinese, an Indian, and an Iranian and American at some point, we all managed each other pretty well! It was wonderful meeting all of you, and exchanging knowledge and our diverse experiences. Big thank you to Dave Harte (our award leader) for handling what can rightly be referred to  a mini United Nations assembly!
  • Then, I’m thankful for my friends, extremely grateful for them. To Nike, my bestie Miss Mangut, Tilly, Alkayy, Big Fairy, thank you for helping me not miss Abuja too much! You guys are stronger pillars than you know! To my buddies on various social platforms (especially Twitter), what would I have done without you guys?
  • To Wumi, Simi, my flatmate Mariam, and the rest of the ‘crew’ here in Birmingham, mwah! I still don’t know what I’m going to do when Wumi and Simi leave but it is well! You guys are real, the realest people I’ve met in a while!
  • This is the part where I thank my guardian for being the best! She really is, and her wonderful family have made my stay a lot warmer! Thanks for a beautiful Christmas last year by the way, I won’t ever forget that!
  • To the finest parents in the entire world, Pastor and Pastor Mrs Chuka Agwuegbo, and my one in a million brothers and sister, Ifeanyi, Nnamdi, and Adaora, I love you guys to the moon and back, thank you! To the one and only Aunty Pat, thank you!

Thank you Father for the grace you’ve given which is always available to me. I will never comprehend the depth of your love for me, your faithfulness even when I am unfaithful, and your unfailing mercies. This one’s for you Lord!

To you reading this, thank you! It’s on to the next one!

 

One of them sober (but vain) moments

 

Style Substance Soul » Getting Schooled by Chioma Agwuegbo.

See that above? Whoop whoop!! That’s me featured in Style, Substance, and Soul! I’m so happy!

So let’s rewind a bit, what have I been up to before yesterday?

I’ve been reading, a lot, feels good to read stuff at my own pace and not because I have to hand in a report based on my gleanings from it. I’ve also been doing a bit of writing, and I think I’m at the place where I can put out my work to be judged again!

So I hear five corps members have been abducted (KIDNAPPED) in Rivers State. For real? There’s still something like NYSC? That was a joke, of course NYSC still exists! So these young Nigerians were kidnapped last night about 7.20pm, and the really sad thing is that last year, another five were kidnapped from their hostel! Whatever happened to Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s ‘Death to Kidnappers’ edict? They should find them o, and real quick, I can’t hear about one more dead (or otherwise injured) corps member again! By the way, that’s another reason to Sign The Petition to protect corps members. Have you? Yes? Good. No? What are you waiting for, judgement day? Already jor! Read about the demands here. And yes, I hear the kidnappers are asking for N100million ‘for their troubles’. Are you kidding me?

What else? I’m getting serious with losing weight (like I’ve ever joked about it before, lol) but my girl Wumi and I got something off Boots that’s supposed to dull my appetite a bit, and I think it’s working! Summer bod here I come! That said, I’m however learning that it’s more a conscious application of my will than all the medicines, potions, and shakes in the world; if I don’t eat right, it ain’t gonna happen. Chocolate muffins, I cast you out of my life in Jesus name!

What else have I been up to? In an earlier chronicle I lambasted Nigeria’s now recalled Ambassador to Kenya and Seychelles over the battering of his wife incident. New testimonies from the Ambassador, his son, and a Nigerian Actor (Desmond Elliot) seem to show that even though there was an altercation, the injuries we saw in the news were the product of photo editing software! Now that’s sad, very sad. It’s just made it harder for the next woman who cries out to be listened to. Arrrghh!!! I feel sorry for the children though, who have become ‘famous’ because of this ugly incident, and my thoughts and prayers are with them.

Before I forget, the pictures from my birthday are ready, yay! Thanks to Tomi Oladepo and Karen Kiely who took the lovely pictures, and to everyone who attended (far and near). Again, I’m grateful for the wonderful gifts (that are still pouring in almost three weeks after), mwah! Mwah! Mwah! Here’s a couple of them….

That's one of my birthday cakes, do I love chocolate or what!

That's Femi, Karen, Leonie, and me!!!

Tasting burgers with Kaz and Leonie!

They’re all on my FlickR page, feel free to pop over and feed your eyes!

Moving on, I’m going to Nigeria in a bit!!!! Whoop whoop!!!! I’, so excited, even though it’s still three weeks away, I’m already packed! A full chronicle on that will be out in a bit, so don’t worry!

I’ve been in Coventry since Monday visiting with my darling cousin and getting a break from Uni work, I’ve found out I’m a very big fan of BBC 1’s Weakest Link; Anne Robinson makes my day! I also think I’ll do very well on the show, maybe one of these days I’ll play!

Now, on to very sad news, I cut my finger, and it hurts like hell!! What was I doing? Well, I was cleaning the kitchen, and naturally I had to take out the trash. So, I tied up the bag, and took it outside; lifting it to drop inside the bin a tin inside it cut my hand. And it bled so bad I thought I was going to pass out! Well seriously, I didn’t think I’d pass out but it bled a lot! Finally stopped the bleeding and cleaned it, and this is what it looked like last night…..

That's it...it really hurt! *sigh*

Hmmm, on that note, I’ll talk to you later…………….don’t want to stress my finger (did I mention it was my right hand)?

Woohooo!!!

How have you been? It’s crazy that I’ve not blogged since the 23rd of April, 2011; that’s almost 9 years ago! Every day I tell myself I’ll upload one of the many half written posts in my drafts, but just as I close my eyes in slumber I tell myself I’ll do it ‘tomorrow’. Adult education is not a joke o! Have I missed you or what?

So we’re back to blogging, and I’ve told myself that even though I have to type in my sleep, this must be uploaded TONIGHT! And it’s an easy one, it’s good news!

So I told myself recently that I’d wake up every day at 6am, whether I have somewhere to go to that morning or not. I decided to do that after I slept at 4am one night, and woke up closer to than farther from noon! In the words of two of my best buddies, “is that why we are here?”

In the spirit of my new resolution, the alarms on both my phones and my clock woke me up today at 6am, and for some reason I woke up in a good mood. I had my bath, brushed my teeth, did my devotion, had breakfast (#TeamCheerios), and then………..wait-for-it……. went back to sleep!!! Ha ha ha! I must salvage my dignity by saying this is the first time that is happening, and besides, it was raining jor!

Anyway so I hear our bell ringing like it’s gone crazy so a little annoyed, I pop to the window, see it’s the mailman and grudgingly go to the door (wondering why he didn’t just slip the mail in)! Still on the bell, when we were younger and I dare say till this day, my folks always knew it was us just by the way we rang the bell…you know….put your finger on it and forget to remove it till someone comes to the door?

Back to my gist: the mailman asks me to sign for a parcel and groggy eyed, I do. I must confess that at first, I took the ‘thing’ (that device you sign your name on – don’t know the name) and held it for a while, staring blankly at it, such was the intensity of the grogginess. I finally signed (I’m sure the mailman must have been very amused) and took our mail inside. I looked it them, one had my name on it so I took it into my room, and more awake now, I opened it. Guess what it was?

An iPod Touch!!! 8GB!! A spanking new iPod Touch! Woohooo!!! Now the back story – I entered a poetry competition last year organized by Play Wright Media called the Start Again Inspire Us competition. Funnily, that night a friend had annoyed me so I strolled to Tesco just to ‘get some air’. That was where I saw the poster. Long story short, I was notified a while ago that I won, and that my gift would be sent to me! Tharizzit! The iPod Touch was the gift, and they sent it today! God is faithful! Come and see me dancing in my room!!!  Did I mention they want me to do a reading for them in October? I’m so excited!!

Sitting pretty on my bed - thank you Play Wright Media!

That set the tone for what ended up being a very productive day. After I told my folks, I headed to the library (of course the sleep had vanished from my eyes)!

What else? Nothing extra: Rochas Okorocha won the Governorship elections in Imo State (yay), Obama is still swinging on the pendulum of public opinion over the execution and burial of Osama Bin Laden, the Mavericks stunned the Lakers in the game yesterday,………..

I bet you don’t want to hear about any of my assignments so…..off you go! You have just come to the end of this post!! Just thank God for me before you go!

Hmmmm, so it’s a couple hours to our We Are What We Tweet event and I don’t know if I’m as nervous as I am excited, or if one of the feelings are balanced.

What I do know, is that, we (Mark, Leonie, Simi, Karen, Noha, and Kevin), have come a long way from that first class on the 8th of February where our tutor Dave Harte said that we were to stage an event that would proffer social media solutions; catch was we had to come up with a theme and an audience (duh) on our own. Deadline (or date for the event)? April, before the Easter break. He gave us a clue though, Eygpt had just happened and would be an interesting topic if we wanted to explore it.

And explore it we will, under the able leading of Ramy Raoof and Noha Atef, who will tell of the role social media tools played (and are still playing) in the Egyptian Revolution, the balance between mainstream media and citizen journalism in reporting the events, amongst other things.

The conference will hit closer home with the other speakers (Dan Mcquillan talking about the linkages between social media innovations and how communities can mix and mash for their own use, and then Tracy Thorne using her work as a contributor to her commmunity blog as a case study to show how we can put dgital media to work in our communities).

Finally there will be panel discussions for even more personal stories of how different social media tools have been put to use in different circumstances which for me will be a  great opportunity to explore the diversities people will bring to the table.

It’s been more than seven weeks of meeting at different locations (Urban Coffee Company, Backer Cafe, Kenrick Library, Margret Street, B225, did I miss any place out…), we’ve agreed to disagree to agree, thrown up so many suggestions, worried, laughed, and frowned. We’ve been excited at positive responses, heartbroken at the ‘I’m afraid we cannot help you’ replies, made mistakes (like me asking an office for funding instead of help with publicity), the whole nine yards.

There have been times when we panicked, like when we thought we wouldn’t get people to attend (“if you get 25 guests that’s fine), when we thought we wouldn’t get funding (a big thank you to the MoreOpen Fund and The Birmingham City University School of Media), when we were trying to find an interpreter, sorting out the live stream (yes we’re streaming the event live from our wearewhatwetweet.com website), trying out the Skype connection for the ‘satellite’ presentation, boy we have panicked!

Away from the academic, even though I’ve staged events before (on my own and as part of a team), in these past few weeks I’ve learnt so much about starting events from scratch that I either didn’t know, or didn’t pay a lot of attention to. Little details that whether you like it or not,  raise or drop your ratings on the ‘professional or not’ charts.

I’ve learnt the value (or strength) in feedback, letting everyone know where everyone is at, amongst other things so that no one worries unduly, and so that if there are any lapses they can be sorted on time. I’ve learnt diplomacy, your idea will not be accepted every time, regardless of how brilliant you might think it is, best way to deal with that is to focus on the big picture (which is the successful, hitch free outing) and concentrate all your energies there. I’ve learnt writing down even the littlest of tasks. Something as little as making tags for the tea and coffee urns can be forgotten and then you have your guests spilling the drinks on the table because they want to know which is which.

I’ve also learnt that is not enough to just stage an event, it must be relevant to the intended audience or else they won’t show up. There must be a clearly defined ‘take away’ they see that’ll attract them enough to be there. That’s a major reason why we’re not just convening this to tell stories about Egypt and other places, the aim is to show the attendees how the knowledge can be applied to their everyday lives and what better way than opening up the discussion?

I’ve got to go now, because I need to get to printing the things we’ll be needing tomorrow but if I never said this let me say it here, I’m proud of my classmates, and I have enjoyed every single minute of planning this! Let’s have a great time tomorrow!

 

We Are What We Tweet!!

There’s a big difference between watching Nigella Lawson cooking on TV, browsing recipes off her website or books she’s written, and actually working on one the recipes yourself. In the same way, only the person wearing the shoes knows where it pinches, whether they be Choos, Louboutins, or Prada. It might help if you’re told about it, or if you research into the ways different footwear might hurt your toes or feet, but you have to wear them to know for sure!

That’s how my Social Media as Practice module feels, because we actually have to do it! And I’m excited, because less than six weeks into the module, I’ve learnt/I’m learning so much! And of  course it’s the small class of people I’ve come to love, it’s LeonieMarkNohaJase, KarenSimi, and me! And of course, Stuart Parker, our tutor!

For the first class, we did an audit of our skills, the aspects of social media we’re interested in, and the things we would like to gain more knowledge about. Now even though I’m writing this more than six weeks after, I’ll try to give you an idea of what my colleagues are about! There’s

  • Simi, who’s good with graphics, audio editing, and has an online portfolio here: skm3.blogspot
  • Mark, who if I remember correctly said something about ‘taking all the glory for project management collabos he’s put together’! He works at justaddlime.co.uk and is passionate about creative/innovative ways of moving businesses/organizations/people forward using social media
  • Karen, who’s a techie! She just got done working on the Kathakbox project, and helped the family business out by revamping the website!! Karen’s amazing work is here karenkiely.com
  • Jason, warm, really helpful fella, the motivation behind my venture into video blogging! Jason’s here http://jaseanton.com/
  • Leonie worked with Karen on the Kathakbox project with Karen, is interested in the business/marketing aspects of social media, and blogs at leoniebrueckner.posterous.com
  • Kevin! Kevin’s another really warm person (not saying Mark isn’t *wink*), and he blogs at  kevinyb.posterous.com
  • Noha is very passionate about human rights (she didn’t have to tell me that, I know)! She’s run a very popular blog for some years now, and the only reason I don’t have the site here is because due to too much traffic on the site, she’s moving the blog to a new host, and I’ll let you have the link as soon as it is up. She does school related blog posts however, at nohaatef.wordpress.com
  • And there’s me, who’s intrigued by open data, run a blog (what you’re reading), and I’m passionate about my Nigeria!

On the course, I’ve made my first html page, learnt about RSS feeds, increased my knowledge of Flickr (I have an active account now), moved beyond observing to actually video blogging, we played with a bit of photography last week, every Tuesday is something to look forward too…. We’ve even had chocolates in class too, celebrating with Noha and the Egyptian Revolution (gave me my 2nd video too)…

Our task (deliverable if you like) for this module is to stage a social media event (from scratch), and unlike the class of 2009 where they were given a theme and target audience (because for me the theme determined/narrowed who the audience would be), we have to come up with a theme, an audience, speakers, an agenda, everything! Did I mention this event has to happen in April (just spits away)?

To be fair, Dave Harte gave us pointers as per the theme and that formed the foundation for what our event is about now! Doesn’t take away the fact that at some point, I would have given my arm for him to just ‘dictate’ for us to follow!

Our very first meeting was at the Urban Coffee Company, and amongst other things, was the location for my first ‘vlog’! Forget the fact that our major achievement for that first meet was just a friendly chat, and a lot of circles around  the theme…

At one of the meetings, we broke down the class into functional units, all reporting to Mark, our chairman…

Content (research and definition of a theme, after which we’ll all chip in): Noha
Logistics e.g. venues, funds, technical: Mark and Chioma
Media e.g. blogging about progress: Jase and Kevin
Marketing e.g. design, Twitter, FB: Leonie, Simi and Karen

The theme of the event is We Are What We Tweet: Our Stories, Our Truth, Our Power. With each meeting, we’ve strengthened the agenda, we’re still working on speakers, gotten a venue, and now we’re advertising our event, sourcing funding, and handling issues as they arise! We even have an advert for the event, still a rough cut, but we’re more than grateful to Andy Watt for helping out!


Looking back now I must say that having to chart the course our event would take has really been a rewarding experience for the class, and especially for me because we moved from nothing, to what we’re holding now. Over the last couple of weeks we’ve held endless meetings, sent uncountable documents back and forth, agreed, disagreed but it’s all been worth it. If not anything, I have learnt three things so far,

  • Division of labor is necessary – ensures that there is no duplication of efforts to the detriment of other aspects of the work
  • Communication is key – there’s nothing that cannot be resolved (or compromised on) as long as everyone involved talks about it
  • People are different – we all are different and so our approaches to themes will vary; harnessing the strengths in our differences and compromising brings out the best in everyone, keeps us all happy, and most importantly ensures the aim is still achieved!

One of our numerous meetings.......

All you need to know about the event is here,  http://wearewhatwetweet.com/, you can talk to us on twitter via @wawwt, and most importantly, you’re welcome to attend our event! It is free to attend, and you can sign up for the event here http://www.eventbrite.com/event/1437265901/efbnen

P:S – I learnt to do this today in class so this is me giving you directions to the venue of our event! Woohoo!!

Woohoo!!!

So I have an idea! And I’ve had it for a while, just wanted to check its viability before announcing I had one, but I’m sure now!

 

Woohoo!!!

Remember the chronicle about Production Labs, a module I’m taking this semester that I didn’t have an idea for? Yup, that one.  I was sitting with a class mate the other day and throwing ideas around and I mentioned that my concept for a radio show had just been approved by BCU’s Scratch Radio, and I was going to do the first live show in about two weeks.  And he said, ‘so why don’t you use it for your Production Labs project’?

So, I popped to see Dave Harte (my tutor) and after we discussed it a bit, we found/decided it would actually be a good idea for my Production Labs! Yay! So I have something to do now! And I’ll tell you about it in a bit.

The name of the radio programme is The Reading Room and it airs every Wednesday from 4pm – 5pm. The programme is an adaptation of one I’ve been on a couple of times back in Nigeria, it airs on 99.9 Kiss Fm in Abuja. The idea with that is for people to read, and be able to share stuff they’ve read and enjoyed with other people.

It’s the same thing with mine, the twist to it is that there’s a an agreed theme for every week, and people get to come on the show and read anything (poetry, quotes, proverbs, excerpts, etc), based on that theme. And of course, it’s great to play music related to the theme, kind of helps set the pace, and the mood for the day…

About ‘just’ finding the idea? Well that wasn’t exactly accurate because we ran the second episode of the show yesterday the 2nd of March 2011, and I’ll tell you about that in a bit too (or maybe I will in another chronicle)!

I’ve had to create a second twitter account (feel free to follow @bcureadingroom), and there’s a page on Facebook too: The Reading Room with Chioma.

So far though I must say there hasn’t been a lot of ‘agreeing on themes’ because I’m still trying to build an audience for the programme, and I must thank my course mates who have come on the show these two times! That said, I’m excited that the people following @bcureadingroom are slowly going beyond my classmates and buddies from Nigeria to people in the industry here! The pace of growth is not the same for the Facebook account, even though I have someone who’s coming on the show next week that I didn’t know before!

Challenges? A couple. To start with, part of the task is to make podcasts of the show, and that hasn’t happened yet. That’s because my producer kindly recorded the programme on the 23rd of February for me but in the nerves of that day, I didn’t take it. I haven’t ‘found’ him yet to retrieve it, and no one else at the studio seems to know where he might have stored it.

Again, one of the risks I identified in the project initiation document for this idea was I was scared I wouldn’t get enough feedback from the audience, one way to mitigate against that was to get people to suggest themes on Facebook or Twitter. With all my postings on the group and all my tweeting, nobody’s really suggested anything! What do I do?

Thirdly, I have found that it is not easy to run more than one twitter account. To start with it takes a lot more time to tweet using two accounts, then because both my accounts are following each other, I feel the need to be careful with what I say with the personal account because of course it’ll reflect on the ‘professional’ account’s time line. It can be tiring, especially when I really want to ‘let loose’ and talk crazy with my friends; I almost feel like my tweets aren’t honest anymore, like I can’t be myself again on Twitter. It all kind of brings to life something I studied in first semester that revolved around (a) an imagined audience, (b) contexts, (c) the ‘tweep’, and the authenticity of the tweets themselves based on a, b, and c.

 

I miss not being able to tweet as freely as I want! It's my twitter!

I’m working on resolving all three issues though; first is to find my producer, edit the first two editions of the show and make the podcasts available for download before the next edition of the show (9/03/2011). As for increasing my audience and followers, and of course going back to that place where I can feel free to tweet as I wish, err, that’s why i wrote this! What to do, what to do!

 

P:S – I’ll chronicle the first two shows in a separate chronicle…k?