Posts Tagged ‘Google’

So the US election campaigns started about 18 months ago, and I’ll be honest and say I was largely uninterested in the debates, rallies, etc. until very recently. Of course there were the very many days the world was jolted by any of the inappropriate (inappropriate here also meaning scary, unacceptable, criminal, etc.) utterances from Republican Candidate Donald Trump either during rallies, interviews, in the locker room, pretty much everywhere. On those days I would be forced to catch up on the outrage, but that would be all.
Not because I don’t care who the next leader of the free world is, not because I don’t see the incredible importance and leap it would be for a woman to become the next president of the United States, but because my people say that “when a man’s house is on fire he does not bother about the fufu he had on the stove.” There was (still is) just too much “what on earth is going on with my Nigeria” going on to focus on what’s happening in the pond an entire continent away.
TV ads forced me to care. Stickers, posters, heck even conversations a little too animated forced me to join the US Election frenzy. With or without my consent, I’ve had to actively follow.
So, I’ve been in the US for the past 4 weeks now and the excitement/apprehension/tension is palpable. Not the Nigerian flavor of ‘we’re voting for x and y not because we know what they will offer but because our leader says to’, but the ‘we’ve listened to both (major) candidates, know their history and believe overwhelmingly that x is better than y’. Or maybe even that x is the lesser of the two evils, whatever personal reasons.  
It reinforced a thought that led to this tweet“Dear #Nigeria, when we’re done climaxing over the #USElection rallies, our candidates MUST debate in 2019. Anything else is unacceptable.”
I believe that tweet with all my heart, and I hope you, Nigerian, tax-paying, voter card-wielding, pledge-reciting, daughter or son of the soil who has followed the US Elections has been reacquainted with a love for oratory, a respect for facts and figures, an appreciation for the media (and the 2016 expression of the Social Responsibility and Hypodermic Needle theories), and a renewed belief in yourself as a citizen whose vote is worth more than screaming rallies without any substance.
Anything less than debates with concrete plans, economic policies that can be argued for or against, and interventions that directly impact the lives of Nigerians is unacceptable. No more platitudes, no more empty promises, no more roaring rhetoric. 
Our state and national representatives must clearly articulate their plans for us, the people they represent. We cannot applaud the levels of transparency we’ve seen in this election and be content with declarations of assets that end up being as vague as they are untrue.
We must elect representatives who will not subvert but uphold the Constitution, and indeed open up the black hole that the National Assembly budget currently is!
Sigh. Deep breath Chioma. Moving on.
I’ve also thought very deliberately about how technology has been deployed for these elections. I’m not referring to diaspora voting which ensures citizens all over the world are not disenfranchised, and sounds like a brilliant idea till you remember that Nigeria has not come close to perfecting our local, physical processes yet. We cannot guarantee votes cast by human beings we can see and touch (’see and touch’ excluding the era when we had Jamie Foxx and Michael Jackson on the list of accredited voters); yet we’re currently fascinated with diaspora votes. Maybe add that to the things we will blame next for inconclusive elections?
Anyway, I was referring to citizen-centered technology. Technology deployed to make voter education and the voting process as seamless and inclusive as possible. First from the government with the listings/helplines on social and traditional media, to parties and politicians constantly reminding the electorate why, how, and where to vote;  broadcast media and state-specific voting information, to the digital titans deploying doodles, stickers, and other ‘make it cool to vote’ paraphernalia for the electorate to perform their civic duty. No stomach infrastructure, sharing of rice, or bread, or corn; no ridiculous photos where fancy wristwatches meet extreme poverty, none of that mess. 
Anyway, it all ends in the next 24 hours. Those who didn’t already vote have until 8pm to get counted, with a collation and announcement devoid of candlelight, midnight miracles, meme-worthy drama, or any funny business. Governance should also start in earnest immediately after the swearing-in, not 9 months after. 
Quite frankly, these elections rank high on the list of things Americans should be ashamed of – the blatant mudslinging, disrespect for candidates/American History/the American people; the divisive nature of the campaign, the hate it’s inspired, ugh. Shameful.
However, for us, there is a lot to be learned, and I hope we’ve all been taking notes. 2019 is coming. 
PS: Originally published on Huffington Post

A few weeks ago I sat with some friends in one of my favorite places in Lagos (Terra Kulture) and we talked about everything, ending somewhere between relationships, entrepreneurs, that kind of thing.

How did it even start? I know there was a statement made about the scarcity of good men and after both males and females argued a little bit about generalizations, we talked about the difficulties young people face in relationships, either in starting or keeping them.

I totally forgot about that conversation till I was going to blog about Social Media Week Lagos and as I was noting talking points, I remembered the session on ‘Women in Tech’ and how disappointed my friends and I were at the gloss that was slathered on the entire discussion.

Matter of fact, my friend Saratu asked a question that echoed all my sentiments. She wanted to know why none of the speakers spoke about the challenges they’d faced in building their businesses, why no one was telling the real stories behind whatever successes they were currently standing on.

Here’s a personal experience. In 2012 I was in a bank, frustrated with my account officer because they’d said I could get pounds from the branch and then I drove all the way to Area 11 and I don’t remember what excuse they’d given but I was pissed off.

While I was discussing with the said account officer, a much older man asks to borrow my pen. I give it to him and when he’s done, he says I’m pretty and he wants my number. Now, if you read my blog you’ll know the day before I travel is normally the crazy day where I have 1000 things to do, I’m literally running/speeding everywhere and even 26 hours wouldn’t do. Plus, I was ticked off at the bank so a much older man asking for my number was the last thing I was in the mood for. I refused with the last bit of respect I had and after he asked why I was sweating and in a foul mood, I mentioned I still had a client’s office to visit, I had a trip to get ready for etc.

Long story short, we exchanged cards, he wanted me to prepare a social media strategy for the ministry in which he was a director of finance or something. I did, adapted one I’d written for another client, and emailed it that night.

My quote was at least 60% cheaper than the other proposals he had received (he’d given them to me when I swung by to collect a brief) and with the elaborate document I handed in, to my mind it was a matter of when.

I called a few times from Blighty and he said they didn’t have ‘network’ in the office for him to read it, and one day he talked about him coming over so I could explain it to him. A director of a ministry flying (all the way) to England so a prospective strategist could explain her proposal? Lol.

Let’s end the story quickly. I refused to play nice, so he stopped taking my calls and one day told me he was going on a one-year course and not/never to call him again. And that was that. I remember ranting on Twitter, and Ruona Meyer encouraging me in my DMs. I won’t forget that.

So, back to the discussion at Terra Kulture, I said something about unconsciously putting up walls whenever I interacted with men partly because of work and how the slightest smile is misconstrued as ‘consent’ and then a ‘no’ becomes a problem because you led them along (by smiling). I talked about how it was easier (and better) for me to be first seen as mean/hard looking and then soften up (maybe) as the work takes off properly instead of being taken for a ride from day one.

I mentioned how those walls then become a problem when you’re with your special someone because they might feel like you’re not completely open with them but it’s just you forgetting that you can take a break from protecting yourself because relationships should be safe spaces. It’s just you transferring your protective shell/demeanor to a space where you can/should be vulnerable. And that causes problems.

That’s just one challenge.

How many women have to work twice as hard while the rest of the world preaches ‘ empowerment/inclusion’ and ‘giving women a place on the table’? How many women become who they are politically only because they are married to or are children of the Old Boy’s Club? How many of us are frustrated day in day out with the weakest links around our projects?

Here’s another reason why I feel like women should be just a bit more ‘open’ with these conversations. We have these events and everything sounds like a piece of chocolate cake, freely handed out to us because we’re ‘whoever we say we are’. And so the young women listening press forward, maybe even decide to switch careers because we have it so good here.

Then they come and are buffeted with all sorts of challenges they didn’t imagine were possible or are prepared for in the slightest. And then they run away. Or they give in to whatever pressures they have find they have to (furthering the ugly stereotype). Very few will dig their heels in, and fight to get that place on the table.

At the next gathering of women we’ll lament that there are very few entrepreneurs. There will be, because they’re not ready!

It’s the same thing for relationships to be honest, but that’s a totally different discussion for another day.

Final word – can we be a bit more honest with these things? Sure. So let’s do/be that.

The 6th of November was a truly special day, one of those days that can truly be described as ‘full’, and I’m about to tell you how it went down! Or up, because it ended on such a high!

So, I’d flown into Lagos the night before after spending a few days with my darling parents, was truly a gift to have been with them, and I can’t stop thanking both of them for the sacrifices they make to keep me comfortable anytime I’m around!

Anyway, so I woke up that morning, chest tight, nostrils blocked, the leftover of a bad case of flu that refused to leave me alone. Show must go on abi? So I got ready, and headed to Civic Center where I’d been billed to speak alongside some very renowned speakers at the BrandiQ Symposium. My topic? Politics, social media, and young people – Tolu Ogunlesi had put me forward as a panelist cos he thought he wouldn’t be in the country and then when he found he would be around, he just came to support me. Hallelujah for friends/colleagues like him!

Keynote speaker was former UK High Commissioner Christopher Kolade, special guest of honor was the most lovely older gentleman Apostle Hayford Allile, and there were academics, other top-notch people like that. I was on the stage with people like Martins Oloja (Editor, The Guardian), and to be honest by the time he was done with his speech, the first thing I said when I took the mic was “how do you top a talk like that”? Thanks however be to God who always causes us to do brilliantly, and not shame Him, our families or our friends!

So, what did I talk about? I started with definitions of some key words in the Symposium theme, (participation, stakeholder, tokenism, and young person) and then I asked two questions:

  • How many people in the room have voter cards?
  • How many of us know the heads of our local government areas  (appointed or elected)?

How do we then (as young people) claim to be stakeholders in a thing we cannot participate in because we’re not registered? Really, how? Aren’t we tired of clicktivism? When do we move on to action, in this case enforcing our thoughts/ideologies with our votes?

Then it was off to stats on voting patterns, how social media is a means to an end but must not be misconstrued as the end in itself, and all of that good business. Event was great, I had a really good time! Potential client and writing gig in the offing too! Whoop!

It ended about 3pm, and then it was off to Terra Kulture for a quick lunch, dress change, and then flying down to All Souls Anglican Church in Lekki, where I’d been billed to speak on social media for play or business, from a Godly perspective.

IMG-20141004-WA0001My date was moved to the 6th because I signed up to something (which I have readied a series for) that would start on the 7th.

So I got to the venue late because I grossly underestimated the traffic and side note? Dear Lagosians, Lagos is not working! Your roads are horrible, even in the so-called posh areas. Yuck. Thankful for my Cabbie Abubakar who lives in Ajah and so knew all the hidden routes to take to avoid the traffic. Na wa!

Anyway, got there in one piece, and after the worship session, I was up! It was a small, intimate crowd, and it was structured a bit like this.

I started with 1 Corinthians 10:31 which I paraphrased as “whether you eat or drink, or tweet or Facebook, do it to the glory of God”. The rest of it is below…

  • About me
  • What is social media
  • How do you use social media – Proverbs 27: 17, Hebrews 10:24-25
  • How not to use social media – 1 Corinthians 15:33, Matthew 5:29
  • Careers in/around social media – Matthew 5:16

Pretty simple/straightforward right? The interesting thing really was introducing the word of God to the different points above. I had a marvellous time! I loved the question and answer session, and I have since made a blogpost off a quick consult I did following that event! Something to do with how we use LinkedIn, you should see it.

It gets even better – they gave me a plaque! I was so emotional, it means so much to have received this! And the prayers, aww, kiss of my life!

2014-11-14 05.15.50

Super grateful to JT for dinner, and then it was bedtime, and out of Lagos the next day to join the Heinrich Boll Stiftung Book Sprint in Abuja!

Crazy, crazy, schedule, but I love it!

xx

I woke up a bit of in a panic around 4am, and I’ll tell you why.

So I watched an account of the EMAB bomb blast on the 24th of June the night before, and because our minds process in our unconsciousness the things we expose ourselves to when we are conscious, I didn’t sleep very well.

Hindsight? Was really silly of me to watch that.

I kept on asking myself; what have we become? How have we Nigerians become people who are so inured to the devastation by Boko Haram that we can carry on with our lives like nothing happened? Why isn’t there more outrage about the daily massacre going on in the north? How are we able to just pick up and carry on like nothing happened? Is our resilience a bigger curse than it is a blessing?

Anyway, so I didn’t sleep well. At all. Still had to be up and about though because Joojo (Ghanians are awesome I tell you) had offered to take me to a super market, and because my geography is not of this world, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of someone taking me there. Breakfast was basic but lovely, and I pretty much had the same thing everyday till I left.

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Selfie, anyone? Don’t ask why my head was bent abeg…

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Wheat/nut bread, cheese, salami, an egg, and wonderful fruit tea… God is a good God!! #Foodie

 

It was about a 30 minute walk or more but the weather was lovely, and we eventually found Reve, and I was so on point with my shopping!

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Told myself I wouldn’t do more than €20 in the store, and my bill came to €19.82. Boss!!

Serious business now.

Our meet with Digital Participation Camp team was slated for 2pm, so by 1.30pm, we all met up in the lobby and started off to Deutsche Welle. We got there ok, and after a few minutes of waiting the session started!

We love our devices!

 

Here’s a bit about everyone in the group and the ‘we’ I will be referring to for most of the trip:

  • Ruth Aine is Ugandan, a freelance journalist, multiple award/grant winner, a bit more about the fabulous things she gets up to are here
  • Aya Chebbi – She’s a Pan-Africanist, Tunisian blogger at Proudly Tunisian , columnist at openDemocracy and contributor to Foresight for Development – Africa D+C Development and Cooperation and Your Middle East
  • Nyi Lynn Seck from Myanmar (Burma), a documentary film maker andProduction Manager at a commercial TV company. He is also a pro blogger and is building something to rival Wiki!
  • Jason Muloongo – is a social entrepreneur creating mobile applications for the academic and social development of educators and learners globally. I co-founded Funda and our aim is empower all people through technology by taking learning beyond the classroom.
  • Joojo Solomon Cobbinah – Ghanaian, a television news producer, documentary maker and a human rights advocate.
  • Abbas Adel – With a team, founded Zabaّtak- ظَبَطّك ياحرامى, a crowd-sourcing initiative for crime and corruption using Ushahidi platform. Then they built the Morsi Meter – مرسي ميتر which tracked the promises of previous Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in his first 100 days.
  • Janusz Hamerski – media trainer and video producer, and one of the brains behindwww.easy-languages.org.
  • Momal Mushtaq – Mo is the founder of The Freedom Traveller, an advocacy organization campaigning for (amongst other things), the realization of women’s right to mobility, anywhere in the world. Incredible stuff!
  • Maria Nasedkina – Ukranian, founder of (translated to English) ‘Amazing’ which encourages (and works with) young people in her country to respect public spaces, keep them clean and tidy for the next person, great work!
  • Carina Schmid- is the manager of a non-profit organization called The Global Experience; a youth media network creating youth media and regularly organizing international school and youth exchange programs, including the Digital Participation Camp & Summit.
  • Mathias Haas – multiple award winner, Facebook Guru (was blown away by his knowledge about Facebook)… more about him here
  • Salim
  • Dominick Schmengler – is the Founder and CEO of department of tomorrow and designer of easyGo – easyCome

Mathias took us on a journey through Facebook, and I daresay it was the most expository/eye-opening/1/2/3 (fill in other adjectives as you please).

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Really like this quote!!

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That’s Mathias teaching! Hard core!

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It was a really cool meeting, learning about each other (and the work we’re all involved with), learning about social media, and planning for the opening day of Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum!!

Intense learning session over, we went into the Forum arena, and of course, we goofed around. Photos below.

Bonn

What if we all fell asleep during the conference? Lol!!

Digital participation team IMG_20140629_135604 IMG_20140629_134903

P:S – There was two days of training so don’t freak out that I’m wearing two different outfits… 🙂

And there was cake!! Sweet baby Jesus Germans have mastery when it comes to pastry!

And there was cake!! Sweet baby Jesus Germans have mastery when it comes to pastry! It was so much!! DW really hosted us…

So DW held a reception for us scholars, and we got to meet quite a few people from different parts of the world! Really cool!

So DW held a reception for us scholars, and we got to meet quite a few people from different parts of the world! Really cool!

Next post? Opening day!

Ok, so it’s 5.42am and just as I tweet that my darling nephew (Boo Boo) is a miracle baby for sleeping throughout the night, he wakes up! Talk about a tweet too early! Rather than whine about my ‘me time’ gone, I’ve decided to do a ‘thank you for 2012’ post. Cliche as it may sound, there are quite a few people I need to thank for the different things they’ve been to me this year, and Boo Boo’s one of them!

To God, for life, love, hope. For the gift of every new day He’s given, for safe travels (and I moved around quite a bit this year), for health; I might have fallen ill a couple times but the things I recovered from killed some people. I’m also grateful for a sound mind; don’t really see how much more righteous I am than the people who are out of theirs. Most importantly I’m grateful to Him for mercies that I see every day. This year’s been a little rough and I’ve derailed majorly but He’s been (and still is merciful).

To my family, you guys are the surest, baddest bosses ever! Kai!! Wouldn’t trade you guys for anything in the world! To Momma, Daddy, Kizaro, Inne, Qintaro, and the latest addition to the family, my darling Boo Boo!!! God bless you guys! I love you to the moon and back! 2013 is ours!!

To The One who calls me Pebbles, what do I say? Where do I start? How do I begin to talk about you, would anyone even grasp the depths of what I feel, of what you are to me? For the songs, the stories, the beautiful dances, the encouragement, for everything; thank you.. You’re the wind beneath my wings!

To my girl for life Wumi, you’re many shades of awesome! You understand me, you’ve accepted me (and my moods, lol), you’re there for me in ways I cannot begin to explain, I just love you girl!! Christmas with you was awesome, 2013 is the year!!

To my bestie Miss Mangut, you’re a great lady, a wonderful resource, and someone for whom the sky is but the starting point! Loads of love!

To the Chief Sista and Mr Mobility, thank you for being an ever present source of wisdom, a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on (and soak with tears sometimes). Thank you for always being there, God bless you, and satisfy the desires of your heart speedily! I love you! To Aninoritse, thank you for being my friend; you’re never more than a phone call or ‘you’ve abandoned me’ BBM away. Love you muchos!

To the ‘elders’: I read through your eyes, climbed on your shoulders, walked through doors you opened, turned at your reproof, gained new knowledge, forged new friendships and partnerships through you, got the opportunity to prove myself, thank you! Thank you to my Principal, Dr Sam Amadi, Mr Eyo Ekpo, Jackie Farris, Yemi Adamolekun, Dr Ebirima Ceesay, FML, Mac-Jordan DegadjorBankole Oluwafemi, Alkasim Abdulkadir; here’s to a brilliant 2012, let’s do it (and even bigger) next year! I must specially thank Bankole, Alkasim, and Mercy Abang for being such wonderful business partners! And congratulations on your wedding Mercy! She rocks!

To my @i_blend family, for two years (I know, can’t believe we’ve had this group for this long) you’ve been home away from home for me. You (@AndyMadaki@El_Jefe@Nubian_Semm, @Lucy@EddieMadaki@Attaswitch@Tess_lati@Mamfizzle, @MissMimilove@Oche_E@Ene_vanhelsing, @Desiree, @Mimi, @Matilda, @Ayeesha, @Dosh, and @Gang) have been sources of joy, a rounded sounding board, activity.com, and best of all, great friends! 2013 is ours! I love you guys!

To everyone who’s read my blog, left a comment, tweeted a link, liked a post, or even followed the blog, thank you!! It is for you I write, God forbid that I take you for granted. To Iyke, Pearl, Chief Sista, Jaz, and Rita for being the top five commenters on the blog this year, thank you so much! 2013 will be bigger, better, more interactive, richer, and I promise there’ll be shorter breaks in between posts!

To Hillsongs Church, I’m grateful I found you, however late in the year. I promise to get more involved soon as I get back!

To Zemanta, WordPress, Nitropdf, and Google, your constant innovations have been a delight; they’ve also made for a richer online experience. Thank you! @Nitropdf, I’m earnestly waiting on the MAC version like you promised!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Here’s to an extra-productive 2013!

The Fairy GodSister.

Ok, so today’s the day I’ll let you in on the post that didn’t quite make it to the top 10 of the Commonwealth Competition; I’m learning, and looking forward to the day I’ll tell you I won it, because I know I will, and in this life time!

I’ve always been passionate about violence against women and all the issues surrounding that because whether we like it or not, it is our sisters, wives, girlfriends and mothers getting beaten/abused by men who have sworn (in secret or in the open) to love, honor, and protect the women they now batter with reckless abandon! I have never understood how a man can beat his wife in the morning, and then with the same hands, hold her at night.  The Scriptures say a stream cannot produce sweet and bitter water, same way I KNOW the same hands can’t produce different results! So I don’t get carried away, let’s leave this talk for another day.

One final digression (pretty please), last night a friend sent me a Blackberry Message that read, “I was bored so I decided to go on Google and search – what do women want? Google search result? We are also searching!” Sexist as it sounded, it made me laugh!! I’ll deal with that friend, but later. Let’s not detract from my beautiful story reproduced below, titled ‘Devil May Care’ (these past couple of days I have wondered why I gave it that name….maybe it was even one of the things that worked against it).

DEVIL MAY CARE

“Why won’t you stop hitting me”, Celia managed to gasp between slaps that so stunned her she was surprised then disappointed she hadn’t fainted yet. After passing out more than twice in the last six weeks from ‘corrections’ from her Darren, fainting wasn’t scary any more. Matter of fact, it had become her escape route; he always stopped beating her when she fainted. And even if he didn’t stop, at least she wouldn’t feel it.

Celia was grateful; in the midst of the beating she was getting, she was grateful. Grateful that she had convinced her husband that their six-bedroom mansion needed redecorating, and she wanted to do it herself. 

She had exchanged the glass table for mahogany, covered the tiles in just about every part of the house with thick plush carpets that made her smile every time her feet sunk into them, and replaced the glass and metal figurines in the living room with portraits and pictures cased in soft wood.

Celia felt safe with her work, now she would only have to absorb the punches and slaps. She also enjoyed the twisted comfort of knowing that if she fell, and more when than if, she wouldn’t hurt as bad as she had the day she had, upon collision, shattered the glass table in the living room.

She tasted blood in that moment, and couldn’t immediately tell if she had lost a tooth, bitten her tongue, or if the blood had run down her head. Sometimes she couldn’t tell.

She couldn’t tell a lot of things. She couldn’t tell why he was beating her, today or any other day; she just knew it wasn’t this way from the beginning. She had been good; always had a hot meal ready for him, the house sparkled, and she had worked hard to maintain her stunning figure after two sons and two trauma induced miscarriages. She never refused him either, and she could swear he would come crawling into her bed tonight, he always did. Followed of course by cards, a new car, an exotic holiday, blank cheque……

“Why are you smiling Celia?” “Are you mocking me?” “Are you?” “Are you?” She imagined hell, Darren looked so incensed she could literally feel the sparks flying off his face as he thundered. And as she crumbled under the kick to her stomach, slipping into nothingness she was again thankful for the carpet and wondered if she had picked the right colour.

That’s it, that’s the entry I sent in. I tried to find the guidelines for entry so anyone who wanted to comment would have a background but I wasn’t successful. Doesn’t mean you can’t pick the story apart though, please feel free to, thank you!!!

P:S – I hand in my final assignments tomorrow, whoop whoop!!

Secondly, I’m excited that the animal masked as an envoy that Nigeria sent out has been recalled. I’m sorry but yes I’ve judged him already, and he is guilty! There is no reason under heaven for battering a woman, no reason at all. I just hope that he will be prosecuted swiftly; it took more than 10 days since Kenyan papers broke the story for Nigeria to recall him. Put the beast away already!