I am still thinking about the Malawian blogosphere, which is generally not very active at the moment. Sometime in December 2005 Geeta, Jesse, Soyapi, Tess, and Mike met for the very first Malawi blogger lunch in Lilongwe. They discussed a number of interesting issues. After that, Mike organized a braii for Malawi bloggers. By then, I was still in South Africa where I was doing my MSc research and had not yet started blogging.
When I started blogging, I was looking forward to Malawi blogger meetups. But when I returned home, it looked like they were not taking place. I did not bother finding out because my time in Malawi was limited. Soon after coming back home, I received a scholarship from the Japanese government which brought me here.
Here in Tokyo, I have, however, attended a number of Tokyo Consumer Generated Media (CGM) nights, organized by Danny Choo (a.k.a the Tokyostormtrooper) and Andrew Shuttleworth. Bloggers, Youtubers, social networkers and folks who like to share meet at Tokyo CGM nights in order to share their experiences, get to know some new folks, witness the launch of new CGM related applications. Sometimes, we even get freebies such as pokens. Each time, I participate in the CGM nights, I learn new things. I also meet a lot of new people and increase my blog’s readership and backlinks. For in stance, courtesy of CGM nights, I have made friends with the likes of Serkan Toto, the first and only Asia-based writer for the TechCrunch network. We talk about a lot of issues when we meet.
I am, therefore, of the view that the meetups for Malawi based bloggers should resume. The benefits are immense both to the seasoned blogger and the new one. In July 2009, when Ndesanjo Macha, the Sub-Saharan Africa Editor at Global Voices, visited Lilongwe, he had a meetup with Victor Kaonga and Austin Madinga. He wanted to have a similar meetup in Blantyre when he visited the city in August 2009. A number of people promised to show up.
We can build on these meetups and ensure that they continue to take place on a regular basis. By so doing, there will be an exchange of conversations and ideas about technology and the power of the social web. We may start small but little by little these meetings will grow. Eventually, they will attract the interest of local companies which will come in to sponsor them. The Malawi blogosphere will not be the same.