Social Media Week Lagos has unarguably become the largest tech, new media and business conference on the continent of Africa. This week-long conference is usually a whirlwind of in-depth panel discussions, keynote speakers, networking chatter and discussions into how social media and technology is changing business, society and culture on the continent and the world.
This year’s conference is unique for various reasons, including; the celebration of a milestone five-years anniversary, a focus on more gender balanced panels, and the addition of new session formats like the #SMWSkillshare and #SMWOfficeHours; which offered practical training sessions to participants- especially in skill areas like coding and programming as well as one-on-one session with potential investors – for startup ideas respectively. It is clear that social media week Lagos has evolved from trendy to trendsetting. Here are highlights of some key sessions and takeaways from the conference
The future of the media might not be televised.
According to the Chris Cox; facebook product development head, the future of media and communication will be an all immersive experience that will be both spiritual and intimate. He explained that facebook as a company realizing this is already moving from telling stories to showing stories. This is being achieved by making strategic moves in improving their platform to cater for Video, 360, Live,virtual and artificial reality. In his words, “There are some experiences that might not be articulated well or enough with text and just photos.”
Social Media has become the media in Africa
Live Video is changing the African Storytelling narrative. Facebook live and twitter’s periscope have created a level playing ground for young Africans and brands to determine and tell their own stories; in a way that suits their communication objectives. According to CNN Africa supervising producer; Stephanie Busari, social media has become the main media in Africa and live video is leading the charge.
Be progressive, authentic and represent change
People align more with progressive brands and messaging. The more authentic a communication message is, the more likely it is to win the confidence of target audience. In a session hosted by New York based public relations firm; C.Moore Media, insights into the 2016 US elections were shared with communication professionals, with a focus on how lessons from the election can be applied to brands and communication campaigns.
Storytelling is still king
The art of great storytelling has never gone out of style, but with technology, digital tools, as well as increasing competition, brands needs to ensure that they create contents that appeal to their audience across various platforms and in different formats. In the session; Reinventing Public Relations Storytelling in a digital economy, a focus on how communication professionals can leverage on tools like facebook live, instagram stories, snapchats and short videos to tell stories that are authentic and would resonate with their audience. The life blood of every content are great stories.
The need for more women in technology
One of the major goals of this year’s conference was to ensure the inclusion of more women in the technology and digital conversation. In this light, the event- Women in Tech Startup alley was curated by She Leads Africa- a Digital media company and the first African start up to ring the New York stock exchange closing bell and supported by the Dangote group. The session focused on the role of African women in technology, exploring the limitations that African women face in the tech space. As part of efforts to encourage more women in technology, four women-led technology companies were given the opportunity to pitch their businesses and demo their product to session audience and potential investors.
Even though social media week Lagos 2017 has ended, there were absolutely loads of useful tips, great speakers and some amazing people that would keep the memories and lessons for longer. I am already looking forward to the 2018 edition and much more importantly, anticipating what the next five years would be for social media week Lagos.