Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Digital Citizen Indaba 2008: Who are digital citizens?

Someone asked me today, during an audio interview, who digital citizens are. She argued that the people attending the launch party of the Digital Citizen Indaba were not representative of ordinary African citizens, who still have little to no access to media tools that would enable them to tell their stories. The event started today with a launch party,and the main conference is tomorrow all day.

My interviewersays access to technology is still restricted to urban-based, young people. And maybe, she's right, to an extent.

But here are a number of things that I found interesting about this encounter:

* My interviewer was 60+, Black, female and not from an urban area
* She was not yet comfortable with the technology she was using, and asked for assistance from her colleague. This tells me that she has not been using the media for long.
* Our interview was not scheduled - we were chatting at the party when she realised I was the keynote speaker, she decided to interview me on the spot. So she moves fast to take advantage of opportunities.

Maybe she's right, and Africa still has a long way to go before ordinary people are adequately empowered enough to use new media tools to tell their story. But we have laid the foundation....

My experience so far...

The flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth was uneventful, and I really enjoyed the one and half hour drive from PE to Grahamstown.

I drove down with Maureen ( Don't know surname, representing the United Nations) and Toby Shapshak, editor of Stuff. I've sort of known Toby for years, as we've covered the same events when I worked for ITWeb, so the journey was pleasant.

Later at the opening party I met Henk Kleynhans, CEO of Skyrove ( the hotspot providers), and we arranged that I interview him tomorrow. Hopefully something will come out of the interview that I can use for a story for one of the pubs I write for.

As mentioned above, I also did an audio interview with one of the conference participants. I suspect the podcast will show up on Zoopy (

She's also planning to use the tape for a radio show,she says. I will provide details as soon as they are available, so you can listen in if you'd like.

I also spent some time with someone from the South African Broadcasting Corporation. She says they're broadcasting the DCI live tomorrow on Interface (SABC 3, 09h30). So if you were unable to attend the event, feel free to watch it on TV.

1 comment:

Janet Grace Riehl said...

Da-ma-ria :-)

I'm so glad this event went well for you. I'd love to see the text of your keynote speech.

I find your analysis and preliminary insights interesting here.

Speaking of technology did you get your blog linked to Plaxo?

This sounds like a high point for you: TV and Podcasts and the taste of renoun.

Janet Riehl

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