In a comment to my Blueprint for a Nigerian Civil Society Election Blog, Tim Concannon announced greenlightnigeria.org – I’m glad to see this development and hope it catches on. Congratulations SDN and IDASA! Please help spread the word and make this – and the Nigerian election – a success!
â€¦ it begins
Thanks for inspiring us to get this started, Mr Eigen, and for the support. We owe you and Kabissa yet another one.
Apart from some of the technology issues that people are raising here – and which you and I have talked back and forth offblog – I think Imnakoya and Sokari are highlighting the main challenges we have to overcome:
Nigeria and Africa isnâ€™t up to speed with â€œblogâ€ technology.
(I.e.: How to get Flickr, Technorati, Twitter, WordPress, Joomla, Tagging, YouTube and everything to work together so you can do something useful with them.)
To be fairâ€¦ I think some European human rights activists, who think they know a thing or two about websites, are also lagging somewhere behind in understanding how it all works togetherâ€¦ Iâ€™ve learned a lot this week
The other main challenge for us, which Imnakoya and Sokari are correctly identifying is that the Nigerian â€œblogverseâ€ is fragmented at the moment.
I think that is a reflection of Nigerian politicsâ€¦ things are not falling apart, so much as very slowly crumbling. (I have written about this here. I also write a little there about my experiences in Port Harcourt at Easter in 2003. On which note, by a coincidence Iâ€™m writing this on Easter Sunday 2007 so Happy Easter everyone )
Greenlightnigeria.org is going to be an interesting experiment, to see if we can get a wave of enthusiasm for blogging going across the whole country.
In fact, why stop there? If this becomes a useful tool during Nigeriaâ€™s elections – with the biggest electorate in Africa – it must be possible to use the same technologies and approaches throughout the continent.
But we are very much aware of the fact that this is an experiment. April is the start of the processâ€¦ the real crunch time is in February, when local government elections are scheduled.
For now, the main advantages greenlightnigeria.org has are for election monitors, activists and indepedent witnesses to the elections; all of whom want to be able to get information, experiences and opinions out, but want to minimise the risks to themselves of going public.
I am going to have to do a bit of editing and managing as we will have multiple bloggers, plenty of opportunity for people to interact through comments and in other ways.
We will have to manage the garbage-in / garbage-out problem with having multiple contributorsâ€¦ thereâ€™s no getting around our legal obligations as publishers in the UK, so a certain amount of fact checking is unavoidable.
For this reason we would love people to approach us to become bloggers – as well as to be â€œcommentersâ€ etc – but we will probably have to pick people up slowly, do basic ID checks, etcâ€¦
However, despite these limitations I am really excited by the huge opportunities for people to interact and use this as a tool to create debate.
More to comeâ€¦ -t