Named perhaps after our very own MJ, Michael Joseph Center stands domineering on Waiyaki Way at that place that says it’s the home of Safaricom. Big as the name will sound, Micheal Joseph would pass as the father of Safaricom; the leagues of founding fathers. Think Benjamin Franklin and Jomo Kenyatta here at home. But that’s beside the point. The point rather, as you walk into MJ center, you will read their slogan “A sharing Spirit” Such a spirit is so enshrined in the WordPress community. After all WordPressers literally shares stories. But they are not just stories. They are ideas that open them to the world and the world to them. The sharing spirit lives on.
Saturday fourth November and the WordPress community inspired WordCamp Nairobi is happening at the said Micheal Joseph Center. It’s a Kenyan version of what the WordPress Enthusiasts around the world do at a yearly interval. I walk in. Am late. I sink at the reception and fire my data icon. I stop by Facebook. I had started the week from upcountry and travelling back to Nairobi, I passed some place I have know for years and so this roadside Nation signboard with that place’s name written wrongly. I think am morphing into a nerd. I take to ranting about it on Facebook. I scroll on. Chaps who come from that place but happen to reside on Facebook away from there aren’t taking that Nation mistake lightly. Some guy even tweets that post to Twitter and tags the nation Twitter handle. It freaks me that it might get Nation off their hooks and they might send emissaries to my house. Lately KOT (Kenyans On Twitter) have not been friendly😎
Walking in, that place is a warehouse of activities. Some guy is holding a mic the way an upcoming musician would. He’s the hype man of the day. One more compliment, he’s darker than me. Another girl swives up and down across the room shouting into her microphone. I can’t tell her role. The speakers blaze. The screens gleam. The lights above illuminate. People are seated eyes glued to the front. They don’t even notice that another human being just added to statistics. Not that it was any of their business though. To the breast towards the washrooms (girls these days call them ladies. Like feminism means more than us men. Is okay ladies) a group of presentable teens are setting up a serving area. It’s about tea time. Tea is boring. I can see a Nescafe from where I am. The Dj deck is lifted off the ground making that station the Centre of attraction. I drag through and speak to a couple of guys in a tone not audible. I sink in a chair on the very last row. Some chap waves in the air. He looks familiar.
One speaker hits the podium. There’s been one before her. Him who broke the ice. And swear you don’t want to be the one breaking the ice. I have been there before. You will stand in the middle of that podium. Everyone else in seating posture eyes attacking your dwindling attention. The slides will go live. The topic will be bold centered but your mind empty as a hall. Your memory will choke. The audience will stare on. Expectations will read from their light illuminated foreheads. You will miss where to start the conversation from. You will find some balance and throw a random question. Nothing. It will get you fumbling through the notes. You will gain some balance. The lady speaker winds up on her part. It’s tea time then back to seating position. One more speaker then myself. Am tasked to talk convince the audience as to why we should all be part of the WordPress community. A daunting of a task.
I had not made any notes for this. I had been on travel. Plus all Google searches led me to irrelevant stuff. I tell the attendees that mine is A Different Narrative. Because everyone speaks from slides. I choose not to. They laugh. It works. I have thirty minutes to spare. I say many stuff but balance with linking them to my topic of day.
Rule of the thumb demands that you don’t quote yourself as a researcher but I want to quote myself as an example of how the WordPress community shaped my #ADifferentNarattive and as a result birthed Winstontony, TWIC BRANDs and Bizhub. I start from there because as part of my introduction, am to say what I do and how it’s linked to the topic at hand. Basically, WordPress is been core in this my journey
That place statistically has a majority Internet nomads. Chaps who ravage the Web space for a living. Selling their skills and talent and knowhow in exchange for a bill. Some doing designs. Some writing. Some transcribing and what have you. It’s how I get to my next few points in my speech. Which thus are;
Freelancing is the future of employment. Why and how is perhaps as diverse but among other factors the Penetration of the Internet and Upscaling of technology has seen the fastest transfer of information. Thus around the globe people compare and contrast cultures (way of doing things) and such includes but not limited to work cultures. Additionally, we are living in the information age and people’s definition for purpose has changed rather drifted to doing things differently. In the sixties for example kids would go to school, get into college, come out and into job market, marry, settle down, Build careers, raise families and work towards retirement solemnly funded by government inspired pension schemes. Lately and in this century, we see kids face life differently. We see kids innovate and get out of school midway to build brands and back to school to pick their degrees. We see disruptive businesses such as Facebook and the booming Fintech thanks to technology. Purpose has drifted towards relationships and human well being. As a result there’s more activity around social entrepreneurship. Kids of the coming generation being more restless will pick up less of jobs that tie them and more of gigs that allow them to work on their own and teleworking will be more an option.
In the same connection, the world is dangerously fractured in the middle and people are pursuing happiness. They will thus want more time to pursue things that warm their hearts. Which is a step towards happiness. They would thus avoid work and work cultures that hold hostage their hostage and zap their energy. In what essence Freelancing wins.
We are living in the Experience Economy. People, and or rather customers are openly aware of the good they want. Enterprises across the world commit to find that tick where consumers give them attention. Lately Influencer Marketing has been at the fore front. Again Freelancing wins.
I Said Writing is the future of marketing (that would better mean story telling. And story telling will include writing.) The audience was audibly silent. Some girl from the back row wore a “what are you saying you guy?” face. I could tell she wasn’t convinced. I paused and went down to her rescue. She stood talking in a tone only herself could hear. All eyes turned to her. The guy with the mic rushed to restore her voice. I opened the conversation “not that am putting you on spot but tell us why you are of a contrary opinion” She mentioned digital ads. I rejoined that yes digital ads start from a written script by some copy writer. She sat down convinced. The crowd cheered. The future of marketing being writing gives WordPressers a unique opportunity since they deal in words.
Moving with speed I delved deeper into the topic under conversation; Why you should be part of the WordPress community. WordPress is a community just as Biz HUB is a community. I this borrowed from our Biz HUB objectives defining WordPress importance through the eyes of; Opportunity, Networking, Inspiration, Empowerment and Branding
Crowning with Branding, I opened up that debate on Self improvement code box that’s rather what makes you unique. Which summarily is as below although we shall revisit in a future separate post;
A. RED Box
i. Character Values
iii. Personal BRAND
B. Build your Network
C. Raise your Profile (By sharing ideas through speaking, Writing and so on)
D. Remain Authentic.
From A through D above, WordPress as a content sharing system that powers 25% of the online world will prove handy.
Examples of Internet GURUS rather renowned Entrepreneurs who have used the Internet profitably might include but not limited to Tony Robins; the famous CEO Whisperer. Tim Ferris of the work from home Narrative. Richard Branson of the humongous Virgin Brands. And if you are reading this five years from now, Winstontony of the famed #ADifferentNarattive .
The Event proceed gracefully. Some girl spoke about the ideal of becoming vital not struggling to get viral in as far as the digital space is concerned. Breaks in between kept the audience away from boredom. My Delicious Homemade served tantalizing mouth watering meals. People networked on queues as they went in to pick a bite, then a drink, then a salad. Question and answer session happened in between then an Tech Expert session. The event closed with an after party that trickled of booze. Then another useful Saturday went down the books of history. Following is list of speakers and what they said. Check them out on Google when the gods of time allow;
A list of speakers and topics.
Linton Chege: Why WordPress
Jkaduki: WordPress Community, the gift that keeps giving.
Dickson Otieno: How anyone can build a WordPress blog/Website that lasts.
Sam Kiranga: WordPress User Experience.
Winstontony: Why you should be part of the WordPress Community.
LizBeth Kariuki: Creating a blog and generating content
Stella Njogo: Stop trying to become viral. Become vital. And here’s how with WordPress.
Daniel Muriithi: How to increase and improve business sales conversion using a WordPress website.
Hannah2017: Content Development on WordPress.
Peter Kamore: Email Marketing/ Building a subscription
Jean Wandimi: Achieve personal/ Corporate Blogging with WordPress.
Boit Victor: WordPress for Charity.
My call to action thus would be that you find your own Different Narrative, write it out and show the world what you are made of. Welcome to the WordPress community. More from her: WordCamp Nairobi