At the end of November through a small poetry group I associate with, someone dropped in a poster of WordCamp Kampala, it was like a dream come true because a WordPress user in Nairobi had been showing off about the event. I had to look for the venue after words and then crossed my fingers and waited for the 16th of December. Over the next days I checked the twitter page which didn’t offer much because it had a few tweets but the hashtag was something already, Outbox Hub the hosting hub and the only google hub in town also had enough information through the tweets, the website for the event too, so I was sure it was happening.
Hold on WordCamp is not limited to Kampala and Nairobi, they happen all over the world so am writing about a global movement or more of an informal community of WordPress users, from simple bloggers like me to core developers that instruct computers to talk and laugh, the real coders that come together in almost all major cities of the world and share ideas and also basically know each other. Creating networks is the thing of today and it will drive the future.
I got at Soliz House on Lumumba Avenue early because I wanted to beat the Kampala Traffic and also keep time. After a few minutes of waiting a group of people arrived in blue T-shirts branded WordPress and they welcomed us, led by a gentle man called Franklyn the farmer and also one of those behind the famous Agrimartt. The other early bidder was Dr Walfgang H Thome who I later learned was, was behind the early growth of Uganda’s tourism and a seasonal writer on travel and the tourism sector in the East African region, he has also been blogging on WordPress since 2010. The venue was being set up with the Film crew ACROFilmz, as other delegates where coming, their volunteers who worked to make sure everything was running smooth had black branded T-shirts. At about 9:00 Hrs. breakfast was served and looking back at the ticket price I had paid of UgX 20,000 about $ 6 roughly it was not adding up.
After I put out my first tweet of the event I realized my mbs were not enough to last a day of twitter, then a Wi-Fi password was rolled out and this internet was even faster than those F1 cars, I hated Wi-Fi spots in Kampala because it more of a waste of time but not at the Outbox Hub.
As a blogger using WordPress I find it very friendly, after looking a place where I could put my writings and I don’t find it gone the next day I discovered WordPress, and after using for a year when asked about by a developer called Lutaya I was excited telling him how good it was and all he told me brace yourself you have a lot to find out and trust me by Sunday afternoon I felt like I could run a multi-billion web development company. And I kept on telling Sharon a lady who is into-web site management and ICT academia about how good WordPress is before event the real coders and developers kicked in.
The first speaker Christo Innocent who has been using WordPress for about 7 years outlined the a fact about today that many don’t want accept that is about setting a digital footprint, Innocent through his company DoxaLight Inc. the wordpress platform works with a religious organisation and he has accomplished a lot in a short time. From through his talk he outlined the issue of perception that we all have to curry if we are to venture into the tech world. Innocent went further underlined the various possibilities of how one can influence the world through the web with platforms like WordPress, through education, politics, financial markets, health and social lifestyle. Sectors that cut throw across everyday life but have not yet been exhausted through tech in Uganda in particular given the ministry websites that take months without being updated.
So through WordPress one can establish a digital footprint if they know their product that is the main agenda. If one can come up with their own product, stay relevant at all times with easy to use out puts that compel the public to use the product.
Christo Innocent also outlined the need to get to know the platform one choses to work with, by studying the tools. To have a plan in place, to always have projects to work with and the need to train people to join the platform which can be a source of income.
The second speaker Nekesa Patience one of the few ladies that showed, she rose a very sensitive issue one that the Ugandan society like to keep in the kitchen, the issue of gender in the tech sector. She is walking the talk since she is the founder of Women foundation Africa which is in the bid to create solutions for everyday problems that women face world over in the society.
As a WordPress user Nekesa advised that we understand what time is in a business perspective, lead time works hand in hand with production for clients, she stressed the issue of pricing or valuation that is more of one knowing there worth. The type of business or matters of being specific in the market was also a point from her talk. @peshnc @Ipnekesa
Kasilye Author was another speaker who talked about SEO (Search Engine Optimizations) as marketing tools, he clearly underlined the importance of SEO, he talked about the importance of how fast a page should load if someone visited your blog, she said that its most unlikely that someone will wait for more than 8 seconds to wait for a page to load which is very true with millennials today. He had an options of remedies like Keyword Research Process.
The other speaker talked about developing wordpress plugins, David Wambamba’s talk was a bit technical but am dead sure developers gained from it. He is a trainer or tutor at Hostalite Cyber Academy I really thought he too like Mukalele Rogers had roots in the academia world.
So Mukalele Rogers was also one of the speakers that was focal at WordCamp Kampala, I had never cared about SSL, he stressed the needs for having a Secure Sockets Layer like creating credibility it brings to a site thought the two days we learned a lot from him, on day two he talked about child themes and his talks were very interactive because he would do trails that would benefit anybody even with no coding background.
Laurence Bahiirwa’s talk reminded me of game of thrones especially about little finger with is chaos is a ladder ideology, anyway Bahiirwa talked about contributing to open source community. He briefly talked about the background of open source. He talked about the importance of open source and then I realized that even wordcamp Kampala was a product of open source. Not only IT people can contribute to open source but any wordpress user like me a blogger can contribute through simple feedback.
Franklin Nsubuga an agriculturist and one of the organizers talked about the business side and how to go about it in line with opportunities that WordPress offers, consistency touched me because it is like a writers diseases especially if it’s still a hobby.
Julius Masaba a business blogger put together a serious of issues he faces while using WordPress and the issue of payments was a stick out and I promise I have to do a blog about internet payments and the available opportunities.
Peter Kakoma was also one of the speakers that graced WordCamp Kampala, He has worked with MTN Uganda, Also one of the founders of the famous Kanzu Code and a consultant at Agenda Uganda, his talk was also too technical for me, but that is the thing about networking.
Dr Walfgang H Thome is what I can call a seasonal writer about a sector he mastered over the years, he has extensively documented Uganda and East Africa’s tourism. From his experience he admonished us to write about what we know and have an understanding , then there we shall be able to become an authority in the field and the readers will trust us hence setting a digital footprint that Innocent talked about at the start of the WordCamp.
Have not met a blogger who does not refer to Dairy of a Muzungu, I used to think it was a group of people who came up with the content on this famous blog, at some point my beer friends suggested that the writer was not real but here she was Charlotte Beauvais. She told us that blogging to her was hobby that got out of control. From writing about her phobias for insects, to having the biggest blog in Uganda, Dairy of a Muzungu is like a case study for anyone who is getting into blogging for the first time. She shared with us many things among them were the myths about blogging, like it’s not for computer guys, or those with a degree in literature and having a very good camera.
The meals were world-class for both the days. This event happened last weekend and that is how it went down in my eyes.