Participants at the kickoff SANGONet 2009 Social Media for NGOs conference made great use of the hashtag #sango09. The channel remained active throughout the day with over 200 tweets. Perhaps the biggest buzz was around the launch of the Betavine Social Exchange which was introduced by Steve Wollak from Vodaphone. According to the retweet by belfastangel, the social exchange is ‘set up to encourage NGO use of mobile technology in line with @ambio conclusions' and already has 13,000 registered mobile developers. By the way, @ambio is Steven Ambrose’s Twitter username. Steven is from World Wide Worx and the conclusions referred to are those presented in the morning plenary session from the recent research report on the State of ICTs in the South African NGO sector. The report will be due out within the next few weeks, so keep checking the NGO Pulse website for more details.
Unsurprisingly, a number of the day's tweets were about the parallel sessions which took place both before and after lunch, and covered the topics of mobile technology, communication both on and offline, and the social web. The tweets around mobile technology highlighted the reality that this technology is growing at a tremendous rate in the developing world, with household spend on mobile 'growing much faster than energy or water'. Another tweet mentioned that for every fixed line in South Africa, there are 50 mobile phones.
Some activity around leveraging mobile technology for social and educational benefit also got the channel atwitter. Initiatives presented by LoveLife and Meraka were highlighted, in particular Meraka’s Dr Maths initiative on Mixit which is a mobile tutoring platform that has 6,000 learners throughout South Africa. From the social web session, there was some discussion around the Virtual Worlds presentation which looked at Second Life as a social initiative to assist with fundraising and raising awareness of African issues. There was perhaps a touch of sceptisim, with one tweet wondering what the SA user figures look like, although a few retweets of the sentiment “there is a need for the African voice in the virtual world” certainly gave participants food for thought.
The overall perception of twitterers on the channel was that Day One has been a great success and there is anticipation for Day Two! To all those atwitter participants, thank you for the tweets; we look forward to reading tomorrow's conversations.