Nana Darkoa and I believe in African people telling the stories of African people. For centuries, our stories have been told from the perspective – and in the language – of our captors and oppressors. That’s the reason I’m writing this post today in English on a Chinese manufactured laptop instead of in Twi. We started Adventures From The Bedrooms Of African Women because we recognized there was a real need for African women on the Continent and in the Diaspora to share their stories and learn from each other. (That same conviction is why I later went on the start Mind of Malaka.)
Blogging and content creation for social media has become big business, and with that comes some pretty big egos. I wonder if that was what was behind the snippy exchange between me and whoever was behind the @BloggingGhana Twirra handle yesterday?
Now, before I start throwing ‘bows and spinning into roundhouse kicks, let me say that Blogging Ghana as an organization has done a fine job of promoting content creation in Ghana. I have been a supporter of Blogging Ghana since the days when I was running MaizeBreak it was just a few people meeting at the top of Koala in Osu. When I can, I participate in all their twitter chats. I contributed towards their fundraiser for private office space and campaigned for others to do the same. Why? Because collectively, I think we share enough similarities in our individual visions to make us allies. Blogging Ghana has grown from a half dozen members to a veritable force in the Ghanaian social media space/industry. When the founders created the Social Media Awards to acknowledge and celebrate the work of Ghanaian bloggers or writers who create content specifically for the Ghanaian market, I know I was personally thrilled and looking forward to participating in that fete. And guess what? To Nana and my surprise, our blog won best blog for two consecutive years. This year we decided to go for a third attempt at best blog, since that would be a nice feather in our cap.
Now: the tea.
Lawd Jeevus on de throne…be a fence/a force field/a manual to he’p us all!
Back in 1998 when I was working in customer service to make ends meet in college, my call center trainer gave us three basic principles to resolve any issue:
- Apologize (Yes, the company knows it wasn’t your fault for x issue.)
- Remedy the situation to the best of your ability
- Inform the customer once the issue has been resolved, and if it can’t be, offer recommendations until the customer feels satisfied.
Somebody needs to run on down to Blogging Ghana and paint these three steps all over the 5,000 steps leading to the office at iSpace where they are headquartered now, because what I’m about to show you is not the way forward.
It’s awards season, right? So what do people who have been nominated do to make sure they win an award? Come for a cookie if you said “campaign”. And since we are campaigning with the goal to win, we send folks the information they need to vote for us, right? Well, how they gonna do that if the links don’t work, or outdated, or not optimized for mobile or on particular operating systems? Now, in this instance, who’s responsible for making sure the right information is out there? Come for cookies AND milk if you said “Blogging Ghana.” So that’s what I did. I sent a query and got this response back.
Ninja, what? I thought I was seeing things until the woman I had asked on behalf of replied to the note, noting that it was unnecessarily aggressive. We waited for a while and STILL never received the link to vote for. We were just told to visit the home page of the organization.
“And click through how many links?” someone who was following our conversation quipped.
Lemme help whoever was tweeting that day. Your response should have been:
- Gosh! (or Ebei!) I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.
- Let me see about disabling all those other links from 2013-2014
- Here’s the correct link to vote
But naw! You know what happened instead? Dude/chick behind the twitter handle DELETED the tweets when they got called out for their churlish behavior and tried to act like the conversation never happened. How many people know Da Bible says “the innanets is forever”? I just happened to capture those tweets because I hadn’t shut down my PC before heading out.
Then…THEN (!) later that same afternoon, all of the nominees got an email from a Chile Who Shall Remain Nameless, stating:
As part of the scoring, you are required to do the following
Score the other candidates in your category except yourself. Please score only in your category and do not score yourself. Scores placed in your column will be ignored during the final tabulation. This is to peer review your categories and find out who you think deserves to be second to you.
This constitutes 20% of total scores. Find voting sheet attached
If you have been nominated in the best blog category, there is a 10% weight on your traffic. Please send a screenshot or analytics in XML version of your blog showing your traffic per month. Please do well to capture over a period of not less than 3 months. We have no preference for any specific software for traffic. The blog with the highest traffic will receive maximum points and the runner-ups will be ranked according to how close they came to the highest traffic. Please note that we will not award you with any score if you choose not to submit this data.
Okaayyyy….this was new. We’ve never had to do this before….
We had until April 4th to score the fellow nominees in our categories. I don’t know about you, but 5 days and last minute notice isn’t enough time to visit, critique and form an opinion about somebody else’s blog that I have never visited. We were later informed that we’d be penalized if we didn’t participate in the peer review process. This was a pile of moose crap. You know how I know this was some bull? Because I know TOO many people who have tried to pawn their work off on me and call it an “opportunity”. Apparently, we were being given the “opportunity” to review our peers. Nah playa. It’s your team’s job to review the blogs AND Google has all the traffic and ranking information of every blog that ever existed in the history of mankind available at any time. You just want us to do your work for you.
This was the last straw. I was done after that Twirra interaction, but Nana was really done after this email. The Nameless Chile then went on to accuse us of not wanting to share our analytics. Ninja, WHAT?!? Nana shares our stats near monthly. If you don’t go set down and find yourself a Poki…
When we were first considering withdrawing, Nana and I were both worried that people would say “Oh, it’s because they got scared that they couldn’t win.” We know how Ghanaians think. Now, I can say what I’m about to say because I have no decorum, so note that this is ME speaking, not Nana Darkoa.
Adventures From the Bedrooms of African Women is a freaking juggernaut, ok? I tested this myself. Even mindofmalaka.com – phenomenal as this blog is – couldn’t stop Adventures. We would have swept those awards in our category easily. You know why? It’s not because Nana and I made it into what it is – our readers and supporters did that. The strength of any brand/enterprise/movement is in the engagement of its people. YOU guys went out there and voted for us. YOU take the time out of your day to drive traffic. YOU refer us to your friends and family, and if we have stayed in this race YOU would have carried us to victory. The Adventurers are the real MVPs, and quite frankly we ALL deserve better than this!
In conclusion, I haven’t felt this elated since I returned that Michael Kors bag in defiance of white supremacy as I do right now. I literally feel power surging through me. I will not stand to be insulted, and I certainly don’t want our blog associated with mediocre and inefficient processes, hubris, rudeness and ego. Where’s the prestige in that?
Chiiiillle…that’s the tea. Good luck to all the other nominees.