Saturday, August 4, 2012

Vodacom Awards, The Blowback, Some Thoughts.

You'll notice I have put up the badge for the Vodacom Award for Digital Excellence right there on the right. Early days, so there's nothing to report with regards to the Fellowship on my side. Instead may I offer you some coverage from other sources:

1. The press release about the Fellows and the Awards.
2. The criteria on which Fellows were judged.
3. Some sweet love from a fellow stakeholder in the industry, because this is Tanzania and no event would be complete without it. My favorite passage:
"Kwangu mimi, utoaji wa tuzo hizi, umekuwa ni mwendelezo wa usanii ambao umekuwa ukifanywa na kampuni hii katika kuhakikisha kuwa wanatumia udhaifu wa kisheria, weledi na mshikamano baina ya waandishi wa habari wa mtandaoni, kujinufaisha zaidi wao badala ya kuwanufaisha wanahabari hawa ambao ni wazi wamekuwa wakiwafanyia kazi kubwa sana."


I mean, I understand some of the frustration. Not only was this not a popular award (it did not involve a voting mechanism that included a general public), it wasn't transparent (scoring was done by a shadowy cabal of experts in the field. They did not include the usual suspects since the usual suspects were probably eligible for the Fellowship, I suppose). Not to mention the diversity represented therein. But here's the trick: though the word 'Award' is used, this is in fact a Fellowship. Whole different ballgame.

While we're on the subject, a few people have raised the fact that there already exists a Tanzania Blog Awards. Why didn't Vodacom just sponsor that initiative instead of creating 'duplication?' Simple- they're different kinds of initiatives and hardly mutually exclusive. Perhaps they will merge in the future. I doubt it, corporations love their branding monopolies :) Perhaps Tigo or Airtel will creep up on the Bloggers' Award- which, incidentally, is driven by a nomination/voting mechanism. You can find the 2012 winners right here.

My concern is that there is an unnecessary separation between the English and the Kiswahili blogospheres, which is a shame as we could do so much more in a collaborative mindset. So far the Dar Bloggers' Circle hasn't been able to quite address this challenge to anyone's satisfaction, in spite of Biche's best efforts- and she's put a lot of excellent hard work into this. Suggestions warmly welcome, in the spirit of collective power. Let's make social media work for us, people. Kazi njema.


  1. firstly, congratulations. use it and enjoy it. secondly, thanks for the link to the stakeholder statement - a fine example of the genre, it must be said. begrudgery at its finest.

  2. i commend your bluntness. i also investigated the criteria they said was evaluating their choices but to my dismay i comes off as a PR set up for them..


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