For five days, Social Media Week Lagos (SMW Lagos) hosted audiences from across the media, finance, technology and creative industries, to engage in robust conversations revolving around the art of storytelling and its digital future.
With a series of panel discussions, workshops and of course entertainment, this year’s social media week offered a plethora of events, perfectly curated to give attendees a lasting experience.
Every morning started with a yoga class where attendees were encouraged to channel positive vibes. The evenings were characterized with entertaining events such as karaoke and each day had its own theme; from the future of digital publishing to governance.
In line with this year’s global theme which was unveiled In September 2018 by Toby Daniels, the founder of Social Media Week, much of the conversations centered on ethical responsibility in storytelling. Ngozi Odita, the founder of Social Media Week Lagos, ensured that the global theme was channelled to meet the needs of local audiences.
Aptly themed ‘Stories: With Great Influence Comes Great Responsibility’, the Future of Digital Publishing panel organised by The Guardian Newspaper Nigeria on the first day, February 4, discussed the many changes in the media landscape. The panellists, which included Google’s Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade and Facebook’s Adaora Ikenze, attempted to proffer a solution to the increasing spread of fake news which, in recent times, has been spread on their platforms. While Facebook launched a third-party-fact-checking initiative in 2018 to reduce the spread of misinformation, the results have proved that a more robust approach is needed to combat fake news.
The first day also saw the grand opening of Africa NXT, a marketplace that featured a number of vendors and activities, including a coffee lounge, a beer stand, pop-up massages and fashion boutiques.
Travel enthusiasts had an engaging day on the second day, where discussions revolved around tourism in Nigeria. Panellists like the founder of Wakanow, Obinna Ekezie and Caleb Maiye, a travel expert discussed the various opportunities and challenges plaguing the industry while offering solutions to keep the industry booming.
Aspiring musicians and budding talents learnt the intricacies of the music business from the celebrated rapper M.I during the Beat FM Music Day Panel on the third day. There were also contributions from Joey Akan, former Music Editor at the Pulse NG.
With the elections period, a spirited discussion was held on the fourth day, aptly tagged Governance Day. The discussion mainly examined the roles social media and tech play in politics, governance and civil society, while also delineating the difference between advocacy and activism as buttressed by the Civil Rights and Institutional Reforms Advocate Segun Awosanya, alongside other panellists at the ‘Not All Heroes Wear Capes in Nigeria’ session. The Lagos gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) also graced the business session.
Saving the best for last, women took centre stage on Friday, February 8. While women were celebrated for shattering glass ceilings, other problems still linger for the average women in Nigeria. There were discussions on gender equity as well as leadership opportunities in politics and governance for women.
The Launched In Africa Pitch Day also unveiled the top start-ups in the country. They include mypaddi app, Crowdpol, Code Ln, Vesicash and CityBud. There were also workshops on website designing, health and nutrition.
Over the years, SMW Lagos has become a hotspot for budding talents to display their ingenuity. This year saw Nimi Izulu entertaining the audience with his painting. The artist identified himself as a paintertainer- an artist who engages and paints in front of a live audience.
Notable companies who participated in this year’s event include Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank, Deutsche Wells, and The Wheatbaker Hotel among many others.
Produced by Afrika21, and held every February, Social Media Week Lagos is a week-long conference that explores media, technology, and how businesses, brands and people can navigate in a hyper-connected world. Founded in 2013, the conference has proved to be one of the most attended events of the year.