A blogger and social media practitioner, Samuel Udoma has recounted his experiences at the just concluded Lagos Social Media Week, 2020. Writing on his Facebook timeline, Mr Udoma wrote: (See the full piece below)

“By the dusk of Friday, the 28th of February, the Social Media Week, Lagos2020 had successfully spinned 360°s. For the earlier five days past, the extravagant Landmark Events Centre, Victoria Island had become a beehive of activities, playing host to a well mixed and an incredibly talented crop of digitech innovators, practitioners and enthusiasts drawn from across the continent and beyond.

The festival which is in its 7th year is not just a gathering of tech geeks glued to their phone or laptop screens, but an amazing ensemble of the 21st century tech savvy innovators, idealists and experimentalists, who are all out to revolutionize how humanity lives and subsists in a digicraze era.

Udoma with other participants at the festival

Since its inception about seven years ago, the city of Lagos has been an illustrious host of this highly rated digitech festival.

Lagos without doubt is one of the most important economic nerve centres in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Landmark choice of the venue situated in the heart of Victoria Island has been a touristic masterstroke by the organizers and deservingly, a perfect fit.

Lagos Island in the full flow of its lush and opulence is a real 5-star destination, any time, any day. Its numerous ocean views and an exotic city-set gives the area a perpetual majestic feel and the Social Media Week attendees couldn’t have asked for a better destination.

The Island has over the past few decades gained fame and notoriety for being a home to celebrities, top execs, political heavyweights and the general societal upper echelon. It is a city that never sleeps.

The February 24th air trip from Uyo to Lagos was smooth. The about 30minutes drive from the MMIA, Ikeja to Victoria Island on a Sunday morning offered good glancing views of the city’s town plan and architecture with a relatively fair traffic jam to contend with. We can never do without traffic logjam in Lagos, can we?.

Arriving a day earlier to the festival’s opening date offered ample time for a bedding in to the hotel, checked out some the city’s iconic spots and heightened the overall suspense ahead of the D-day.

And come Monday, the 24th February, 2020, the Social Media Week, Lagos 2020 had kicked off in the most informal of ways.
There was nothing like official opening protocols where probably the state governor or a representative would have come to declare the techmeet open, no opening praise and worship or a long routine of the recognition of dignitaries present.

Instead, the festival followed a well set timetable already installed in the SMW app with events oscillating between the about the 10 uniques venues within the Landmark dome, giving attendees a ‘spoilt for choice’ options on which to attend.

This year’s theme, ‘The Human X’ was coined to encapsulate and generate conversations on what it means to take a human first approach to innovation across the industries, communities and the continent of Africa.

A total of 404 speakers, discussants and panelists were carefully chosen across the allied digiworld to interpret this theme in the about 107 unique events of the festival.

The festival was not just about talk shows, but also served as a virile market for tech innovators to display their latest offerings and designs. As such, the main reception lounge of the hall was perpetually agog with brand marketers, techpreneurs and promoters.

As the festival unfolded steadily through the days, the message had become even bolder that digitization was taking over. In simplest terms, the overriding statement was that all your endeavours in the 21st century must be tailored to be driven digitally, lest such endeavours may become obsolete in just under a decade. Industries, businesses and organizations must all meet digital demands of their customers.
A good chunk of time was also spent on discussions surrounding Agrotech, Fintech, Contents for consumers and basic social rights.

The intermittent intervals between the sessions offered participants opportunities to meet and greet. And in the most cheering news, Akwa Ibom state had some of most attendees and resource persons. In fact, among the 10 people one was likely to meet, one will be an Akwa Ibomite.
It is a quick pointer to the state’s growing tech and social media status.
Akwa Ibom contingents to this year’s SMW roundly had a very superlative outing, one must agree.

Another of the most impressive aspects of the festival was how the organizers put together such a massive week with little or no government intervention.
In fact, as the week marched on towards its twilight, people were still wondering when the governor of Lagos state was coming to address the entire participants but that never happened.
It was indeed a refreshing shift from the usually laborious government backed events whose activities are usually greatly dismantled by the late arrivals of the ‘special guests of honour’.
It was indeed an exemplification of a new thinking energetically pushed by this current generation.

Udoma with former Big Brother Nigeria Contestant, Ifuennada at the SMW, Lagos.

In all, the experiences of the Social Media Week can never be best described in pen, rather it should be felt. The new thinking and ideas acquired in the week are invaluable and no attendee worth his salt will ever attend the SMW and come back the same. In the biometrics released during the closing hours of the festival, a total of 21,580 people drawn from across 28 countries had attended the 2020 edition. Going forward, it is my hope that more Akwa Ibomites would have a chance to experience the event dubbed ‘the greatest digitech gathering in Africa’.”