How it all began

How it all began In January this year Kachwanya had had a number of discussions as concern the condition of the content creation and consumption online in Kenya. The first discussion he had was with Mark Kaigwa at the *iHub_ . Later he talked at length with Nguru (@Kenya_tweets) and Mwirigi after Bob Collymore’s Mind Speak session.

He then met James Murua during PARAGASHA , Martin Gicheru during that week and had a broad discussion with Wanjiku on Twitter and over the phone. From all these talks it was clear that something had to be done to promote the high standards of debate and interaction needed for the growth of local content.

It is said that there is a dearth of online local content in Africa online. A disappointing amount of African content online is produced by Foreigners. We have no problem with foreigners but why do we get excited about things written by people sitting in New York and not what is written by Kaigwa or Wanjiku on the streets of Nairobi.

The one example that always comes to mind is when Kaigwa writes something for Memeburn, we excitedly tweet and reweet his articles while when the same Kaigwa writes something on his blog or in Marketing Africa the same level of excitement is notably absent. We might like Facebook, Twitter, Techcruch, Memeburn but the reality is the more we promote them the more we remain behind with our local blogs, sites and content . That should not be misinterpreted to mean that tweeting or sharing great writing from abroad is bad, no, it is only that we should, simply put we have to find a way to promote ourselves.

So clearly there are two areas which need to be addressed:-

1. Quality discussions or debate online on important issues (Despite the gossip and politics taking all the comments, the latest ranking of blogs by Afrigator indicates that 6 out of top ten blogs in Kenya are either Tech or business blogs. Top visited blogs are still blogs with serious content but not many comments.

2. How to make money out of the content we create.

During the meeting after the Mind Speak, we decided to do something. We decided to form a blogging community. A community connecting blogs in Kenya from all areas of interest and expertise. The basic tenets that the community would be founded on would be :-

1. Content – To ensure that we have fresh content to help gain and maintain traffic each member should post regularly.

2. Comments – This is twofold, by ensuring that we comment on each other’s blog posts, we strive to :-

i. Improve the quality of discussions/debate online

ii. Add value to content created by our members

3. Traffic – Each site visitor statistics may not be attractive to advertisers, but as a group, the number of visits on our sites taken together will be our strength.

4. Revenue – The aim is to create a rate-card that would set out prices for advertisements on our blogs.

5. Engagement – This is in terms of engaging with the readers, members of the community should strive towards engagement with readers on & off the blogs e.g. via Twitter, Facebook, Mailing lists and events.

6. Maintain Your Style – Self Explanatory.

7. Membership – We aim to have a broad membership in all fields/spheres of influence/topics that are relevant to Kenyans today, membership administration will be highly automated to reduce bias.

On the 25th of March, Kahonge, Martin, Kachwanya, Roomthinker, Mark, Kahenya and Waniku and Mwirigi met at the *iHub_ to discuss the formation of the community. The name for the proposed community, the Bloggers association of Kenya, or BAKE, came out of this meeting. was registered by Wanjiku and the basic idea for the site was threshed out. What came next? Blogger Happy Hours, we will discuss this in another post