I remember when I received the email, notifying me that I was selected as an onsite social reporter at the ICT4Ag. I was in the office at the time and for awhile I froze and just stared at the computer screen in shock because this was a dream come true. This training program was the opportunity that I had been praying for, a chance to enhance my skills and equip myself with the knowledge to take my career to another level. There aren’t enough words to express the euphoria I felt at that moment.
Onsite social reporters were given a two (2) day workshop before the conference.This workshop provided me with formal training to effectively use social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and Hootsuite. By nature, I am a shy person. Even my online persona tends to be shy; I know that sounds weird but its true. What Pier and Nawsheen thought me wasn’t just how to use the tools to engage the audience but how to express myself with them as well. I went from 30 something followers before the training sessions to 99 at the end of the conference.
Every day new articles, blog post and publications are made on the subject of Information and Communication Technology for Agricultural Development (ICT4Ag) but with my new skills, I know that I will now be better equipped to share my views on the subject. To leave my mark in cyberspace. Don’t just take my word for it, Pier’s post on tracking reach and understanding engagement gives an excellent breakdown on the impact social media had on the conference.
Our host, the Republic of Rwanda is famously known as the ‘land of a thousand hills’. I couldn’t image how beautiful those hills would be until I saw them in person. What I saw in the media’s before the event didn’t aptly reflect all that Rwanda has to offer. Every time I stepped out of my hotel I fell a little more in love with the country. The Rwandans, themselves were very outgoing and courteous. They made it easy for me to feel comfortable being so far away from my homeland.
I will admit the language and climate differences did take some adjustment, but it only served to make my experience a memorable one. I went to the conference expecting to learn more about Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and network with others in the field but instead, as Nawsheen puts it we all became More family than team.
Upon my return home I was plagued with the question “what next”. My personal goal is not to waste the opportunity that was granted to me but to use those skills to help my country. Having completed the social media training and participation in the conference I can now respond efficiently to any issue related to my field of knowledge. Additional, I hope to contribute something new and relevant to the development of the Trinidad and Tobago’s agriculture industry.