Interviews

Q & A: Warigia Bowman…

Warigia Bowman, author of Democratizing the New Egypt...

Warigia Bowman is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the American University in Cairo & holds a doctorate in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

The 411…: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Warigia: I am half Kenyan, half American. I think of myself as African-American, though. I am married to a Kenyan. I am trying to learn better Swahili. I am a dedicated mother, a devoted wife and an enthusiastic professor. I am a pretty good cook, and a decent gardener. What else can I tell you?

The 411…: How did you get into blogging?

Warigia: Michael, I just had so much to say about the situation in Egypt, I needed an outlet for my writing.

The 411…: Why did you decide to start a blog?

Warigia: I decided to start my blog so I could keep American friends and family posted about my experiences during the Egyptian Revolution.

The 411…: What was the name of your first blog?

Warigia: Well, my very first blog was mikonogamumama which I started a few years ago about my frugal living tips. Have not done that much with it, but it got me started.

The 411…: What blogging platform did you use to start with? What are you using now and why?

Warigia: I am using Blogspot. It has some good points and some bad points. I like it that it is connected with Gmail and Picasa. I use Picasa a lot, so that is convenient. I do not like it that it only allows you to do ten pages. It seems like word press is more sophisticated, but Blogspot is a good place to start for a non-technical person like myself.

The 411…: What makes a good blog post?

Warigia: Ha ha Michael, I think you know that better than I do, you are a more experienced blogger than I am. My readers seem to love my students’ blog post on the situation of women in Egypt. They also seem very interested in my tracking of the debate about Qadaffi as a Pan-Africanist. I think a good blog post is less than 1200 words, provides a perspective you cannot find elsewhere, and is either very insightful, very funny, or very touching. On a good day, a post may be all three.

The 411…: What would you prioritize? Content? S.E.O.? Traffic? Readers?

Warigia: I am all about content. I would like to see more readers, and more blog traffic, personally.

The 411…: What’s the best thing a blogger can give to his readers?

Warigia: The best thing a blogger can give to his or her readers is a perspective that no one else can provide.

The 411…: List your three favorite blogs (the ones that you read the most).

Warigia: The 411!!! Shout out to my homie Michael Kipsang Bullut! Security4Development by Carl Levan, and Sibilant Egypt, by Abdel-Rahman Hussein.

The 411…: If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?

Warigia: To start blogging I would  say start writing, and read the suggestions on Gmail for blogging. Also, ask fellow bloggers as many questions as you can, and be reciprocal!

Quickfire Round:

1) Your favorite browser?

~ Google Chrome .

2) Your favorite search engine?

~ Google.

3) Best thing about the Net?

~ The Net helps me find friends and relatives I have lost.

4) Worst thing about the Net?

~ The worst thing about the Net is that people do not meet in person or talk on the phone enough anymore. Note to youngsters, don’t date over text, Bad idea.

5) What is your favorite instant messaging software?

~ Gchat, wow, I am a googleslut!

Advertisements

Q & A: Chaka Sichangi…

 

Chaka Sichangi, author of Neo-Cicero & Poetry Philharmonic…

Chaka Sichangi (also known as the Great Elephant) is a law student currently pursuing his degree in the United Kingdom…

If you aren’t reading Neo-Cicero & Poetry Philharmonic, you’re missing out on some great insights!

The 411…: Can you give us a picture of yourself?

Chaka Sichangi: I can, and I’ll paint you motion pictures too. Read my poetry.

The 411…: When did you start blogging?

Chaka Sichangi: ‘The Advent of Neo-Cicero’, which was my first blog post, went up at 2.00 p.m., on the 14th of August 2010.

The 411…: Did you have any specific goal in mind when you began blogging?

Chaka Sichangi: I believe in bold and compelling ideas and I like sharing those ideas, almost as much as I like learning them. I also love poetry and short stories; reading and writing them. So the intention was to share a broad spectrum of ideas, as well as my poetry, for the illumination – however slight – and enjoyment of others, whilst keeping my mind active and making a lab rat of whatever little talent I may have.

Initially I had one blog site; which was an amalgam of all my blog posts. A few months later however, I decided to separate the articles from the literature so as to cater better to my audiences, and just to be more organized really.

The 411…: What was the first blog you ever read?

Chaka Sichangi: I’m quite the curious character; I do a fair amount of reading through various mediums, so to be quite honest, I’m pretty certain I read a few blogs before I even knew what a blog was, I must admit, I’ve always been slow in catching on to tech-terms.

It might have been the blogs by ‘The Economist’, reason being, I would find solace in the internet editions when my dad forgot to bring home the latest publications and my pocket money wasn’t enough to afford any.

The 411…: How much time per day do you spend on blog-related activities (i.e. writing, promotion, design etc)?

Chaka Sichangi: I wouldn’t suggest there is any consistency, and if I dared, the frequency of my posts would betray me. It depends on how much re-creation time I have, and more importantly, whether I have any ideas or poetry worth sharing as I’m disinclined to posting material for postings sake.

The 411…: How do you attract traffic to your blog?

Chaka Sichangi: Chema cha jiuza, kibaya chajitembeza, (A good thing sells itself, a bad thing advertises itself) so firstly and primarily, by the quality of my work.

That said, I have a face-book page where I post all my latest material, and all else that relates to it. On occasion I will tweet the short-links to my latest posts. My blogs are also inter-linked, in addition to having the links on an internet profile page. (http://about.me/ChakaSichangi)

The 411…: What do you think sets your site apart from others?

Chaka Sichangi: I’m a sly linguist with the soul of a dead poet. Like Muki Garang, my logic is ahead of my time. I spew knowledge even if it is unacknowledged.

Nasir Jones once said; ‘There is nothing new under the sun, so it is not what you do but how it is done’, that is what makes all the difference. In that regard, I subscribe to multiple schools of thoughts, and what I present is a splendid concoction… whilst breaking a few rules.

The 411…: On your blog, is there a post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?

Chaka Sichangi: On my Poetry Philharmonic blog; I invited three poets to collaborate with me on a piece that we would later title, ‘Four Portraits of Robert Gabriel Mugabe’.

An article was written about it by the Poetry Foundation which, in a word, distinguished the piece. The same piece has the highest feedback in terms of ratings and feedback, including a comment by my dad saying he was proud of me… which is more powerful than any review I have or would have gotten.

On My Neo-Cicero blog; it would have to be a piece I did after the promulgation of Kenya’s new constitution. The feed-back on that was also quite encouraging considering it was my second blog post.

The 411…: In your most creative words, finish this sentence: “To blog means…”

Chaka Sichangi: To blog means, putting on Superman’s cape, and sitting at a key-board to salvage the credibility and-or sanity of the metropolis that is your mind. Who indulge you tune in for the epic adventures.

The 411…: If you weren’t blogging now, what would you be doing?

Chaka Sichangi: Being Chaka Sichangi… it’s a life-style. 🙂

Quickfire Round:

1) Your favorite browser?

~ Chrome.

2) Your favorite search engine?

~ Bing is not touching Google.

3) Best thing about the Net?

~ I’m an information junkie, the net is my dealer.

4) Worst thing about the Net?

~ My fix is not guaranteed.

5) What is your favorite instant messaging software?

~ Black Berry Messenger.

Q & A: Mwangy’s Musings…

Francis Mark Mwangi, author of Mwangy's Musings...

Francis Mark Mwangi (also known as Eng. Mwangy) is an engineering student at the University of Nairobi.

One can read his blog here…

The 411…: Can you give us a picture of yourself?

Mwangy: Alright here you go… though I must warn you ain’t too photogenic.

The 411…: When did you start blogging?

Mwangy: Its been about a year now.

The 411…: Did you have any specific goal in mind when you began blogging?

Mwangy: Not really. All I wanted to do was express myself in a form anyone can access and question any issues I had or give me other perspectives. After all, they say the masses have the answer to everything right?

The 411…: What was the first blog you ever read?

Mwangy: Can’t quite remember but it wasn’t Kenyan and at the time thot it was a rather silly idea. . . penning everyday about just bout anything. . . .had thought of it as a form of digital diary. . . .and am not that into documenting my life. . . . but it caught on. . . just like a good idea well implemented.

The 411…: How much time per day do you spend on blog-related activities (i.e. writing, promotion, design etc)?

Mwangy: to be honest. . . . very little. . . unfortunately my ‘school’ career path isn’t too web based and so I have little precious time on the internet(sufficiently fast internet at that) though may have found a work around to that. . . watch this space!

The 411…: How do you attract traffic to your blog?

Mwangy: I have linked it to my facebook account and I include the blog URL on my email signature. . . . Am also searchable on (visible to ) search engines indexes

The 411…: What do you think sets your site apart from others?

Mwangy: I don’t really follow too many rules on what /how things need to be said. . . .I wud rather just say wots on my mind. . . .

The 411…: On your blog, is there a post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?

Mwangy: Yes, My first Entry on the reason why safaricom brought m-pesa to the people.

The 411…: In your most creative words, finish this sentence: “To blog means…”

Mwangy: to spew forth knowledge, insight and a good sense of humor. . .

The 411…: If you weren’t blogging now, what would you be doing?

Mwangy: Reading the reviews of the latest hardware to be churned out by the gaming companies. . . .

Quickfire Round:

1) Your favorite browser?

~ Google chrome.

2) Your favorite search engine?

~ Google though lately Bing is upping its game.

3) Best thing about the Net?

~ Interaction. I have met and made some good friends/resourceful people poking around the Internet.

4) Worst thing about the Net?

~ It affords bad evil characters with anonymity thus innocent ones are taken advantage of.

5) What is your favorite instant messaging software?

~ Yahoo Messenger.

10 Reasons to do Blog Interviews…

Here are 10 reasons why you should think about doing blog interviews, too:

1) Mix things up. It is difficult to be a news beacon, constantly finding the latest of what’s going on before others. Even if you’re great at it, you have to sleep sometime. Someone else may have the inside scoop.

2) Create a real conversation. Some of the top diggers have done a good job of every post being a conversation in their weekly podcast, the Drill down. They make a point to have regular guests as well. Social Blend does a fine job of this as well.

3) Paid reviews seem cheap. It comes off as more believable to have an interview over a paid review any day.

4) Interviewing will get you links. You’ll get links from the interviewee at a minimum, potentially along with part of their audience as well.

5) Other people will get the idea and interview you. Since you will now serve as a forum for others to get noticed, people will want to interview or quote you as well.

6) Become an influencer. If you interview a software company, you should be on their list of private beta testers. This will allow you to get a head start in the next new new thing.

7) Bring in a new discipline of expertise. No matter what your blog focus is, you can bring in folks from all sorts of disciplines. Squareoak had a good example of this recently, considering that they write a social media blog and interviewed an economist.

8) Freeze writer’s block in its tracks. Can’t think of anything meaningful to blog about? A good back and forth interview will not only produce a sweet piece of content (the interview itself), but will also get you thinking about follow up questions and new post ideas.

9) Beef up your journalism skills. Show the world that you are more than a borderline crazy person / ranter with some solid journalism skills. Doing some background on the interviewee and verifying sources goes a long way, and shows that you know your stuff.

10) It helps you get new gigs. Regularly doing interviews brings such a fresh source of content that you will reach your blog goals more easily, be it RSS subscribers, consulting, or new blogging gigs.

Source: NowSourcing.