"First Thursday" is an online meeting held once a month. I started inviting people to it about ten years ago. The idea was simply that I'd commit to turning up online for an hour or so, and my contacts might drop in to say "Hi" and meet each other. It was an Internet based equivalent to the old fashioned idea of someone being "at home" ready to receive visitors.

People and places

The joy of First Thursday is the people and the varied locations that we come from. Over time we find out what shared interests we have and are able to learn from each other. Over the years the "core people" have joined in mostly from Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, UK, Lithuania, Serbia, Italy, Denmark and USA. (Apologies if I've missed any.)

Our online locations

First Thursday has ebbed and flowed over the years, partly depending on the online space we're using. In 2007 we were using Andrius Kulikauskas's chat room. That was good because people could access it directly from a cyber cafe. There was no need to download any software. All that was needed was to know the url. 

When Andrius'  chat room had to close we tried other options as our "home" all with different benefits and disadvantages. Skype was good but not if you needed to use a cyber cafe. The best alternative to the chat room was when we used a version of Etherpad on a server in Gerry Gleason's basement in Chicago. Etherpads were also accessible with no more than a url. More people were using their own phones or laptops by then instead of the cyber cafes. The Etherpad display could cause confusion for people who were using a phone instead of a laptop but otherwise it was good. We were sorry when Gerry had to drop out of supporting it.

Our next home was an interesting experiment with Kabissa, but that wasn't easy enough for most people to access so I stopped doing First Thursdays. I think that was towards the end of 2015.

One of my Nigerian contacts Fola Sunday persuaded me to give it a go again - this time using Facebook - a platform which is boycotted by some of our most enthusiastic previous members but has benefits for others.

Dadamac Day

At the November First Thursday I'll be suggesting we take a long view because it's November - and November traditionally includes a "Dadamac Day".

Dadamac Day started off as an annual celebration/get-together related to the first "Teachers Talking" course that I did for John Dada at Fantsuam Foundation in 2004. Like most things I do it didn't have a plan, it just emerged and has taken various shapes over the years. One of our most ambitious Dadamac Days was when it was going to clash with an African Event in London that I wanted to attend. Nikki Fishman and I came up with the idea of doing the Dadamac Day session as a fringe event at the Africa Event.

The organisers agreed, so we were able to:

  • Raise the profile of Dadamac
  • Include some new people
  • Do the ambitious multi-location link up we'd planned - which included a prize winning choir singing to us all from an event at Fantsuam Foundation in Nigeria
  • Be in the right place, with enough time, to see what was happening in the Africa event.

This year we'll simply be taking it as a focus for the First Thursday Facebook session, and taking a longer view than is usual on other months. We are quite a small group meeting there, but it is a group that represents an interesting mixture of locations and perspectives. I look forward to discovering who will get involved and what a Dadamac Day long-view will cover.