Last month, I visited Kenya for the first time ever. It has always been on my list of countries I needed to go, not only because I have Kenyan friends but I have a large readership there. In fact, Kenya is ranked number 5 on the countries where my site gets the most traffic.
Me and my girls decided to take a 6 day trip because we found a great flight deal. When I announced on the Awesomely Luvvie Facebook fan page that I was gonna be in Nairobi from March 3-8, my Kenyan readers were like “You have to do a meetup!” The good folks of the Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) connected with me and offered to host me for an event and I was like HELL YES! LET’S DO IT!
And do it, we did. 3 days after the meetup was announced, the 100 seats for the event were sold out. I never even announced on my site here that it was happening so this was just from Facebook and Twitter (sorry about that).
So on March 6, I went to Nailab in Nairobi and got treated like royalty. We used the hashtag #NairobiLuvv (because that was the hashtag I was using the entire time I was there). When I got to the space, people were so excited to see me, and I was happy to be there. I don’t take the love and support for granted, and I surely appreciate the role that everyone has played in my success. It was a full room.
The event wasn’t just a meet and greet, but it was a talkback session where I was interviewed by BAKE, and then the audience got to ask me questions in their own Q&A. I spent three hours talking to the room about a variety of topics, and I really went in-depth on everything.
I talked about my journey as a blogger and how I got started. I talked about my philosophy on creating content and how I’ve always kept my integrity at the front because it’s important to stay true to my voice. We even delved deeper and I was asked how being an African in America affects my work. This was an incredible session because I really got to get them to understand my approach to life, work, love and more.
The people in that room knew my work so much that it WAS like talking to friends I’ve known for a while. Speaking of, on this crazy blogging journey of mine, I’ve met so many great people. I may have hundreds of thousands of readers now but I will not forget some of those who were reading my site and showing me love when I only had a few.
One of those people is Saiton! She’s been reading and commenting on my blog since AT LEAST 2009 and we’ve been following each other on Twitter for just as long. In fact, I think she’s the reason so many people in Kenya know of my blog, because she shares my posts! So when she raised her hand to ask a question and said who she was, I squealed and wanted to jump off the stage to hug her. She didn’t know I was just as excited to meet her as she was to meet me.
So when folks talk about the power of social media? This is it. Because I can go to the other side of the world, meet someone for the very first time and feel like I already know her.
Thanks to BAKE for partnering with me for this, and for creating the space. They wrote a recap of the event here. Thanks to everyone who came out. Kenya showed me SO MUCH love, even beyond the meetup. The moment I said I was coming, I got so many “Karibu Kenya” comments. I was feeling very welcome and I cannot wait to go back. I was in Kenya talking about “next time I come.”
Shoutout to the beautiful Kirigo for making me squeal when I saw her rocking one of my UNABLE TO CAN tshirts!
And next time, I’ll have an even bigger meetup, so I can meet more of you. In fact, if you are an international (outside of the United States) reader of mine, join THIS MAILING LIST so I can send you emails, in case I’m in your area and doing a meetup.
ALSO to come: my post on 4 places to visit in Nairobi.
People livetweeted my talk, so here are their tweets. If you can’t view below, see it on Storify.