Here is the most anticipated post about my meeting with some of Nigeria’s famous bloggers residing in the United States of America. The state of Maryland itself is home to a handful of them so it was already a granted fact that I would make a courtesy call on the anonymous personalities behind Nigeria’s biggest web voices. Going to Maryland and not meeting a Nigerian blogger is like going to France and not seeing the Eiffel Tower, or going to Lagos and not losing your wallet. Or something like that. Anyway, it was just as well that my Fulbright conference took place in a part of the country closest to the state of Maryland, so I arranged my trip to give at least a form of freedom to explore and meet the people of Nigeria living there, making a difference and contributing their individual talents to global conversation through their blogs and twitter feeds.
I had no unrealistic expectations when I decided to meet with those that were available, and I realized that it was going to be easier since they didn’t have any expectations either. We all belonged to a active (and sometimes resteless) group of bloggers in what is called the Naija Blogville, and even though we had never met in flesh, we existed in a shared space of fun, collective aspirations, life stories, laughter, occasional complaints and youthfulness where we tease, taunt, share, love, scandalize, flay, fight, and desire ourselves endlessly. Until then, I was as invisible to them as they were to me, and agreeing to meet up was as much a trust in good faith and the triumph of media development. After all, if not for blogger, wordpress, facebook or twitter, and most of all instant messaging, and the faith we develop from the impressions made therefrom, there was scarcely a way in which the following scenario would have taken place:
Vera: My school starts at 2pm. We agreed to meet at 2pm.
Me: At your school?
Vera: Yeah. I mean, my group mates and I are meeting at 2pm in school.
Me: Well, except your school is as small as this hotel room, there’s no way I can locate you in a large group of University students on a large campus. Does Bunmi know where to find you in school?
Vera: No, I’m sure she wouldn’t. Okay, let’s put on our thinking caps.
Me: I have mine on right now. It’s blue.
Vera: What time do you want to meet? That would help me determine where/how to meet.
Me: Problem is, I don’t know exactly when exactly Bunmi would be here. She will send me a mail to say when.
Vera: Nonsense. I’m calling her right now. Just hold on.