Glowille Olumide Is Eliminating Virtual Barriers With The Lagos Facebook Hangout
By: Caleb Somtochukwu Okereke
In 2016, Glowville Olumide Lawrence, a media strategist, content developer and founder of Glowville Communications started what he then called The Lagos Facebook Hangout. It was as the name suggests a symposium of Facebook users in Lagos to connect, meet themselves, get to know each other without the limitations of the phone screen.
One year later and we believe Glowville has started a revolution. Similar events have sprouted in various cities around Nigeria notably Ondo, Onitsha, Port Harcourt and a host of others. Why this matters is because sometime in 2012, just after Cynthia Osokogu had been murdered after an engagement with friends she had met off Facebook, meeting people off the social network had ceased for a while and then when it eventually happened, it was escorted by a certain disdain and caution.
So what events like the Facebook Hangout do is to foster the idea that social media even in all its limitations can also be a good place, a great place more like it, that you can meet people and form real life connections, and we are thankful for this tilt in the narrative.
We recently caught up with Glowville and talked to him about The Hangout, how far it has come, and what he intends to do with it. Read the interview below.
What inspired the idea of the Lagos Facebook Hangout?
G.O: Facebook Hangout was inspired by the quality of friends I was able to make within the first year of taking Facebook seriously. Hitherto, I had been a twitter guy. I came to Facebook and was able to connect with some amazing people. When I met these people for the first time, they were even better in person. Then I thought it was a good idea to create an avenue for many other amazing people around Facebook to meet up physically and have fun.
Do you think you’ve been able to reach this goal?
G.O: Based on the testimonies that have followed the first edition, directly and indirectly, I can say we are on a steady track. Of course, there is still room for improvement, but we have done well with the aim and objectives of the hangout.
How did those in your immediate circle take the news that you wanted to organize a meet up for people who connected on the internet?
G.O: My close friends were excited, and they gave me all the necessary support. I had help from people like Ozone, Kehinde, Daniel Sadiq, Omolola and many others. The general attitude from neutrals was however a mix of curiosity and indifference. All of that changed after the first hangout. Many more people believe in the event now, and the enthusiasm is high.
What have you learned from organizing the event so far?
G.O: There has been a lot to learn, and I’m constantly learning at every turn. But so far, one major lesson that has stuck is that there is light at the end of tunnel, not just for those who believe, but those who act upon their belief. It’s not enough to believe, you must have a relentless drive to achieve your goals. I have faced countless challenges organizing the hangout last year and this year, and each time that I should have thrown in the towel, I always reminded myself of the ultimate goal and taken necessary action. And it has paid off for me thus far.
What’s your reaction to the other Facebook hangouts sprouting all over the place? Does this make you feel fulfilled or a little slighted that your idea is being replicated without due recognition?
G.O: I have been happy personally. The whole replication started last year. Abuja and another state from the east did a Facebook hangout almost as elaborate as what we had in Lagos. I was particularly glad that I was able to act upon the idea early and people caught the vision from other places. This year, it has gone broader and I am even happier. I don’t think I am particular about getting credit for being the first to organize a hangout, I just want to see people connect genuinely and create great relationships beyond social media.
What should we expect from the Facebook Hangout this year?
G.O: This year, we are focused on content. Last year, we were just trying our feet, so a lot of things happened without proper planning or clear thought process. But this year, we have created activities within the hangout that will not only entertain guests, but give them positive memories long after the event is over. The activities will also help attendees bond better and raise more positive vibes in the coming year. This year also, we have set up an award ceremony to recognize people who have used Facebook positively in the course of the year. We are awarding categories like Inspirational Act of the Year, New Influencer of the Year, Business Person of the Year among other categories.
What has been the toughest part for you?
G.O: The toughest part of organizing the hangout is in getting financial support to bring many of our ideas into reality and make the event reach the desired heights. We are working hard to solve this part though.
What’s Facebook Hangout 2018 going to be like?
G.O: The long term vision for the Hangout is to become a full blown social media festival where people across all social networks can meet up, interact, have fun, bond and network. We want it to be a Lagos State Endorsed Event, also endorsed by the owners of all the major social networks we use in Nigeria. It will become a platform for influencers to meet with their followers, brands also get to spend physical time with their social media fans and everyone’s happy. The goal is to bring virtuality to reality. So, in the next three years, we hope this can come true. We have started working towards it. That’s why we changed the name from Lagos Facebook Hangout to Lagos Hangout.
The Lagos Hangout 2017 is tagged Live Beyond and holds on the 16th of December 2017 at The Place Lounge, Ikeja GRA.