`Day 2: The Right to Write, The Right to Be in the Age of social media’ (Panel discussion)

Gawaya Tegulle (far left),moderator of the panel comprising of Lulu Jemimah (left), Harriet Anena (centre) and Bernard Ewalu Olupot aka Beewol

Harriet Anena, Lulu Jemimah and Bernard Ewalu Olupot are the three panelists representing the new age writers who interact with the digital world more regularly than their predecessors.

Harriet  Anena is an award winning poet; Lulu Jemimah is a journalist who hit internet fame when she married herself; and Bernard, also known as the Talkative Rocker, is a digital marketer. Moderated by Gawaya Tegulle, the three of them delved into the importance of maintaining a healthy balance in their interaction with social media.

Bernard Ewalu Olupot answering a question posed by the moderator Gawaya Tegulle

Although it has its benefits, the self-imposed need to seek quick and easy validation from the digital world can easily draw a writer away from their focus, distorting his or her true identity as a writer first. All three admit to taking necessary health breaks, sometimes for months, away from the digital engagement.

Delegates during the panel discussion


Giving credit where it is due, however, the financial potential of the medium is recognized. Lulu managed to raise tuition for her Masters in Creative writing course  at Oxford University  because her story went viral; Harriet, a self-published poet uses the internet to sell her poetry collection-‘A Nation in Labour’ published in 2015 and advertise her events; and Bernard earns all his keep advertising products and services for clients.

A delegate expressing his views

They cautioned fellow millennials to practice restraint in their use of social media and also to take their time to develop their craft before they can expect to become overnight successes. Patience and hard work are still requisite to succeed as a writer despite having all the tools of the new millennium at one’s finger tips.

Bernard Ewalu Olupot (left) and the moderator Gawaya Tegulle (right)
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