My sister sent me a link to this article announcing a new social network “à la Facebook” for Africans. I must say I was a bit excited and intrigued at first which quickly turned into disappointment when I realized how exclusive this group really is. Bandeka (created by two Harvard Business School alumni, one Nigerian and the other Ghanaian), describes itself as being “an invite-only community where well-educated Africans around the world can meet, connect and develop lasting relationships every day”. I rolled my eyes [twice!]. New members are only accepted if they are referred by a current member of the Bandeka society…ummm…First off, how do we know who is in the network if this information is not divulged and secondly do we want something THAT exclusive? Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of connecting with new people?
As I asked myself these questions, the flashbacks of the numerous friend requests and messages from creepy people I had never heard of popped in my head and I shuddered (alright, I am exaggerating on the reaction but you get the picture 😉 ). I guess what I mean is, sure they want to weed out the crazy, unsuccessful, stalkers but what about the folks they are missing in the process? I know a dozen smart, successful friends who could be part of this network! Then I noticed the “join Bandeka” tab which allows you to submit your request for an invitation. Ooofff…sigh of relief!? At least this means there is some consideration for people who don’t have connections within the network.
One of the founders states that: “It is quite difficult for well-educated Africans to connect…Balancing our busy schedules with our desire to meet and date Africans we like usually means using traditional social platforms, offline social venues and pure chance. These limit our options to meet new amazing Africans outside our immediate circles.”
I do believe that this is a great initiative as it can prove difficult to find like-minded friends or a potential mate on your own. So for those of you who’d like to give it a shot, check out the website and see where it takes you!
Who knows, this is exactly the way Facebook started so maybe further down the line this portal will open up to more people without having to go through the whole screening process…but then again, doing away with that step is not always a good thing, am I right? 🙂