30th of June, a day which has been marked to acknowledge and celebrate the turning point of media to what is now popularly known as social media. Like it or not, it would be injustice not to give thumb up to what social media has become. The traditional barriers between ethnic groups, social classes, have been shattered by level of interactions, connection and engagement brought about the social media
In Kenya the celebration was marked at @iHub Nairobi and judging from the discussions and presentation made, it is not hard to conclude that social media is now a force to reckon with. The media houses which at first were reluctant to recognize social media have now accepted the reality and taken social media at heart. To demonstrate that Citizen Tv and KTN were at hand to cover the event. Nice to see that.
For Kenya the journey has been long, winding and sometime unpleasant. Kenya saw the worst of social media in the run up to 2007 December general elections when it was used to spread hate messages, abuse and divide different ethnic communities. It is a pity and somehow embarrassing to even think about it considering the fact that the number of people with real access to internet by then were the elite of Kenyan society in terms of education and even means.
People learn from mistakes and it is my hope that nothing like that will ever be repeated in the modern history of our beautiful country. That a side these how it went down @iHub:
Demystify Social Media. What Is It? by Joe Otin (@joeotin
Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Sometime it is hard to talk or define democracy in Africa but the effect of social media in democratization of knowledge and information is becoming legendary. The merging point is that people are constantly turning from content consumers to content producers.
Joe Otin made fun of some of the pointless bubbles we see on twitter in the name of tweets
@xyz: i have woken up
@xxxr: am eating cheese burger
But at the end that is part of democracy, people are allowed to say what they want to say at their own time and convenient, right? The choices are there for each individual to follow whoever she/he think worth following.
Gadgets and Applications – Real Solutions For Our Community. A presentation by Kachwanya (@kachwanya) Yeah yours truly
It is hard to talk a bout web access in Kenya or Africa without the thought of mobile phones. Cell phone use has become commonplace in many African countries, even in many isolated areas that lack adequate drinking water or landlines. When i first entered computer class in my college years, the lecturer then commented that if he could only get a powerful machine, he would conquer the world. Somehow Africans are increasingly showing the signs that now they are ready to conquer the world through the use of mobile phones. You can get variety of the gadgets including iphones at Maduqa
Gadgets are great but what is done with them is what matters, and that is where applications come in. In terms of social media we are looking at blogs, social networks, sms applications, chat and furum platforms.
Local social networks like Iborian.com, sembuse.com, whive.com are finding their footing a bit slowly when compared to the popular ones like Facebook but the most encouraging facts is there are loyal users. With more efforts and different strategies, i believe the local networks will find their space to thrive.
Social Media For Development A presentation by Marten Schoonman (@mato74)
Marten Schoonman from Media Fucus for Africa talked passionately about the the efforts they are making to spread peace through social media in Kenya. They have a program currently running on Citizen Tv and many other stations called Team. From the out look Team is a football team but the reality is, there are challenges facing the characters involved, like language barriers, the issue of ethnicity, how to live together with total strangers. Great storyline which mirror the daily happenings in Kenya. At the end social media is proving to be the real solutions.
Localization of social Apps is a niche not yet covered but developers in Kenya should think about it seriously. Marten illustrated how the use of sheng in social media is turning out to be effective, a fact validated by John Karanja who is currently involved in such effort ikatiba.com.
The impact of Facebook in the slum areas or informal settlements in Nairobi is significant. It is a clear indication that social media can really change people’s lives. True to the point, it is good that Government and many stake holders in Kenya have realized that.
Business And Social Media – Should My Business Care? A presentation by Odyssee Ndayisaba (@iodyssee)
There is a bit of lag when come to use of social media by Businesses in Kenya. Facebook is banned in many work places, employees are not allowed to check emails during working hours. Most those companies or businesses are run by the old heads.They don’t understand that the social media has new tools and technologies which represent opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing and engagement that just cannot be ignored.
Effective use of social media would require the managers to Define a clear strategy for company. What are the boundaries? What exactly should be communicated to the public? At the end companies have to be mindful of the issues touching their Consumers /clients and the perceptions created
Privacy – Should We Be Concerned? A presentation by Tyrus kamau (@tyrus_
Privacy is a major concern in the West but not many in Kenya cares about it. Asked any twitter user , Facebook or iborian users if they have ever read in full the terms and conditions of use of these social networks and i can bet on the answer to be no. That should be worrying, and indeed scary.
Tirus compared social media to Hotel California , once u check in there is no checking out. So if you can’t check out, the next thing would be to get a better way to protect yourself. Today’s attitude is to share all to the whole world. There instances where people share to the last details of their movement and what they are doing. It is cool but unfortunately the world is dotted with evil people. So before you click on accept Friendship on Facebook, think twice. Before you follow someone on twitter try to understand the person.
Finally Jessica of @iHub wrapped up the function by a bit of explanation of what iHub is all about..tech centre
Interesting tweets during the function
See all the pics on Maduqa Facebook fan page here
Finally, i had to make an appearance to @wamathai function celebrating his blog turning one year old. What i fitting day for a blog to be born..Happy birthday Wamathai.com. From what i heard and confirmed by @jamesmurua here, the event was full house.