Social Media: Kenya’s double edged sword.
Internet penetration in Kenya has rapidly grown over the years with a recent tremendous growth of Social media that has been branded ‘Silicon Savanna’. The interactive platform has seen both positive and negative vibes circulate through personal devices across the country.
Suddenly, everyone has become opinionated and they want to be heard through the channels which have seen conflicts arise, communities divide and our own country Kenya divide. Maybe we should have institutions teach on social media use to say the least. Having recently celebrated the 5th worldwide Social Media Day, Ethnic bitterness and divisive political statements continue to be the darkest side of Kenyan social media.
Kenya’s fastest reporting platform is now social media where we all run to get the latest event/trend (at least for me) with the country ranked second in Africa after South Africa for the quantity of tweets put out, social media is definitely the “voice of Kenya”.
Away from all the negativity the platforms have come with, social media is also the best thing this country ever experienced contradicting right? A coin has two sides too. Businesses, individuals, institutions and other establishments can thank the platforms for their prosperity. Cooperate branding is now done better through Facebook and Twitter for easy communication and a break on complexity.
Social Media Awards (SOMA) has placed an opportunity for Kenyans with influence in the digital space to be recognized for using social media positively to impact lives following the launch of call for Nominations for the 2nd Annual OLX Kenya Social Media Awards 2014.
The theme for this year’s Awards is “Making Social Media Work For You” and includes new categories for the National and County Governments, Learning Institutions, and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs).
The 2nd Annual Awards ceremony to be held on October 2nd, 2014, after conclusion of nominations and voting will also see individuals and organizations feted for their role in contributing to the growth of social media. The inaugural Awards were held last year.
Other categories for nominations are Social Network Personality of the Year, Large Corporation Category, SMEs Category, the National and County governments, Traditional Media, Best use of Social Media and the Best of the Best. More details on the categories and nominations criteria can be obtained from the Awards website: www.soma.or.ke.
The awards are designed to create a platform to celebrate the contribution of social media to the social, economic and political spheres of lives. The consolidation and new additions in categories will serve to grow the Social Media Awards in stature and popularity over the coming years.
The recognition of influencers in the local social media realm speaks to the growth of internet usage especially though mobile platforms which have experienced exponential growth.
According to industry reports, internet subscribers in Kenya have grown by 13 percent in the second quarter of the 2013/2014 financial year to stand at 13.1 million subscribers. This is up from 11.9 million recorded in the previous quarter with mobile subscriptions as the largest contributor of internet data subscriptions.
The Director of Digital Media in the Presidential Strategic Communications Unit, Mr. Dennis Itumbi, who was the chief guest at the event, said the Government will set up a digital advisory council to streamline use of social media by public institutions.
Mr. Itumbi regretted that lack of a body to oversee the development and implementation of social media strategy had made it impossible for public institutions to reap full benefits of the digital communications.
OLX Kenya the title sponsors of the event represented by the CEO Mr. peter Ndiangu’I who said the growth of e-commerce helped in attainment of career objectives and enhancement of citizens’ participation in governance.
He, however, warned against abuse social media channels, saying; “If abused, social media can disintegrate the social fabric by creating disharmony and hatred among various communities.”
OLX is a success story that has experienced social media pros in its market industry that has positively impacted the economy. Being its second year of sponsorship, the company looks forward to a better event this year.
Individuals can now nominate persons of choice through OLX SOMA Awards 2014.