SOCIAL MEDIA USE IN AFRICA:Charting our own way.

There is a lot of information on social media available on the web today.

From what social media can do, to how to reap the most from social media to dozens of new forms of social media joining existing ones.

But all of it is geared towards more developed countries and democracies and not for Africa

In our attempt to keep up with the changing times , are applying a copy and paste method for Africa especially when it comes to social media use.

All conferences and meet ups on recent technological advances are  being held in posh and plush hotels in the capitals of African countries.

Rarely do you see the laptop carrying,Ipad  and latest tech gizmo’s loving  crowd venture outside the urban centres.

Blame it on poverty,what makes commercial or business sense for the sponsors of these events but i think we need a major paradigm shift in the way Africa is going to use social media.

We all remember the Egyptian revolution that was mainly engineered through Facebook.

Closer home we have the Kenyans for Kenya initiative that saw millions raised through a campaign that was done mainly through the social networks of Facebook,Twitter and Kenyan blogs.

For most African countries they are still treading on the waters of democracy and good governance with increasing poverty levels being the straw  breaking the backs of these nations.

Instead of using social media to ape western nations lifestyles,cultures we need to ensure we are using it to open up the democratic space in African countries.

We need to be discussing our problems and solutions that will  spur development and promote democracy and good governance on the continent.

Home grown solutions will always be best , we do not need to wait for expatriates to come up with  blue prints that will get us out of the muck that is poverty.

We already have the solutions if we are willing to talk to each other,share ideas,experiences and knowledge.

Social media is such a wealth of information,opinions and ideas.

These digital platforms have provided barazas(informal forums) where everyone can be heard regardless of social standing or economic status.

Where else do you have a government permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education engaging Kenyans in a discussion on improving the education sector.

Yesterday we had such a discussion on twitter with Mr James Ole Kiyapi.

Many other stake holders and people in government are engaging their audiences and  not only in Kenya, in discussions that can move the continent forward.

 

I hope the momentum is maintained because Africa is where the rest of the world will want to be in 10 years time.

Some corporates are already aware of this and have already set up African offices.

With a youthful population, a highly educated and the huge potential both in terms of intellectual resources as well as natural resources,we need to prepare for the change that is coming and fast.

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