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Kenya’s “Social Media King”

by on July 24, 2010

Crowned Kenya’s “Social Media King,” Chris Kirubi is founder of the Capital FM website, specializing in social media and local news around Africa and specifically, Kenya.  Kirubi’s website has been hailed “the most authoritative” sites in Kenya in news reporting.  Kirubi also blogs about current political and leadership issues affecting Kenya.  Within the social media realm of Facebook, Kirubi boasts 4,997 friends, just shy of the coveted 5,000 mark.  In addition to Kirubi’s page, there’s also another group coined “Chris Karubi” with an additional 2,228 friends.

Within the Capital Digital Media site, users can navigate their way from local news, to business news, jobs, sports, lifestyle and music download, a site heavily trafficked by the youth in Kenya.

Kirubi’s social media presence, while well-known throughout Kenya, is not as celebrated as one would think.  In fact, social media in Kenya is not an embraced concept.  Website Socialight Media Kenya classifies the idea of social media in Kenya is that of “a bandwagon effect,” rather than a sound business strategy.  Big Business so far has shunned social media, regarding it rather as a “waste of time” and full of liability and control issues.

African citizens, however, feel differently.  30% of Africans have a mobile phone and 2M Africans classify themselves as “mobile Internet users.”  What’s more, 57% of Kenya’s online population uses the Internet to access reliable knowledge and information.  Clearly, the audience in Kenya is ready, willing and able to jump into the world of social media, and with Africa claiming over 280M mobile users, it makes Africa the fastest growing mobile market in the world.

Contrary to what business dictates, Africa has experienced vast social media success, including:

  1. Afrigator:  a South African aggregator of African blogs and news
  2. Zoopy:  a YouTube/Flickr like service also out of South Africa
  3. Ushahidi:  an SMS crisis reporting and mapping engine from Kenya

Although these three exciting applications are the most well-known home grown social media projects from Africans, there are an increasing number of social media websites coming from the continent, with Kenyans taking a more active approach toward mobile and social media.  Given Ushahidi’s success, it’s exciting to anticipate the growth in Kenya and Africa overall, and to watch the steps they take over the next few years to establish themselves as a mobile and digital heavyweight.

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From → Kenya

One Comment
  1. Your post got a little too ambitious this week as you moved from a well known personality and how he is using social media to build his individual brands, to discussing how companies are not quite embracing digital technology as part of their marketing, to sharing a few examples of home-grown social media sites from across Africa. As a result, I wasn’t quite sure of the bottom line point you wanted to make in this post. Was it that Chris Kirubi, the “social media king” represents an emergence of a certain type of hyper-connected individual Kenyan who will be a great target for marketers? Or did you want for the reader to focus more on how “home grown social media projects” like Ushahidi or Afrigator will propel more Kenyans and Africa s towards social media tools? You had some good information in this post, but needed a stronger connection to make clear the ultimate point that you wanted to leave your readers with. (4)

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