Kenya’s “Social Media King”
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.
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:
- Afrigator: a South African aggregator of African blogs and news
- Zoopy: a YouTube/Flickr like service also out of South Africa
- 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.