What’s the Buzz on Whive.com?
Whive.com (the Bee Network it calls itself) could be described by an outsider like me as the “Facebook of Kenya”. Actually, I think their goal is to become the “Facebook of Africa” since on the homepage of the site it has a title heading that states “Whive.com: Connecting Africa” and it features a picture of the African continent filled in with a black face—this speaks loudly of their goal to become the “face” of African social media. John Karanja, founder of Whive.com, says of the site:
Whive.com targets Africans and people interested in Africa. i.e. it is not exclusive to African but people who are interested in Africa and ensuring it meets its development goals.Whive.com has started in Kenya and we aim to spread into East Africa as well as other African countries as part of our growth strategy.
Anyway, Whive.com has been on a roll since launching in 2008. Here’s a snapshot of what they’ve been up to:
- In April 2010, Whive.com went mobile with the creation of a free SMS, whive.mobi. This is a smart move especially since internet usage via mobile phones in Africa has outpaced that of fixed broadband usage. Kenya is one of the countries that are leading the growth for the continent. Whive.mobi allows users to send text messages to other phones and Whive memberss.
- Whive also launched Whiver.com which is a mini version of Whive.com that features status updates and short communication services.
• Browse Upcoming Events
• Browse our Members Photos
• Browse African Music Collection
• Browse our Blogs
• Browse our Games Collection
• Browse Members Classifieds
• Browse our Groups
• Multimedia Page & Live Radio
Now, if you look at Facebook’s homepage, like Whive.com, it has a message of connecting but it only features a box for you to sign-up for an account—no up-front access to upcoming events, photo browsing, blog browsing as Whive offers—nope, just sign-up. Personally, I found Whive.com to have an openness that Facebook did not and the site felt warmer and easier to use.
But, as it stands now, Facebook is dominating in Kenya, boasting more than 2 million users. However, I do believe Whive.com and sites like it can make headway against huge international sites like Facebook and others by highlighting their own local uniqueness and really selling that to their users as an asset.
And, it appears that Whive’s founder, Karanja, understands this as evidenced by his statement in a recent interview:
The future lies in successfully meeting the needs of our clients who are the African people. This means providing a set of tools that allows them to interact with the environment while allowing them to achieve development in every aspect. In technical terms we believe the future lies in the use of social networking tools as well as augmented reality to achieve the above goals.