Facebook had been synonymous with Social Media not only in Kenya but also all over the world. But when Twitter arrived, everything changed. Twitter has remained for a niche market of those who understands quality engagement. Facebook is still there for every Wanjiku, Makau and Halima. Twitter growth has been painfully slow with even people doubting if at all the total population of Kenyan tweeps has touched the 50,000 mark.
There are those who have influenced a great number of Kenyans into joining Twitter. Some are kawa people, some just corporates while others are just doing their job. But who are they?
Martha Karua – Politician
She joined Twitter on 23rd April 2010 and has influenced a great number of her supporters to join her on Twitter. Martha Karua has tweeted from parliament, state functions to right from her bedroom or living room and such tweets have drawn the curious ones to get to seem the sides of Martha they have never known. I sincerely will never even give her trust because of what she said while I was standing right behind her at KICC. But on Twitter, she helped bring the crowd.
Larry Madowo – TV Presenter
Larry joined Twitter on May 8th 2009. He first sought the attention doing the normal ass kissery of the people he thought might matter to him. He first had to fight the likes of Robert Alai to be relevant. He did fight and as he matured and even knew where to buy suits, he got to realise that some of us are here for the long run. What we must give to Larry is that he brought most of the media personalities who thought that social media was going to replace them online. First he brought almost the whole of the KTN team onto twitter but the problem is that he did not teach them on how to engage.
Then when he moved to NTV, he also brought the NTV crew online and they are now seriously engaging blogger and not being so scared of bloggers and ignorantly commenting on issues they completely don’t understand. The problem is that every media house he joins, true journalism disappears and kulambana….. replaces it. Ask me how….
Bob Collymore / Safaricom LTD – Kenya’s Most Profitable Company
Bob Collymore is the CEO of Safaricom LTD and also a pilot thought I don’t know at what level. I have seen him on TV features like this flying something which will one day be a full chopper. LOL……. But Bob is also funny when you follow his engagement with the Chocolate Party attendees, Aly Khan and Gina who is in charge of Safaricom’s PR. The fact that Bob has continued to engage with ordinary Kenyans on Twitter is such a place for the social media site. He even intervened on matters which if you could have brought to the attention of Michael Joseph then what you could have got is some arrogant “you can move to other networks” reply. While SafaricomLTD joined Twitter on 26th February 2010, Bob Collymore joined the micro-blogging site on 12th Dec 2009 but he became only famous after being announced as the successor to Michael Joseph.
Now you will find a good number of Safaricom’s top management and even junior employees positively engaging with you online unlike Orange Kenya who will sometime just launch a propaganda campaign on anyone whom they think might be criticising the company abit too much.
Jeff Koinange – TV Talk Show Host
Jeff hosts Capital Talk show which airs on Mediamax owned K24. He has a signature line which resonates well with his fans. What he hates is criticism and he would sometime shout at you in meetings that you hate him when he feels you criticise him alot. He has brought many Kenyans with him and the fact that on the show he advertises his Twitter page, it has been a major plus thee social media site. Jeff worked with CNN before coming back to K24 though he also worked in Kenya as a journalist before joining CNN. Jeff joined Twitter on January 12th 2011.
Makmende – Phenomenon
The Makemende phenomenon was great while it lasted. It was like a whole generation being presented with an opportunity to be taken back into history. They relived it for almost a whole month and the resuscitators of the dying Makmende phenomenon did not even know what to do with Kenyans first viral web sensation. Makmende was great while it lasted and now, nobody takes notice of it.
Katiba Sasa – Political Campaign
Kenyans were yearning for a new constitution and when the got the chance to campaign for it, Twitter became such an important tool. Many of the civic society bodies who have always shied away from the online media joined it. Civic Society have not liked the social media in Kenya because it kind of deny them many of the allowances they would otherwise have earned had they used a primitive technologies.
Muliro Gardens – Ha ha ha …. Not Saying a thing
It just happened. I was in Kakamega to visit my cousin and I got wind of the happenings. Called a friend who works with a bank whose doors faces the garden and we agreed to install a Camera which was being operated remotely. In 3 days, what we discovered were breathtaking. Some like NTV (any news which was a scoop to others will never be true to them) and Western province leaders called us liars but our witnesses are the ordinary residents of Kakamega. They know the truth. My website almost crushed with the Muliro Gardens story drawing in 1.8 Million hits in just 3 days.
Ory Okolloh – Google Police Manager for Africa
I am not sure if I should include Ory Okolloh here for various reasons. I know what Ory has done for the Kenyan young techies and also inspire the young blood but I am not sure if she brought them online because Ory’s story has not been sufficiently told by the Kenyan mainstream media. Ory came into the international limelight through Ushahidi and in a small way through the Mzalendo blog. Not that it was a unique story but because she was a Kenyan Harvard graduate and also she knew which media to send her story links. I am being honest. This post was about those who brought Kenyans onto Twitter. Ory joined Twitter on 31st December 2007.
Gina Din Kariuki – PR Practitioner
Gina is the mother of PR in Kenya. She has done alot to change the PR game in Kenya and also inspire many young men and women. From the late 90s when I was in high school to now, you cant talk of PR in Kenya without mentioning Gina. When she joined Twitter, she brought other young practitioners who looked at her for inspiration. Now you will not only find the whole Gina Din PR team on Twitter but you will also find many of the local agencies and their staff on Twitter. Gina joined Twitter on 10th April 2009.
Aly Khan Satchu – Financial Analyst
Aly Khan is the CEO of RICH which is a company whose underlying belief is that everyone can be rich. Aly is the main face of Kenyans on Twitter. He has the largest number of followers and has a big influence among the Kenyans on social media. He also knows how to handle the account and even put it onto auto pilot. Aly joined twitter on 19th February 2009.
Do you have anybody who helped bring guys to Twitter and we couldn’t just remember him/her or it?