Published by: Givens Kachero (638161) | Winnie Booker (652857) | Hussein Jiva (628978) | Lewis Ochieng (652838)
Kenya is a hotbed of culture, attractions and innovation – a reputation the nation has earned for its various exploits, achievements and contributions. And among the key sectors that have contributed to the country’s burgeoning success stories is the tourism sector.
The mass media studies emerged in the early middle ages with the church (Mcquail 2008) having various means of reaching the public without exceptions. However, it was in the late sixteenth century when independent media came into place with the birth of newspaper two hundred years after print technology was invented.
The newspaper as medium of mass communications involved production of regular editions did not become an effective tool of the mass medium until the twentieth century according to mcquail, (mass communication theory 2008) when large enterprises took publishing as a business.News paper as a medium of mass media communication was followed by radio broadcasting, film and later televisions broadcasting.
The mass media communications was revolutionised by the advent of satellite communication and the entrance of computer. The entrant of the Internet has also enhanced the accessibility of news to the public especially with online news. Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s, envisaged an environment when the world turned into a global village with the advent of new technologies since technology broke down the geographical barriers. Today, with the development of smartphones and faster transmission of data through Wi-Fi and most recently, LI-FI launched in Dubai, on March 2016, the world indeed is not a ‘global village’ but in ‘our palm’. With a smart phone, and with access to LI-Fi, you can transmit data at a speed of 220 GB per second!SOu
Whereas we have looked at the process through which the mass mediums have been transformed over the century, it is also important to review how the news collection process has also evolved.
Traditionally, the news production is largely encapsulated under journalism and a journalist according to American Press Institute is person who uses particular methods to gather and assess information for publications. The process of news collection and production for print, radio and television are similar. The journalists congregate in the newsroom in the morning and ran through the docket and a reporter is sent to venue where an event is taking place. A print reporter is accompanied by a photographer, a radio reporter is accompanied by a recorder while a television reporter is accompanied, by a camera man.
Once the materials are collected, they are brought back to the newsroom for processing and by the news editors and the sub-editors before the newspaper is published or a radio story or television story is aired. The whole process of the news production was controlled at the newsrooms by the news producers and the news owners. In absence of telephone It would a whole day to produce a story since reporter has to report back to the newsroom to file a story.
The public or the mass audience were deemed to be inactive and relied on the news from the media houses as presented by journalists. It is not surprising then that the early mass media theories were based on the facet. The hypodermic needle theory, cultivation theory, agenda setting theory and framing theories are all based on this assumption.
With the advent of digital media and social media, this news gathering process has been disrupted. The audience are no longer static objects waiting to be bombarded with news from the mass media channels but they are also active players in the news production.
By definition, social media are computer related tools which allow individuals to share, create and exchange information directly without any mediations. As a public relation practitioners, I do not need to send a press release to a newsroom so that the same can be relayed to my target audience. Directly, through the website, Facebook or twitter, this information can be shared directly.
The media houses have woken up to this truth and have embraced new means of news collection.According to a Pew Research in 2014, it was found that 46% of social media users posted their own photos of news events to a social networking site, while 12% had posted videos. This practice played a role in a number of recent breaking news events, including the riots in Ferguson USA in 2015.
To respond to this new development, media house giants like British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)have restructured and adopted a new mode of news collection and dissemination.
When BBC set up a user generated content (UGC)hub in 2005 to monitor social news in the newsroom, they never anticipated the importance of news gathering from this approach and only assigned two journalist to manage the hub.According Trushar Barot, the chief news editor then, after one week of setting up the unit, the July 7th 2005 bombing of London underground train took place. Initial reports indicated that the explosion was caused by a power surge and until, the audiences who witnessed the event started sharing images, on social media, BBC realised that it was not a power surge but a terrorist bomb attack and this changed the whole story.
Bart avers, that from this incidence, they learnt that the audience knew more than BBC, the audience helped the media house tell the story faster and tell the story better. Today, UGC has a permanent presence inside the BBC newsroom and instead of two journalists, they have more that 20 media journalists covering international and domestic stories. and operates for twenty four hours.
CNN in July 2006 launched IREPORT platform to allow citizens or individuals file stories rather than wait for their news report to do the same. This has brought about citizens journalism all facilitated by the emerging digital and social media trends.
In recognition of the importance of the social media in news gathering, several tools have been developed to assist journalists gather news faster.Facebook lists and tweetdeck have been used by journalist to keep them abreast with their specific beats. Storyful, as social newswire has developed tools for monitoring numerous lists on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other networks and use key words to relate to news event.Previously,journalist popularly used newswires such as AFP, Reuters etc to monitor news story.
Malachy Browne, the news editor of Storyful, in an interview told Journalism .co.uk journal that, they have developed social media monitoring tools which also include geolocation of posts and tweets. Storyful, owns a software known as Heat map and can search for news based on the velocity of tweets or posts from different geographical location and this is enable by the fact that most smartphones have GPS features.
The media houses in Kenya have restructured to include digital media platforms and this has seen some redundancy. Both the Standard, People Daily, The star and nation media have dedicated digital media teams have developed their with news applications to have a presence in the social media scene.
Other applications like InformaCam have been developed help journalist verify information scoured from the social networks and make the process of user generated content easier. In conclusion, social media has not only, revolutionised news collections process but also call for need to develop new mass media theories to explain this new phenomenon which undermines the popular media effects theories developed in the 1920s.
Food has been my passion ever since I was a little child, and having to grow up at “Mama Halimas” house at the Kenyan coast, cooking was not an option. By the age of 10 cooking was my destiny. While having many failed experiments with cooking food she would always say “wacha Israf” which simply meant “stop wasting” learn to salvage what you can serve. I have ever since lived with the mantra of appreciating food. So what has changed?
Social media technology has seen a growth in Africa. In Kenya for the past five years there has been a tremendous increase use of new technology in the form of computers and mobile phones. Photos taken during rituals, celebrations, fun and captivating moment even just boring days, people have found a way of escape to the internet to serve their ever-growing need to socialize by uploading images. According to a CNN blog in 2016 Kenya has been listed the third in Africa in terms of internet consumers with 4.5 million users, 12 million in South Africa while 15 million users originating from Nigeria. Keeping in mind that over 80% of the users were using their mobile phones.
In 2013 there was an approximately 1.6 million daily uploads on Flickr alone on average. By 2015 the number increased to 60.7 million photos a month. Uploading photos is the most popular activity on both Facebook and twitter, while Instagram, currently the largest photo sharing media tool that grew by 23% in 2013. With the likes of Hash tags #TBT #ThrowbackThursday was born, a platform where people upload their old photos to pass a fun and exciting message to rest of the world.
The internet technology has created a platform for expressing personal views to the world over. Just as one of the 99 thesis of clue train manifesto where by the internet through the digital platforms has created a means through the global village with its high-speed nature thus “internet is enabling conversation” well explained. According to Instagram 90 new photos are uploaded every minute while in Facebook 60 photos are uploaded daily. The trend seems to be increasing over time. During the recent months Coca-Cola company had started a new trend where their sodas had branded name and had an online campaign challenge to make participants share their meals with coke #ShareaCoke where one will find their desired name tags, win by being awarded free meals and other merchandises. This brought about the increase in uploads of photos that accelerated social conversations.
This new trend of sharing meals has almost become our daily activity. This created the need to visit the newly eatery phenomenons in the country. Cultures of going to Pizza In, Java, KFC and now Subway has seen increasing attendance such that people can be able to share the experiences their friends and family. The terrific Tuesdays and the Pizza Wednesdays where food is sold at buy one get one free has enabled a good number of the people experiencing new foods and later posting them.
Food shows have been increasing in the country from Pika chakula, Royco Fuata Flavor to the AfyaBora show and chungu chetu airing on local television stations have received a welcomed viewing in the local market. Youtube on the other hand has given everyone an opportunity to be a broadcaster. People upload thousand of videos and people from all over the world would subscribe to a particular channel. Restaurants, chefs and homemade artists would upload their videos and sometimes be trending for either good or weird foods even the mediahouses would upload some of the content for bloopers. For example food channel on Youtube, worst cooks in America, Hell’s kitchen, cooks versus cons which not only entertain but also teach the viewers on new terminologies and how they are cooked.
In south Korea, however, a new trend of food appreciation is tested to the limit. The eating of meals online providing an opportunity or someone else in the world to dine with them in real time
In 2000, BBC discovered a big gap in the society thus including a programming content so as to share the rising social problems brought by food. They launched supersize versus super skinny where they were they swap foods for a week and taught to be average portions.
The United Nations is one of the organizations that have used the social media for awareness of the sustainable development goals in order to reduce wastage of food. In their research, the United Nations on the November 2010 declared that more than a third of food is wasted every year a number that has been rapidly increasing and there was a need for the global world to reduce food wastage and reduce poverty rates.
In summary, for I being a food lover am pleased to say that the local foods have indeed changed from simple traditional foods to now more convenient, appealing, high nutrition value and free delivery through the promotions by social media trends and food ambassadors. “You are what you eat” a common statement reminding everyone to eat just right, glad to be part of the online food revolution.
Look, everyone gets that Nairobi is the new frontier of investment.
Businesses are popping up hand over fist at a rate that was simply unfathomable, even as recent as five years ago. Yet, there are many who sit back on the sidelines, deathly afraid of risking it all and getting in the game. Not long ago there have been many voices calling out their dissent, their innate dissatisfaction with all of the young up and comers, the millennial generation, who are trying to take their turn leaping into the newest phase of the digital revolution.
This is the age of the new and Kenya’s own rapidly growing slice of tech through the massive start up space that is invading Nairobi is the way to leap frog into the 21st century. This can spring the country ahead in development to such an extent that it may truly be the way that the country reaches levels of economic development only felt south of the Sahara in start up accelerators in Johannesburg.
Frankly put this situation of intense growth wasn’t around even a decade ago, let alone that prehistoric period known as the 90’s. Any tiny inkling of an idea has the potential to become ubiquitous in Nairobi, something that the general masses simply can’t imagine living without.
How is this possible?
Angel investors are flocking in, a sudden light bulb moment seeming to burst forth from the entire business world. Africa is the new market and tech is how to get there, Kenya has the best IT workforce and most welcoming trends for foreign investment in the entire region. Click goes the light bulb.
Now once marginal tech spaces and accelerators like I-Hub and Nairobi Garage (formerly the accelerator known as 88 MPH) are drawing in not only the best and brightest minds from all spheres of Nairobi but connecting them with the biggest and most influential tech players in the entire world. Even Microsoft used Nairobi Garage as an office for some of their employees for a while.
This is going against the grain and doing so in an active and positive way that is largely bringing in Kenyans in their 20s to make their mark.
Tradition and even some theory points to Kenya and other African states being behind, having to play catch up to world superpowers that are miles ahead in terms of digital impact.
This is for lack of a better word, utterly and entirely false.
The old school hypotheses of the world system theory are shifting and have been for quite a while.
Sure, in a lot of realms Kenya is still considered to be a third world country, one that sits and struggles on the periphery of development while others flourish. Digital advances are the great equalizer. Anyone from any country can create something without relying on anyone else, immediately jumping from periphery to core with a singular clever innovation.
That isn’t to say that there won’t be many people who are going to try to hold back whoever comes up with a spectacular once-in-a-lifetime idea, even if it could have an impact far beyond the reaches of the Silicon Savannah and into a global scope.
“Sit back and wait,” They’ll cry, “I struggled for decades before eventually cracking through that ceiling and making it with my own creative vision.” A bigger misconception has never been uttered from the lips of someone masquerading as wise.
The length of the hustle doesn’t negate how hard things were or how much you pushed for your digital dream to become a reality and this is almost more true in the business world of the 21st century. Opportunities these days are made at the end of a finger, the touch of a button and can end almost as quickly
This ‘earning it’ for Kenyan start ups trying to find their corner in the Silicon Savannah is not only ridiculous, it’s a serious detriment to the young and brilliant who might actually find themselves holding the spark of something incredible in their hands.
Here’s a free hint: everyone else is trying to spark that same fire.
Especially when comparing tech capabilities of Kenya against those of say, the US, the first world companies often have more experience, more funding, more marketing reach and better contacts padding their brand new iPhone’s memory banks.
It’s survive or die time in the digital space and the Silicon Savannah has to keep up with the trend of staying at the crest of the wave. One study indicates that the number of enterprise apps will increase by 100% in many major businesses worldwide. The biggest in business are diving in with both feet into digital and so should Kenya.
Just because Kenya is at the forefront doesn’t mean the nation should sit back on its laurels. One 2014 report indicates from the Communications Authority of Kenya indicates that digital penetration among the population stood at around 52%. Anyone who thinks that figure will reduce in the coming years is dreaming.
One invention could change simply everything for the periphery as far as digital exposure is concerned. Li-Fi internet connection (gaining connection through solar panels and LED lights) could suddenly push billions online. The same is true in Kenya. Those in Turkana, those far from the bright lights of Nairobi’s Silicon Savannah could suddenly become an integral part of the nation’s tech boom.
Check out this explanation on Li-Fi to see some of the future for yourself.
The message to all of you dreamers stuck treading water in this digital explosion rings fairly simple: forget about all the naysayers holding you back, you’re much better off on your own.
All those older detractors, pushing heavily down on the dreams that you yourself are in charge of may have already been through their age of golden opportunity and squandered it to the same fears that they’re now projecting onto your Start Up idea for creating an app that can have your phone make cotton candy (we’re sure that’ll be a thing by the year 2018).
This is the Silicon Savannah, a label that Kenya should not only wear proudly but carry forth as the nation’s business banner with a battle cry into the 21st century.
Everyone has their own reasons for doubts. Can Kenya really make it in the space? Will the important tech players be interested in anything that you have to say? Is there a market for innovations coming out of Kenya? Will tech entrepreneurs lose everything and be forced to retreat to live the rest of their lives life in obscurity?
Everything is a risk in this life, but tech is one area that you don’t have certain ‘necessary’ costs that can weigh down and destroy other businesses. It’s just you and your laptop and a multitude of business opportunities: wherever you can find connection others can connect to you.
Why wait? Ever hear that term the ‘golden-age’ of something? Well, you’re living in one right now, the golden age of digital and the Silicon Savannah could be the Midas touch for Kenya. It’s a time in history that is incredibly exciting or the tech-minded, the gifted, those with a laptop and a dream.
The investors aren’t at the gates; they’re in office spaces down the road in Nairobi. This is the Silicon Savannah, you might as well jump into the deep end of the digital revolution right now and embrace it, if not you could find your world-changing idea with a lot of vultures circling around it. Whether or not to click is up to you.
See for yourself the potential for digital tech in Kenya.
The globe is now a connected marketplace that receives, shares and creates messages fit for a cause and with a particular audience in mind. With the advent of the social media platforms, the role of social media as a communication tool has been enhanced. It is now possible to reach different audience simply by creating conversation within the social media scope without having to go through the traditional media (advertisement). According to the dependency theory by Sandra Ball-Rokeach and Melvin DeFleur (1976), the social media platforms have not necessarily brought about the increase in audience need. Instead, they have presented a variety of avenues to fulfill the audience’s’ needs. The real-time factor has transformed how companies communicate with their audience. Feedback is almost instant, and a company’s rate of response is crucial in retention of clients. The audience wants a quick and timely response to queries posed.
Strangers can quickly become friends due to increase in interaction among different networks. Briefly conversing with a stranger at a party could lead to the formation of a new network when they send you a Facebook request. By accepting the friend request, you will meet new people in the stranger’s Facebook friend list and more strangers. Social networking power is at play. We are connected by a series of friends and their networks. Your friend’s friend could be your friend too, and your friend wouldn’t necessarily need to introduce you. Again, the power of social networks!
The social network theory, formulated by Émile Durkheim and Ferdinand Tönnies, examines how people, groups and organizations interact with others within their network. Social scientists’ interests are in the interactions between each of the members of a network, rather than just the networks of close friends, family or workmates. They seek to establish why and how individuals interact as well as the level of connectedness between group members. The theory further explains how random people are connected. The marvel of social network theory is its ability to examine how social media content goes viral in relatively few steps, meaning a small change in one area can have a huge impact on the overall network. Change travels along the nodes and reaches out to the ties within the network and various connected relationships before being pushed out to other networks. This generates change throughout the entire social network. A network is a set of relationships.
Presently, there are more people than ever before, and they move around more often. This makes it hard to control them, altering the distribution of power. This change is termed as the mobility revolution. As proposed by Naim Moises, the rise in Diasporas has altered business, religion, politics, education and even culture. Migrants bring with them their culture and perceptions, which alter our stands. Some become our spouses, work mates, and friends. International mobility increases interaction among people. This move affects voting patterns, business strategies as well as interaction patterns. The success of long-serving monopoly companies is being threatened by innovative start-ups, the youth are actively pursuing politics while citizen journalism is being led by charismatic citizens. Loosely organized activists are setting the public agenda for interaction with the masses using social media platforms. This all contributes to the decay of the former power held by structures and even police force. In this article, I will be highlighting two social media movers that have shaped online interaction. I intend to link them to the mobility revolution in the digital era.
Brandon Stanton, the bigwig behind this blog, focuses on stories of the human race. The project began in New York, 2010. The photographer desired to single-handedly create a photographic census of New York City. The dream soon grew and with it came a little over 12 million enthusiastic followers. Brandon has transcended New York and now travels to other nations taking photos and accompanying interviews to form stories. The photographer acts as a medium of interaction by posting stories shared by his subjects. Be it a life changing experience or a funny encounter one had, the photographer captures the subject in their most natural environment, along the busy city streets. Brandon has transformed social media interaction by acting as a medium for people to share real-life experiences to drive interaction and create awareness on issues too.
Prisoners have had their cases reopened due to the mass support received from viewers of the blog who transform into activists. The masses are more empowered now than ever before, and so they act as agents of change. By voicing their opinion on a worldwide platform, the public is able to effect change, for example through online campaigns. Also, the mass audience is democratically empowered to voice their opinions without fear of government power. Humans of New York audience have been able to rally behind Brandon on his campaigns that have successfully been executed. The mass support received compels the policy makers to act, where necessary. This surpasses the power that was once concentrated on political leaders and the decision makers.
Muscle power has lost its essence as citizens are empowered more than before and worldwide mobilization has been made easier due to the significant internet users who are connected through networks. When injustice is being practiced, and you need to mobilize the public to enact change, all it takes is knowing the right opinion leaders within the internet sphere to share your story with. Brandon’s unique perspective in his storytelling is as a result of mobility revolution. Having traveled to several countries, the photographer has gained a wider perspective on life, which has contributed to his creative approaches to his work. He does not restrict his work to his native country but travels beyond, all in search of stories to share with the rest of the world. With this movement comes along experiences and improved skills as well.
The Kenyan award winning photojournalist and a social-political activist is not a stranger to many. In fact, he is known to be more vocal on controversial issues than political leaders through his initiative, ‘Kenya Ni Kwetu.‘ His brave actions have hoarded him a significant Kenyan following both on his Facebook and Twitter pages. He is popular for his images during the post-election violence that hit Kenya in 2007–2008 and is also the founder of ‘Picha Mtaani’, a youth-led peace initiative that primarily seeks to create space for young people to reconcile and become agents of reconciliation to their respective communities. Boniface is an embodiment of courage as he is known to be vocal, speaking blatantly on the government’s failures and its leaders. Having been imprisoned severally due to his sharp remarks, Boniface is viewed as fearless both locally and internationally. People considered voiceless or insignificant to the media feed Boniface with news on issues within their communities which he, in turn, shares with his public acting as a medium for disseminating news and advocating for action. His posts are widely shared across the social media platforms channeling awareness across the masses and encouraging a call to action, most times in the form of a peaceful protest or response from the policy makers.
He is well-traveled, and so his perspective on things is seen as revolutionary. Reigning from a country once considered to be rigid in its customs and leadership, Boniface acts as a voice for change encouraging Kenyans to speak out against corruption and other injustices to drive the nation forward. This is attributed to the mobility revolution that has broadened his perspective on life thus allowing him to share his knowledge with the rest of Kenyans. There is a change in the distribution of power as it’s hard for policymakers to bar him from traveling to nations, detailing his experiences and exposing his country’s injustices. Moreover, his projects are all donor-supported by international organizations, which the government has little control over. With substantial funding, this social activist has power in his hands and mass support.