Tag Archives: facebook

The Link Between #BabaWhileYouWereAway and #SabaSabaDay

CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 -Raila Amolo...
CAPE TOWN/SOUTH AFRICA, 10JUN2009 -Raila Amolo Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya, Kenya Business Alliance Against Chronic Hunger – World Economic Forum on Africa 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa, June 10, 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not everything you see on the internet is real.

If you have read Enders Game (The movie does not have this bit), Two children, a brother and sister,Peter and Valentine,living in one house, shaped global ideologies on politics and policy, by writing blogs with pseudonyms, often writing against each other on opposing ideologies apparently from different corners on the continent as Locke and Desmosthenes.

You might be aware of the unveiling of supposedly catfish accounts on Twitter. If you do not know what I am talking about, a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Twitter, Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue or push deceptive online causes.

Now read this blog on Exposed Parodies. In a nutshell, a number of prominent “twitter bigwigs” run multiple parody accounts to support their causes and to bait people.

The trap of following and conversing with parody accounts is easily to fall for. They are already being followed by thousands of other people, so this somehow implies they are an authority on whatever subject they speak about. You find them driving social conversations and ideologies, all by someone who doesn’t exist. A good number of Twitter accounts are not real, nor the thought leaders and ideologists speaking behind them are not real. There are teams of people tweeting and directing ideologies this way and that.

Obviously,there is a danger here,that of Social Control Through Social Media and it binds two elements:

1. Kenyan Hyperactivity on Twitter

2.Social control for mass causes or ideologies

The Feb 28th movement was a test run of social control in Kenya through social media. It occurred two years back,on Feb 28th 2012, where, all people on twitter were supposed to come out at 1.00 pm wherever they were, and sing the national anthem. I experienced it from an office in upper hill, on the 7th floor, and I could hear people in other offices and in the streets singing the Kenya National Anthem. This was indeed proof that social media can be a tool to rally and control mass action.

Kenyans have grown online since then. Over the years as well, Kenyans have been prolific on Twitter, pushing a number of global Twitter trends, just by the sheer volume of tweets, not by the numbers of people on Twitter. Kenyans have attacked South Africans, Nigerians and fought and won Twitter wars. Seemingly, Kenya is the most switched on nation on Twitter in Africa.

Today, whatever trends on Twitter is sure to be on the evening news. On the most part though, Kenyan Twitter trendsetters are for entertainment value; media personalities and representatives of branding and ad companies. Which means their endorsements are rarely for causes and mostly for parties and products. There is the growing thought leader on policy,politics and business, these however are tied down by family and corporate image and branding to risk their neck for a Kenya that is seemingly not worth fighting for. Even the firebrand and hitherto vocal @BonifaceMwangi Quit Activism.

Come #babawhileyouwereaway, a Twitter trend on a politician making his return back home after a three month visit in the USA. After he came back, he calls for national dialogue by the 7/7/2014. The historic Saba Saba day, a day of note in Kenya’s history in terms of policy changing political rallies.

This is my prediction. Whatever exists of CORDs social media team will try to create a trend on or around the SabaSaba day in line with all the complaints on #BabaWhileWereAway, an attempt to veer the mind of the middle class into action.

Sadly, and fortunately for Kenya, the Kenyan on Twitter still utilizes the tool as a means of entertainment. Social media tools, in the form that politician are attempting to use them, to drive ideals and ideas,  are the preserve of the educated and urbane.Most of the action on Twitter remains online. The Kenyan middle class tweets and shouts silently  from the comfort of his suburban home. On the most part, it is a means of news, misinformation,gossip,trending wordplay and jokes.

It will take about 5 more years, whence smartphones will be ubiquitous and pervasive, for the average Kenyan to be rallied by calls to action on a mobile phone trend.



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Playing at Work : Gamification of the Enterprise

I was watching Sir Ken Robinson, who’s ideas on new directions for 21st century education have redirected policy on what it means to educate.

In a recent RSA talk, Ken revisits the ideas he gave at the RSA event two years ago, “Changing Education Paradigms” as below.

In the revisited talk he reiterates and adds onto the concepts he initially talked about, but which I will not go into: the talk is an hour long and then some, and is not the point of this post.

In the first five minutes of the talk he stated something that sparked a mindflame.

In a nutshell, he says the school system was a product of the industrial age, where running processes by the mill was the norm, and the mode of education was so, as its design was based on prevailing concepts of management of large numbers of people in an industry.

He said, no 21st century corporation in its right mind, would run its business like a school; where workers get in early, do one task, a bell rings, they move to  another room and move to something else, another bell rings and they all leave for break, a bell rings and they rush back to different task. Latecomers are punished.

I listened to this and thought, wait a minute.

Whilst some present day corporations may have implemented 21st century models for productivity, the majority still remain in the industrial age!

A lot of organisations have their staff clock in, work at one task for a specified time, a bell rings and you move to another task, another bell is rung and you move out for a break, if you stay to long, HR punishes you!

Appraisals, career and personal development, trust, esteem,are designed straight from the industrial age,. Thinking,creativity and judgement calls are not stimulated or encouraged.

The few, the brave, are well documented.

These are organisations that have gone all the way with providing creative spaces and freedoms for maximum productivity. Google for example, has been well documented as spearheading these environments.

Check out the following list:

1. The meals and snacks are all free. The cafeterias feature gourmet chefs that create healthy and delicious meals everyday.

2. There is a barbershop available in the office.

3. Google offers a 2k employee referral program.

4. New parents can reimburse up to $500 in takeout food.

5. Rest and recreation can be done in the office. There is a billiard table, rock climbing wall, swimming pool, beach volleyball area, video games, Foosball, table tennis equipment and roller hockey facilities.

6. Employees are allowed to bring their pets to the office.

7. Washers and dryers are available in the office. Even the detergents are for free. For those who need dry cleaning, that service is also available within the premises.

8. Decompression capsules are available for employees who want to relieve their stress. These capsules have been designed so that it would be impermeable to light and sound.

9. Employees can make use of motorized scooters to move from one part of Google’s sprawling area to another.

10. Shuttles are available to help transport employees to and from the office. These shuttles offer free Wi-Fi services.

11. You can have your car’s oil changed regularly for free in the office.

12. Car wash is also available for all car owners.

13. A modern, well equipped and state-of-the-art gym is available for free.

14. Employees can enroll in exercise classes for free.

15. Google’s mobile library offers the latest collection in books, magazines and other publications for free to its employees.

16. Employees wanting to learn a new language may enroll for fee in classes in Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish and French.

17. Private cabin areas are available in each and every floor for employees to be able to attend to their own private affairs.

18. For further relaxation, there are self-controlled massage chairs available. Aquariums are positioned strategically in front of these massage chairs to help the user achieve a tranquil state.

19. A professional masseuse is available within the premises that employees can visit anytime.

20. Saunas are available within the office.

– See more at: http://globolstaff.com/the-perks-of-working-at-google.html#sthash.NSHhVX9q.dpuf

If you are a startup, or a small-midsize organisation, and the expected results make sense to you, you may be willing to surgically integrate modern work systems,software and policies that allow creativity,productivity and high esteem, end to end.

However, the constraints of the nature of your industry may limit you; the hundred years of guilded history and guidelines around Law,Masonry, Insurance, Engineering, Medicine and similar “old” industries with looooooooooooooong legacies tend to be averse to novel ideas.

Also, not everyone is Google.

How then, do we find a middle ground?

Through technology and the tools we use.

Organisations today are almost entirely dependent on the processing of information on technology tools. Billions spend many, many hours each day staring into computer skills on emails, ERPs, CRMs ad nauseum.

If you are considering ways of integrating new-age industrial design without extensive surgery, consider gamification of your corporate processes.

Bunchball are one such company that provide solutions that enable gamification of the workplace, whatever your process.

Gamification software is transforming the way businesses engage with customers and motivate employees. By applying the same principles that inspire people to play games – achievements, status, and rewards – to websites and other online experiences, businesses can dramatically increase the size of their audiences, boost customer engagement, drive deeper employee engagement, and increase revenues.

Game mechanics can help organisations:

Here is a video of how Bunchball have implemented gamification for Salesforce.

This is, by the way, not a sponsored post. I wish it were 🙂 ( HELLLOOOO BUNCHBALL)

Here is another video that highlights the workings of gamification.

The Facebook Strategy

Diary of a Crisis Mapper

Two years ago I was working in Egypt for a local organization. In the three months I spent there I worked with 4 bloggers which I will not mention here.

One of the most interesting thing that they thought me was something that they called the Facebook Battle. At first I thought they were talking about one of those super annoying games that you play on Facebook, the ones that all your friends feel the need to invite you to, and that normally end up in my spam email, with a back flag close to the name of the bored friend that sent it to me.

I discover soon that they were not referring to a game, even if the activity was quite fun anyway!.

 The story of the Facebook Battles starts on 1st July, 2010, when the Egyptian Ministry of Interior (MOI) established a special department to monitor Facebook…

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The last few months have been extremely busy for folks in IT in Kenya.

This particular week was no different.

With a small but growing ICT sector, the Afritech summit being scheduled at exactly the same time as Africa 2.0, a top tier who’s who forum on Africa in the digital age held in Mombasa( Presidents and Prime Ministers were in attendance), and on the other side of the scale, Pivot25,a mobile Apps and Developer conference supported by InfoDev, where young entrepreneurs with exciting mobile applications pitched their concepts at the I-Hub,and where the winners had thousand dollar prizes and a trip to Silicon Valley no less, no doubt CopperBridge Media faced a challenge in attracting a capacity crowd.

Perhaps they should have named it Afritech 64.

In the light of these events, the depth in discussions that the conference aimed to generate did not fully materialise.

The Afritech Summit on digital and internet marketing, organized by CopperBridge Media, was improperly scheduled from the 15th to 17th of June 2011.

Dikembe Mutombo was to come show us how to tweet, but I guess he missed his flight.

However, they managed to table some of the most proficient and brand agnostic panellists in any forum I have attended thus far.

They collectively provided information on their areas of specialisation showing factual statistics, methodology, opportunities and shared information freely and held no reins on answers to questions asked.

In a nut shell, they brought out the following:

  1. When you think Africa, think Mobile, but think USSD or SMS for maximum reach or penetration.
  2. Content is King. We have tons of undigitised content and have the chance to get there first. (Note to self: Kenya Government Open Data Portal.)
  3. Facebook and Facebook pages and groups, through mobile, may have greater reach than websites.
  4. Infrastructure will be optimised in the next 20 years and so the web still has a place on the long term.

In a bid to attract the public, they chopped off the price tag on the erstwhile expensive seats- they were now free. Adverts on @CapitalFMKE and radio and TV interviews with Ayo Johnson, part of the Afritech Team, sought to draw in the crowds. They made sure to mention that lunch was for free to make sure you came.


Day one kicked off a bit late.

Norman Mudibo Norman Mudibo, he that you used to see on TV as a presenter, did an excellent job as an MC.

Ayo Johnson Ayo Johnson,founder of Viewpoint Africa,bearing the responsibility of opening the conference, presented his point of view on the aims of the forum and what it set to achieve.

dana todd 

Dana Todd (@danatodd) a dapper purple haired SEO expert and co-founder of SEMPO started off the conference with a Global View on the State of Search Marketing. She outlined how nearly 40% of online marketing spend goes to some kind of search marketing activity.

At this point it felt like a first date, she asked a few questions to try and determine the complexity of the crowd so as to shelf deeper details for one on ones or break out sessions. Little did she know that Kenyans had the ingrained training (another of our peculiar habits!) since primary school (as if their armpits stank) never to raise their hands whether they knew or did not know something.

I think she decided that she was addressing a colloquia of arrogant experts, and spoke with the full force of her knowledge. She spoke of the F zone in search, the F being that top left area people focus on in a page, and gave stats on response times and how long someone is willing to wait for a page to give feedback, and for a keypad to respond to being pressed.

Check out SEMPO content in greater detail

And check out her SEO slides here. http://www.slideshare.net/danatodd

It hurts the brain to think what SEO engineers go through trying to get into the mind of the public.

ann kennedy

Thereafter, Anne Kennedy,International Strategist, Beyond Ink USA, an organisation with expertise in web and search and localization came on board for a discussion session on the basis of understanding and embracing the best social media practices for your firm.

She was aided by Fady Ramzy, (Not to be mistaken for @Ramzzy_) Country Manager of Interact Egypt.

Personally, the afternoon session was when my day fully lit up, as it was most pertinent to my interests.

Christopher Harmon

Christopher Harmon, (@cjharmon) founder and Principal,The BATstudio spoke on leveraging social media for enterprise level SEO.

In particular, he spoke about  SaaS and the cloud, and the business operation models each favoured.

He gave intricate details on one of his clients ,Marketo, as against Salesforce, SuccessFactors, Omniture, Constant Contact,Netsuite and Taleo ( SuccessFactors, Omniture, Netsuite and taleo are his clients)automation and automated sales mechanisms and how organisations should focus their attention on the 20% that brings in the bread, whilst farming the 80%.

Check out his slides here http://www.slideshare.net/chrisharmon/afritech-2011-digital-strategy-101



Social Media: Changing Business
Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr

Presence on the world wide web gives an organisation a way to succinctly define themselves and have digital information about who they are and what they do quickly accessible, allowing you,your business, your products and services to get found by internet users.

The challenge of what to say is often faced by businesses who have not clearly defined who they are and what they do. A communications strategy must be defined in tandem with the organisation’s business and marketing plans. This is an integral exercise that business decision makers must invest in with their communications resources before implementing any communication via traditional or new media.

It has been suggested that a sound business concept is one that can be defined in 140 characters.

The first base,otherwise known as Web 1.0, usually a brochure webpage and an webmail email address for internal and external communication. This is where most organisations in Kenya are currently placed,where social media is primarily viewed as an edgy marketing tool, a new means of communicating to current and potential customers.

A cut and paste from the organisation’s brochures and introductory letter structures may do as a start, but depending on the nature of your core business, an investment into a deeper web communications model may be necessary.

Note that, not all businesses require a steep investment into web communications. Do not go into web communications merely because it is the in thing. Despite the following snazzy figures;

As of 18th May 2011, there were:
•667,020,540 Facebook accounts globally
•(KE: 1,093,400 NG: 3,149,320 RSA: 3,816,780 EGY: 7,258,860)
•Over 200 million Twitter accounts (70,000 active in Kenya)
•Over 50 million You Tube accounts (March 2010)
•Over 100 million LinkedIn users (March 2011)

delving into web communications exposes your business to both negative and positive publicity.

The nature of your business may therefore leave you with more complaints and negative publicity than positive feedback. There exists too, the threat of negative campaigns from competitors.

These and other factors must be considered by stakeholders before your business is placed under public scrutiny in matters that may have otherwise been handled quietly, risking the creation of a cost centre where there was none.

Second base is web 2.0.This is where an organisation goes beyond the posting of information and establishes a conversation with her clients. The organisation builds an online community around herself and the web is used interactively. It offers new avenues of having business to business interactions and customer communications. Here, a website is no longer a brochure website but also meshes with interactive suite of web and communication tools.

At this level, the challenge is usually, content. Again, as said earlier, not all businesses are by nature geared to act interactively.

However,here are a few FREE ways of implementing interactive public and private communications both for internal management of the organisation and client communication:

    • Modern email tools like Gmail, Yahoo Business and Outlook live, which go beyond mere electronic mail and incorporate corporate document management, chat, among other features.
    • Linked-In as tool of outlining industry relevance,business to business networking and resource base
    • Newsletters for client communication, and highlighting industry relevance and expertise
    • Skype for international communication and transfer of information
    • Yammer and Salesforce Chatter for CRM and internal corporate information management
    • Twitter Handle for corporate marketing, press releases and client interactions
    • Facebook Page for corporate marketing, press releases and client interactions.
    • Participation in Industry-relevant Mailing lists and websites by technical, management and other departments.

An organisation which has implemented corporate communications effectively is Capital FM: Facebook page Over 111,000 likes
Capital FM Twitter Handle
Over 7,300 followers

If your organization lacks the expertise internally, it is necessary to include a consultant or consulting company to implement a change in your corporate communications strategy.

It is not enough to hire a resource to post across social and communication portals. For a sophisticated deployment in corporate communications, organisations like Gina Din Communications, ScanGroup, Ogilvy and Dotsavvy, among others deploy end to end office and web communications, which includes SMS, corporate phone solutions, CRM and web tools, all the while implementing a shift in the organisation communication practices.

Remember, it is never plug and play, but involves a shift in long term organisation communication policy.


As i noted in a previous post, I have had the unfortunate opportunity of swimming the murky waters of the world wide web to her depths and back.

Well…this time, from a researchers perspective, and purely on a professional basis, I stuck my toe in again.

so here goes.

My perspective is from Kenya, which is Africa’s “where-its-at” spot in Mobile web.

In both instances, I received invites from close friends,to whom, after fervent considerations, decided to join once again in the Mobile Phone Chat Application world.


mXIT  is a free mobile application for instant messaging and communication. That is my lay mans definition. The guys over there describe it differently:

“MXit Xchange is a mobile classified ad service where active buyers and sellers connect.”

This simple description clearly outlines the company’s vision to be more than just another IM application.

I would not want to bore you with the ideological detail, that you can find at their website,


However, another solution challenged their domination:


I thought this was yet another mobile chat application app, and I was right.However, much like Snaptu, the focus is to integrate and build upon the users utilising other applications, in particular, Mxit Users and Facebook users.

“With 2go on your mobile, you can chat with all your friends, anywhere, anytime. It can also connect to other chat networks including MXiT, and Facebook Chat…”

Naughty, arent they? well, in this series I shall summarise my six month’s usage and interaction on both platforms and the prevalence in Nairobi.

Relax, its not a PHD thesis on New Media.

Its just a users perspective on the mobile web events around him.


Social media has NOT helped my life.

Its speed dating on SPEED.

Its coffee, acid and weed together all in a portable carry-it-where-you-will package that your mother approves.

A couple of days or nights of intense IMing can get one so intensely knowledgeable of an absolute stranger, so much more than someone one sees on a daily basis.

The mask the internet wears in the sheath of pseudo anonymity only serves as a lure into extreme self exhibitionism, and deepens further as connections are made.

I have come to this bitter conclusion after several years of playing with this fire.

I was not so fortunate as to have been introduced to social media through the safe and managed world of desktop IM and email.

No. mine was a baptism of fire. It was the early pre-gprs days of dial up internet  on the phone. When downloading a ringtone and having it ring in public made deep deep impact.

I am definitely not that old a man, old enough though. Twas my campus years , and the phones used belonged to that parent, aunt or brother who had a phone with complex facilities way beyond what the network could offer.

I can remember thinking up such beautiful ideas such as starting up a company that does MMS advertising so that by the time our networks adopt MMS, then we would be market leaders…ah,good times. concepts superceded by technological advancements i guess.

At the time my addictions were not so severe, due to the high cost of dial-up data.


To add to the above gift which I now see as a predicament, I received a Nokia 3300. A phone way way way ahead of its time.

Nokia 3300

Thus through GPRS and WAP, I discovered the IM networks, some british, a good number asian and Indian, some american. The population was mainly young people, very young.

We were all either in our first or second years in campus at most, the rest, even kids in primary school.

Peperonity, Mig33,wapamp, mygamma and some which i refuse to name as they were text based with intense and revelatory conversations forever hanging out there on the wap web… sigh.

Those were the good memories. I made many friends , to whom I spoke (no, chatted) with daily for hours on end daily for a minimum of ten hours a day.

When did i find the time? You did it everywhere. My thumbs (the 3300 was a rela of the Ngage, qwerty things)were almost always sore like a pro gamer.My mom hated it .

The bad bits was the fast love culture it bore. I know alot of people used those portals to hook up. look up the words “hook up” .

The second aspect was how emotionally draining it was.  I cannot say anything more on that.

I wasted tons of credit. Tons. the money I spent on airtime…. considering I had no source of income…coz you had to chat daily. You know the way you do not really need your cell phone, but if you leave home without it you feel as if your day is destroyed? that was how I would feel after an hour of not responding or checking on updates.

Alot of the emotional hangups I have with regard to women and relationship were built around social media addiction.

To be honest, from all the time I spent on the stuff, I gained NOTHING.

All those companies are laughing to the bank in conjunction with the service providers.

I am saying this now that Safaricom is endorsing MXIT ( A service I had been on for about a year) and Facebook for popular and widespread use all over the country.

I just feel that someone should learn from my terrible experiences and that my example should cause some sort of protection to be put in place towards regulating these addictive things.

I swear NACADA should be told about this new drug and its worse than all the rest because its in the guise of cool government supported companies and no one can see the problem as it is novel.

I do hope this post will help any chat addicts and net addicts out there to know they are not alone, others have overcome and it is possible to get out.


Twitter changed our everyday internet experience by allowing people to know everything we do in a simple series of daily status updates. However, one group is largely under represented on twitter and that is children. Which is strange seeing as children often have the most interesting and varied lives to update online.

Twitter knowing the importance of this demographic has announced the launch of its new twitter for kids, Kidder! Kidder will allow children to “kid” their status updates online at all times and keep us updated about their complex and interesting lives.

One child was quoted as kidding “Charlie bit me.” Another child was quoted saying ” I can wipe now.”

Some people are skeptical about a website that is virtually unusable by it’s target audience without the aid of an adult, but industry analysts say that this was a website waiting to happen. Robert Johnson a website prospector at the Institute for Safe Investments, says “Kidder is an advertisers dream, now we can get toy advertisements directly to the parents who’re the ones who have to use this crap anyway!”

Kidder will no doubt become an intricate part of every childs life and will work as an excellent supplement for KidSpace. Though that site recently had to close down after it was reveled that it had become nothing more than a clubhouse for pedophiles. Hopefully Kidder can avoid such problems.

I highly suggest kidder. You don’t want to miss what these crazy tots are doing.

Ok. so i am six days late for an April fools gag but I wrote this post on April 1st so it still counts, doesnt it? 😀


Microblogging and Social Media: Changing our way of life

As I lie here in the dark of night having been captured by this thought, and now sending it out to the world , I realise that every human being is important.

The advent of blogging, viral media and social networking affirms this more than ever before.
This has however altered the way daily life is lived.

Each event, function,concert,holiday cannot be simply experienced without being twittered,flickred or facebooked

It is all based upon the presumption that everyone in our world is looking out and cares for what we have to say,that we are perpetually on a stage.

Or the grim thought that at our death our history and eulogy is digitally written by our own hand.
The benefits of social media far outweigh the demerits.
However this microwave era, this period of bubblegum life will soon enough come to pass.
This is, to me, made clear in three key aspects in which it has affected our lives.

The first aspect is the lightness with which it comes;a serious message that was once carried in a weighty letter is posted in a microsecond and quickly buried in a mass of meaningless garbage.
This adds in the “cry-wolf” effect, where a serious message is taken lightly. I need not remind you what happened to the boy who cried wolf.

Do you not find it annoying, the multiple media we have to deal with? Today, an afternoon after a hard days work for the typical urban person means skype,email,i-pod,facebook,twitter,flicker,newspaper,tv,radio,sms,phone calls. All this outside direct person to person conversations.
You would think that we are now better at multitasking, but surveys show that persons raised in this media explosion have extremely short attention spans.They can hardly concentrate.

What hurts me most though, is the waning of pure peace and enjoyment of beauty. One no longer basks in a the orange basket of a sunset or sunrise,plunging and losing oneself in its beauty, without first whipping out a camera to “capture”the moment, not knowing the moment was lost once the plunge wasn’t taken, and the decision to be a cold observer behind mirrored steel was made. We will then tumblr it, tweet it, facebook it, stumble upon it, sms it and by the time we are done, it will be dark or high noon,the moment lost in time.

Instead of building addictive habits around our media,we should validate and qualify the importance of our use of the same,and thereafter,use them in moderation.