THE STATE OF BLOGGING & SOCIAL MEDIA IN KENYA 2015 REPORT

 

THE STATE OF BLOGGING AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN KENYA 2015 REPORT
GROWTH OF BLOGGING AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN KENYA
Blogging in Kenya started in the year 2003.
Since then, the blogging space has grown
tremendously, in the number of bloggers as
well as variety and quality of content created
by bloggers about Kenya.
Kenya has seen a steady rise in the number
of bloggers and social media opinion makers
who exercise their freedom of speech on
the internet on politics and on social issues
affecting them.
BLOGS
According BAKE’s Chairman Kennedy
Kachwanya, there is an estimated 15,000
registered blogs in Kenya with 3,000 being
active blogs registered blogs by Kenyans
on the WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr
platforms.
Whereas the first Kenyan on twitter registered
on 28
th
March 2007, the growth of twitter
in Kenya peaked between 2012 and 2013
according to
Digital Rand’s
6
Social Media
Status 2014 Report A002,
.
7
TWITTER
According to
a recent report published by
Kenyan technology writer and industry expert
Moses Kemibaro
8
, Kenya has a confirmed
700,000+ monthly active users (MAUs) on
Twitter. Of 1.4 million to 2.1 million users in
total, 80% of Twitter users in Kenya access
the service on a daily basis. In terms of Daily
Active Users (DAUs) therefore the number is
approximately 570,000+.
Twitter growth has been doubling in Kenya
year on year (YoY). This means that around
this time next year there will be around 1.4
million. Twitter MAUs in Kenya are anywhere
between 2.8 million to 4.2 million users in
total factoring in those who do not login
6
7
8
twitter-in-kenya/
FACEBOOK
There are 4.3 million Kenyan users on the
Facebook platform, this is according to
Facebook’s monetization platform.
MOBILE DATA INCREASE & SMARTPHONE
PENETRATION
Kenya is one of the countries experiencing
the highest smart phone growth rate as well
as Internet penetration rate in Sub- Saharan
Africa. Africa’s mobile phone penetration is
expected to rise by 79% by 2020 according to
a new study by
Frost & Sullivan.
9
The
ICT Sector Statistics Report for the period
October to December 2014 (Q2 FY 2014/15)
10
by the Communications Authority of Kenya
(CA), Mobile penetration grew by 2.1 percent
to stand at 82.6 percent during the quarter
under review up from 80.5 percent reported
last quarter
According to the report, the total number of
data/internet subscriptions grew remarkably
by 10.8 percent to reach 16.4 million from 14.8
million subscriptions reported last quarter.
Compared to the same period of the previous
year, the number of data subscriptions
has grown by 24.8 percent. The estimated
number of internet users during the quarter
increased to 26.1 million up from 23.2 million
subscriptions reported last quarter. This
marked an increase of 4.8 million subscriptions
when compared to the same quarter of the
previous year. Consequently, the population
with access to internet grew significantly to
stand at 64.3 per 100 inhabitants up from last
quarter’s figure of 57.1 per 100 inhabitants. The
growth in internet access and usage could be
attributed to the numerous data promotions
carried out by the various service providers
during the quarter. For instance, one of the
service providers offered free social media
access by post-paid and prepaid subscribers
on their network.
9
mobile-connectivity-and-growing-data-services-drive-
telecoms-market-africa/
10
Sector%20Statistics%20Report%20Q2%202014-2015.pdf
THE STATE OF BLOGGING AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN KENYA 2015 REPORT
pg 3
According to the same report
, the data market
in the country has grown significantly over
time. During the period under review, the
total number of data/internet subscriptions
grew remarkably by 10.8 percent to reach
16.4 million from 14.8 million subscriptions
reported in the previous quarter. Compared
to the same period of the previous year, the
number of data subscriptions has grown by
24.8 percent. This could be attributed to the
massive investments by mobile operators and
Internet Service Providers into base stations
and the last mile fibre optic transmission links
to support the increasing bandwidth demand
in the country.
The CA has in past reports attributed the
rapid growth to increased use of mobile
data services mainly by young people on
social networking sites such as Facebook and
Twitter. Many of the youth in Kenya are using
smart phones and mobile data to catch up on
what is happening around them as well as to
engage in active discussions on social media.
THE ROLE OF BLOGS & SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media platforms such as blogs, Twitter
and Facebook have, since their uptake in
Kenya, continued to offer diversity in the
variety of content available online.
Social media has also become an effective tool
through which Kenyans can write on topics
of interest to them as well as exercise their
freedom to free speech as guaranteed in the
Kenyan Constitution that was promulgated
in 2010.
The diversity in the Kenyan blogging space
has continued to be observed in the topics
covered such as Technology, Fashion,
Food, Health, Human Rights, Environment
and County Governments as well as in the
inclusion of Kenyans in other counties into the
space through skills training programs carried
out by BAKE around the country.
The growth of blogs in Kenya in depth on
topics of choice and diversity have, in the
last 4 years elicited interest from the Kenyan
corporate sector with brands seeking to work
with bloggers as an additional platform for
advertising and marketing through banner
advertisements, commissioned product
reviews, promoted blog posts and social
media campaigns.
The rise of Kenyan Social Media influencers
was comprehensively researched and
published in the first social media trends
report written in Kenya.
The Nendo report
2014
11
highlighted the rise and growing power
of Social Media influencers.
The Nendo Report 2014 builds on the
learnings from East Africa’s most active Twitter
community and the social media landscape to
present predictions for 2014-2015.
According to the Nendo Report 2014; the
Year 2014 was predicted to be the year of the
influencers.
“This will also be the year of the
influencers. The new range of content
creators that have been put on a
pedestal thanks to their wit, quips and
commentary online. The backbone of
Kenyans on Twitter, they’ve created
fully-fledged careers, websites and
contracts with brands as a result. The
outcome however has been built on
an atmosphere without full disclosure
on the side of the brand, the influencer
and the audience.”
Blogging is slowly becoming a viable business
for many young people who are seeking
careers in the digital space due to the lack of
conventional blue collar jobs with a majority
of
Kenyan youth failing to be absorbed
12
to
the existing Kenya work force.
The increase in fast, affordable and reliable
11
12
RockefellerFoundationReportpdf2014-11-24-12-04-22.
pdf
THE STATE OF BLOGGING AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN KENYA 2015 REPORT
pg 4
internet in Kenya’s capital Nairobi as well as
in other major towns has directly impacted
the rise of blogs and social networks as an
alternative to news & information. Citizens
who only relied on mainstream news channels
such as radio, newspapers and TV for their
news and information now also have the
Internet.
Indeed the changing reading trends can
be confirmed by the dip in sales of print
newspaper by two of the leading Kenyan
newspapers the Nation and the Standard.
The traditional media houses are finding
themselves having to adopt to these changing
trends by introducing alternatives such as
mobile applications (mobile apps) for their
publications to compliment the print version.
In some instances, doing away with the print
version all together as was the case recently
with Nairobi news. The Nation Media Group
publication was targeted at the Nairobi
County. The publication had to shut down
its print version and is now only available
exclusively on web.
13
Despite the numerous gains made by
Kenyan bloggers in creating unique and rich
content about Kenya on the internet as well
as in providing alternative employment to
young people, the perceived threat posed by
bloggers in Kenya can largely be attributed
to the bloggers who write on politics and
recently, on devolution as well as social media
users who are outspoken about their political
views and opinions on the current political
leadership and governance in Kenya.
“More Kenyans are looking to blogs for news and
information, like people do in the States,”
said
Were
14
, who first began experimenting with
blogs as a university student in Manchester,
England, in the late 1990s.
13
back/
14
voices-blog-out-of-africa.html#storylink=cpy
KENYAN MEDIA AND THE 2007 & 2013 ELECTIONS
According to the
Freedom of the Press 2014
report
15
by Freedom House, Kenya’s leading
media outlets, especially in the print sector,
are often critical of politicians and government
actions
16
. They remain pluralistic, rigorous,
and bold in their reporting, although they
also frequently pander to the interests of
major advertisers and influential politicians.
This was particularly apparent in the run-up
to the March 2013 general elections, as media
owners aligned themselves with certain
political personalities.
15
kenya#.VW1k9ka7gjU
16
kenya#.VW9Um9Kqqko
The concentration of media outlets in the
hands of a small number of owners, often
with strong political affiliations, contributed
to this partisan reporting trend. Many local
journalists admitted that their election
coverage required self-censorship to
accommodate the interests of their respective
media houses. A case in point is the admission
by a senior staff member of one of the media
houses that perhaps they were
a little too
trusting
of the IEBC, Kenya’s electoral body in
the 2013 general elections.
THE STATE OF BLOGGING AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN KENYA 2015 REPORT
pg 5
INTERNET FREEDOMS IN KENYA
According to Freedom House’s
report on the
state of Internet Freedom in Kenya 2014
17
,
despite robust constitutional protections for
freedom of expression, Kenya’s Parliament
passed some of the most repressive media
legislation in the country’s 50-year history in
2013. The Kenyan Government is seemingly
becoming intolerant of voices of dissent and
dissident citizens online who have continued
to become more vocal on social media and
blogs.
Bloggers derive their constitutional security
in Articles 33 and 34. Article 33 is on the
freedom of expression while 34 freedom of
the media
18
.
Kenya bloggers and social media users
are at a crossroads. On the one hand, the
government has been very progressive about
digital migration, stating how it will unleash
great hidden potential in local content and
spur growth including creating jobs. On the
other hand, the state is using repressive laws
to stifle those who are vocal and occupying
the online space to bring out salient issues,
interalia
ignored by mainstream media or
discussing issues of national concern.
However these robust regime has increasing
been threatened as will be evidenced below.
A provision that has yet to be tested but
which affects freedom of expression, hence
affecting bloggers is the Kenya Information
and Communications (Amendment) Act
2013
19
. It created a Communication and
Multimedia Appeals Tribunal which falls under
state controlled Communications Authority
of Kenya. The Tribunal has power to impost
hefty fines on media houses and journalists,
recommend de-registration of journalists and
make any order on freedom of expression.
17
net/2013/kenya#.VW9VCNKqqko
18 Constitution of Kenya 2010
19
KICA-Act-2013.pdf
This vague order on freedom of expression
should concern bloggers because with
increase unease of government, this tribunal
being under governments’ armpit none
should take obsolete comfort.
In addition, as noted on the increase of
mobile penetration and their use to access
the internet, it is becoming apparent that
government regularly requests access to user
communications data. This is according to
Vodafone network and Google in their 20014
reports
20
. They assert that the government
made requests for user communications data
and user account information. Vodafone has
a 40 percent stake in Kenya’s largest mobile
phone company Safaricom.
THE CHANGING ROLE OF KENYAN
BLOGGERS & SOCIAL MEDIA USERS; RISE
OF CITIZEN JOURNALISM
Citizen Journalism in Kenya has not emerged
from the kind of formal organisation with
institutional support such as has been the
case in South Africa. Instead it has been
spontaneous, perhaps even ‘
indisciplined
’.
As such, clear historical trajectory of its
development in Kenya is almost impossible.
However, Key moments in Kenya’s political
history provide opportunities for studying
some of its most notable characteristics.
Much work has been done on Kenya’s 2007-
2008 post- election crisis and specifically on
the role that was played by social media.
The emergence of Citizen Journalism in Kenya
has been comprehensively covered in the
book,
The Future of News Journalism: A Cross-
Continental Analysis
published by Routledge
in 2013
21
.
20
government-requests-for-subscriber-information/
21
details/9780415532860/
THE STATE OF BLOGGING AND SOCIAL MEDIA IN KENYA 2015 REPORT
pg 6
According the
THE KENYAN 2007 ELECTIONS
AND THEIR AFTERMATH: THE ROLE OF MEDIA
AND COMMUNICATION
report published by
the BBC World Service Trust
22
;
“The second set of challenges facing
the mainstream media are those
facing most media in most countries.
A booming media sector, built on an
increasing advertising base, has gone
through similar changes to other
rapidly developing media markets.
Fierce competition for breaking news
stories and a 24 hours events driven
news culture has squeezed out room
for more reflective debate and analysis
that provides perspective, clarity
and makes sense of the rapid and
turbulent changes in the country. The
mainstream papers were “imagining
that things would go smoothly,” says
Absalom Mutere of the Media Council
of Kenya. When violence broke out:
“We missed a lot of the background
and analysis of the source of the
problem from a historical perspective.
We saw the headlines of events,
not the background to the events.”
The trend is further exacerbated by
competition from new technologies
and blogs (see below). “With so much
information being available, are we
able to synthesize all this information
and respond in a relevant manner,”
says Mutere.
The Same BBC report notes that Kenya has
as lively a blog culture as is likely to be seen
anywhere. Many of these, such as Mashada.
com, form online communities connecting
people within the country with diasporic
communities; they provide a key form of
public debate and a source of investigation at
a time when investigative journalism is under
threat in the country. As such, blogs provide
a growing form of democratic expression
and accountability, and fresh opportunities
for dialogue and debate across cultures and
communities.
22
policy_briefing_08.pdf
According to the
Social Media and Post-Election
Crisis in Kenya 2008
23
report by University of
Pennsylvania scholarly commons, It is during
the 2007 Kenyan general elections, that power
of blogs and social media platforms such
as Facebook was first seen in the way that
Kenyans were able to express their opinions,
views and critique of the government and
political leadership in a way that enabled
many other Kenyans to read and share those
views with such ease and speed. Indeed the
first Kenyan blogs such as
mentalacrobatics.
com
,
thinkersroom.com
and
kenyanpundit.
com
played a huge role in providing news and
information following the 5 day live broadcast
media ban that was declared on December
30
th
2007 following the presidential results
announcement. Due to the news blackout,
many Kenyans turned to other means of
getting and relaying information.
Blogs are becoming a tool for whistle
blowers to employ on exposing corruption
and misappropriation of public funds.
Kenyan blogger Abraham Mutai
24
was in
January 2015 detained in police custody for
questioning and later released for exposing
corruption in the Isiolo County through his
blog and then tweeting about it. The role of
Kenyan blogs is now increasing and filling the
void of a platform that Kenyans can publish
information on corruption as well as easily
access and share such information
Twitter has continued
to play a great role
25
in enabling Kenyan citizens to air their views
publicly as well as engage the digital strategy
and public relations arm of the government
that has also taken to Twitter in great numbers.
The collective of Kenyans on Twitter has
become famously known as
KOT
for their
outspoken nature, not just in tackling domestic
issues but also in dealing with its neighbors,
fellow African countries, and for taking on
international media houses such as CNN for
23
cgi?article=1012&context=ictafrica
24
arrested-and-released-for-reporting-on-corruption-in-
isiolo-county/
25
opinion/2013/03/20133684021106816.html
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Author: emalineachieng

Meet HUMOURITA! Emaline Achieng comedy blogger, humourist.,satirist a christian happily in the WORK of GOD,a Writer-:-(RELIGION),Current Affairs,Public Interests, millions of humorous,comical,satirical,,,absurd articles...stories,,,observations,,pieces,, current affairs,short takes and more. "lionel messi" wa comedienne!

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