Skip to main content

Demonstrators 2.0

Web 2.0 and social networking has really picked up all over the world. In areas like Africa where internet access is limited, Social Networks have been a driving force towards the adoption or Mobile Internet. Most people begin using the internet in order to use tools like Facebook of to access webmail. In terms of helping internet spread, social networking is close to pornography in the number of people it draws to the net. (Yes, don't frown. Pornography has been the biggest driving force when it comes to adoption of technology, even if society frowns upon it).

With the growth and popularity of social networks like Tweeter and Facebook, a new tend has been developing. The control and flow of information has moved from State observed(controlled/managed) News channels to people managed social networks. This has resulted in the masses having more power in themselves, with cases of demonstrations been organized and managed via social networks.

The most famous of these has been the Iranian post-election demonstrations. The demonstrations began with Iranians posting statuses on Tweeter of their opposition against the election results. This resulted in demonstrations which soon grew and spread to other areas as information was spread via Tweeter. The Iranian government was able to bar information spread and access by cracking down on the mainstream media. Despite their efforts, the situation proved hard to control as information continued flowing via Tweeter and other social networks such as YouTube. the authorities moved in to try to trace the sources of the information on social sites, but this was limited by the anonymity of such sites and the use of proxies which enable accessing of blocked sites.

Another example of social sites been used to organize demonstrations is the G20 summit. Here, mostly Facebook was used in organizing demonstrations during the last G20 summit. The British police had to deploy their forces to just sit and Facebook the whole day . I know several people who wish their job would have been equivalent to this.

Locally, a situation where a social network has been used to counter authority propaganda and organize mass protests is the Kenyatta University Demonstrations. The students at the institution were passing information regarding the stand off between the students and the university on Facebook. the students voiced their opinions about the standoff in groups, walls on Facebook.Meanwhile the Administration resorted to using memos and posters to voice their opinions. At one time, the university administration noticed the Facebook activity, and put out a memo in the effect which said that it would still maintain the program, despite the threats of strike. The effects of this were not fully seen, as other activities amounting to riots(as mentioned in the above article)preempted the organized strike.

With the Kenyan government aggressively advocating for the spread and use of IT, we wonder whether they are ready to loose the grip in information flow. Will the government be able to manage and control "negative" information flow in times like the Post election violence. is the government ready to upgrade itself to government 2.0?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Kenyan in Addis Ababa (Part 2) - The "University Girls"

This post continues from Part 1. 

The residents of Addis are friendly too. On my first day, I did meet a guard at a hotel, who later offered to show me around. Among the places he suggested, was this place where some “University girls” were holding some "dancing ceremony". He added, that Ethiopians being Orthodox Christians, were about to go on a sex, alcohol and meat fast, hence the importance of this “ceremony.”
I had some suspicion that I was being sold to sex, but my guide insisted that this was not a sex sale. Just dancing University girls. We did end up in some nondescript compound, and into a house. There was sort of a sitting area, with a radio system, low benches and tables, and grass sprinkled around the floor. Grass sprinkled around the floor is an Ethiopian tradition that indicates you are welcome to a place.

It was about 5 PM,  and the hosts seemed not to be expecting any visitors at this time. My guide disappeared down some corridor into the back to call them. In…

Beers in Kenya: A sober opinion

I have had a short beer swigging stint in my life. It has however been long enough for me to share my opinions of Kenyan beer. Interestingly, over the course of sharing such opinions with other drunkards connoisseurs,  I have found that we all have different views as to what beer is the best, which one makes you too drunk, or which one gives a free,  extra hangover for every hangover you get from it.
For starters, like everyone else, I discovered that beer isn’t as sweet as it looks like in those adverts that show golden barley swaying in breezes,  happy men smiling and toasting chilled, foaming glasses of beer as a deep voice does some narration in the background.
Beer is bitter! Now, it turns out beer is intentionally made bitter. See,  beer shares the same ingredients as bread. The major difference is that bread isn't fermented. Bread is sweet, so why isn't beer sweet?

Why Kenyans love Kigali (Part 2)

See part 1 of why Kenyans Love Kigali, which this articl is a continuation.

In my previous post on why Kenyans love Kigali, or Rwanda for that matter, I had mentioned on the security of the city. The post however widely dealt with the feel and appearance of the city, and a little bit of the country.

Both of my visits to Kigali have been through the airport, though you may opt for a more adventurous journey by road. Getting to Kigali then required a Kenyan passport, but no visa. Now, all you need to go through both Uganda and Rwandan borders are a National Identity Card.

For travel by air, Rwandair is a cheaper option for Kenyans as compared to our national flag carrier, Kenya Airways. Ironically, most other Africans get to Kigali via Kenya Airways, thought most Kenyans will opt for the cheaper Rwandair. The flights are comfortable and the service on board the 1 hour 15 minutes flight is great.

Depending on the weather, your landing can be quite full of turbulence in Kigali. The airpor…

Kenya Power customers suffer from Ksh 0.5 billion faulty prepaid meters

Kenya Power is a famous company in Kenya, one which draws what my colleagues in media will call "mixed reactions". While those in urban areas such as Nairobi regard Kenya Power as a very unreliable firm, I have heard of villages in rural areas where blackouts go unreported for even 3 days . To the rural people, recent electrification means that at least they get to get electricity for some days, which is better than no electricity.

In urban areas, the story is not any different. Around Imara Daima along Mombasa Road, power is mostly reliable, with blackouts been few in a week, and even at times been less than 10 in a month. In other places in the city, blackouts are a daily occurrence, and in some places, the blackouts are more than meals, counting two teas , breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Another aspect about Kenya Power is the prepaid meters, which like the firm, are equally loved and hated.

Ever since I became proud enough to start paying my own bills, I have used the Keny…

The Idle Life of a Regular Kenyatta University Student.

My education life was quite an active one, till I completed the 8.4. part of 8.4.4. I went to good primary schools, with tuition in class 6-8 and boarding in class 7 & 8. My life in primary was quite full, esp with tuition in class 7 & 8.I passed KCPE and was admitted to a good National School in Nairobi. My High School life was divided into 3 months holiday and 9 months schooling per year, except for 4th form where i spend I had a 1 month holiday between January and November. I was therefore well occupied for the first 12 years of my education.

After sitting for my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education(KCSE) in November 2004, I had to wait for results till March 2005. I was well above the B+ university cut off. Previously in early 2004, we had chosen universities and courses we would like to attend by filling the Joint Admissions Board forms. After the results were out in early 2005, we had to wait till August 2005 for the 2004 KCSE lot to change their university and cours…