A day to celebrate social media

By Lusanji Begisen

Social media connects millions of people around the world.

In 2010, Mashable launched Social Media Day to celebrate this global revolution, and highlight the ways social media and digital innovation have come to define this generation.

The total number of Internet users in Kenya according to the Communications Authority of Kenya’s last report stands at 11.6 million.

Kenyans on Facebook, according to the Facebook Ad Planner, remain at 3.8 million. Twitter, though growing in popularity, is still behind Facebook with approximately 500,000 users.

Whatsapp, though relatively new in the market is the current leading social messaging app after overtaking facebook Messenger globally in 2013.

Kenya has seen an increase user engagement via social media not only for social reasons but also matters of National Importance. Events such as the March 2013 General Elections, The Westgate Mall Attack and Kenya at 50 celebrations were all events which employed the social media for communication.

Leaders right from the President now take to twitter among other social networks to engage citizens. Kenya’s media houses have also recognized the potential of social and digital media and how it can be a leverage in reporting and disseminating news.

Experts now even predict a new age of the “Second Screen” or Social TV where the public will no longer watch television without a second screen such as a phone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer nearby. Corporate companies too have not been left behind as more companies continue to harness of the power social media.

However, as much as social media has encouraged freedom of speech, these sites have also been put under scrutiny by the government to curb incidences of communication that may hinder national cohesion.