Kenyans and Twitter are like Stevie and Wonder and they create daily hashtags that will have you in stitches. If all other countries went offline Twitter would still be hilarious if the Kenyans stayed. Obviously a lot of the hashtags are so specific in relating to something that happened in the media that an outsider will not understand, but a lot of it is related to globalized Twitter phenomena or just random playful laugh until you cry. (Today’s top hashtag is #youshouldbecroppedif)
And don’t even get me started on the memes.
#KOT, Kenyans on Twitter, have several interesting characteristics. One is the surreal sense of humor which actually seems to be a national personality trait. It may swing faster than a bungyjumproap between stringent academic and jaw-dropping vulgar or sexist but it is a sign of free expression and of an eclectic country. The other is that cultural spirit that makes interaction so easy and dynamic. Everyone just jumps in. Apart from the crazy funny never-ending hashtagoramas there often very serious issues are discussed. Criticism towards politicians who are less accessible to the public than in some other countries is aired on Twitter. Tribalism is discussed. Values are discussed. There is a returning hashtag #someonetell__, where there is a new recipient defined every time. One of the most intense #somebodytell was #someonetellNorway related to an exhibition in Norway with some aspects perceived as racist.
Nairobi is an strong social media hub on the African continent (I recommend Nendo:s Social Media Report to anyone interested in this) and following the debates on Twitter does give you some good insight into what is going on.
You might also want to read this article in International Business Times about the African Twitter phenomenon.
Naturally the good PR-pros know how to provide #KOT with content that will fly… A sensational recent example is when afropop sensations Sauti Sol released their thought-provoking video to “Nishike”. But more on this interesting topic when we talk to their publicist Anyiko Owoko soon….