General Musings

Social Media: What’s the Bottom Line?

Almost every conversation I engage in these days has the phrase ‘Social Media’ sneaked in.

I’ve met self-made gurus in this growing phenomenon,and been awed by the opportunities that ‘Social Media’ presents.

For those still not so clear on the definition of said phenomenon,do take the time to visit the world wide web and inform thyself. Heads up,by virtue of reading this post,you are engaging in…you guessed it…social media 🙂 *insert news-like dramatic voice*

In Kenya’s Social Media scene, we have seen remarkable interaction between corporate heads and their clients, something that was hitherto almost unfathomable. Brands have upped their game and are offering Customer Service via social media platforms,most notably Twitter. Prayers are ongoing for some ‘power’ monopolies to buy into the vision as well!

But is social media the new fad?

Gurus are there in plenty. But what about phonies? People who’ll sell anything/push just about any agenda,sound all sophisticated when they throw the ‘social media’ phrase to opportunists?

We are approaching an election year in Kenya. If all we’ve known so far are the gurus, the phonies are about to stream in! Phonies,in my opinion,simply because they will jump at any opportunity to make easy money off ‘Social Media’.

Now,we are the consumers. Are we gonna buy just about anything? Have we set any standards? Will we take anything that comes our way?

To every opportunity,there’s a threat. I suppose that depends on how you look at it. Again,in my opinion, the opportunity presented itself first. Allow me to use an analogy. An ingenious individual takes a chance on a new venture. Upon their success, imitators come in for the kill. Following day, they too, set up shop,not even trying too hard to change the business concept… well,maybe just the business name,usually an acronym of all their children’s names.*I sense many people cringing, do the names of your siblings count for some brand name?hmmm?*
It’s not like we’ve seen that before!

We have got to identify the threats that lie in social media,ahead of the politically charged times coming our way. It doesn’t matter if you sell ‘mandazis’ or are giving TED Talks, we will ALL be affected by what floods Facebook,Twitter, the blogosphere and every other ‘Social Media’ platform out there.

In the past, the agenda has probably been predetermined. But as good fortune would have it,we can set the agenda! We can set a bottom line. We are all entitled to different views. We will support different presidential candidates and aspirants of political office in general.

What is the bottom line?

Political fever will strike, and hard!! We will all suffer from the symptoms a time or other. The biggest mistake we can make is thinking that we can/will be immune. Even apathy isn’t a good enough vaccine for this fever!

What will the bottom line be?

Will we still have the friends we’ve made via ‘Social Media’? Will we be divided along God-knows-what lines? Will those who have influence on Social Media be objective?

It’s time we set the agenda before it is set for us!


By Nanjira

Perched at the intersection of tech & governance, media, culture.