Kenyans excel in track athletics. They also do in social media trolling with their now famous #SomeoneTellXYZ.
Take a look at #KOT,an abreviated form on #KenyansOnTwitter,and the evidence will be there for all to see.
At #KOT,everyone is yelling just about very mundane things to attract attention.
The rest of the world is using Social Media to further worthwhile causes and business interests;Kenyans mainly use social media for trolling and gossip. Oh,and hate speech too!
We have the freedom to express ourselves on a public forum, where some of us can cajole, argue,and call out anyone we do not like.
For some Kenyans, social media is gold in its purest form, but being “outed” on that very platform is
Social media has a funny way of reaching even the darkest corners of the world, provided there is a human being there.
In Kenya, a city urchin texts a link or even copies a message and sends it to his non-data cousins in the village, and they too remain connected.
The weakest link in social media is not the technology, but the end user, and some people are quickly burning their reputation in a society that no
longer distinguishes between online and offline.
So, what are the bad aspects of our social media use?
WE LOVE FIGHTING
Kenyan’s love for a good brawl on social media is visible,although most of the time it is about a mundane
Some Kenyans could be on their knees online, but still be willing to go another round.
So far, we have “told” (off) CNN, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, the president and more.
The list is long, but our brazen approach is, sadly, our folly.
Since crossing Kenya is guaranteed to make you a humiliated trending topic, provoking a Kenyan into
an online brawl is easy.
In the heat of the fight, our
ignorance comes out.
Some of us can’t even tell which fights are worth it.
WE KILLED ENGLISH
Any English teacher worth his or her salt would kill themselves just by joining social media.
In Kenya,English died on social media of some inane tropical
disease after spawning an offspring that barely resembles it.
Maybe it is in the heat of the moment, but grammar and social media in Kenya are poles apart.
So, what nobody tells us is that while we are busy “telling” the world off, the world barely comprehends what we are saying.
WE LOVE HATE SPEECH
Indeed, we have fought and won many wars on social media, and anyone fighting with a Kenyan
needs to think twice.
But when it gets to the most
bitter part of the battle, things always take a nasty turn.
This is our freedom of expression’s Achilles Heel.
There must be an element of hate speech by some Kenyans in any online battle.
The disturbing bit is that only few remain anonymous these days.
Two things, however, become apparent.
Policing the web in Kenya has failed.
Well, we knew that, and that accountability wasn’t really a necessity in Kenya.
Some Kenyans struggle to hold their tongue.
They openly spew their hate online.
The reality that needs to dawn on them is that online is global, and
there must be audiences out there who now think the worst of everyone in Kenya.
Locally, hate speech reinforces every stereotype the government and civil society are trying to banish.
WE ARE PROVOCATEURS
Some Kenyans prefer to start the fight, then lean back and watch.
A simple argument becomes a major fight primarily because of trolling.
In Kenya, there is no shortage of trolls.
Once they have identified a contentious topic, they get to
work, assembling an army of trolls, pouring petrol on the fire, then sitting back to watch the war of
words going viral.
It is not unique to Kenyans, but it exists and in some cases, it happens all too often.
Aware of how some Kenyans love to escalate arguments, trolls know how to press each belligerent’s buttons to ensure that it becomes a war, while creating “entertainment” for the masses.
Thus, being outspoken on social media is fodder for your enemies.
While it will always be impossible to curb such habits, at the very least, you need to consider your
Online content spreads faster than print, has an extremely long half-life, and will always be readily available for reference.
The African Story as told by Africans.