There are about 400,000 Ugandans on Facebook and less than half that number using Twitter. Between them, the two social networks have about 1billion in total subscribers worldwide, making them the world’s biggest social networks.
The Chinese even have their own; Weibo. Here’s a network that operates only for the Chinese speaking people, but yet, has almost as many subscribers as the worldwide Facebook. And there are still a whole lot of others we haven’t even talked about; MySpace, Hi5, Google+, name it!
For obvious reasons, social media took root and rapidly developed in the western world and Africa has only been catching up lately, mainly owed to the shortage of internet enabled devices, limited
computer knowledge and erratic electricity supply.
Ironically, Africa boasts of the finest example on the power and effectiveness of social media as a mobilization tool. The momentous 2011 Arab Spring that ousted autocratic (or simply call them unpopular if you may) regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya would never have been pulled off without the aid of social media which eased mobilization, provision and sharing of information; and coordinating the youths who eventually triumphed.
A lot of humanitarian causes too have been coordinated through these networks. From Hurricane Katrina, to Haiti,Japan name them all, people worldwide have done fundraisings, moral support, and even rescue missions using these same networks!
As corporate companies have now realised, social media is probably the best media for marketing products and services. The immediacy of response coupled with the medium’s ability to enable interaction between marketer and client facilitates a more effective sales model because it is less expensive and the interaction
allows for clarity.
More than any other media before it, social media is the fastest way to spread information or break a story. None attests to this more than the Kony2012 movie produced by the Invisible Children in April 2012. In less than a week, 0ver 100 million people were able to see the warlord’s folly brutality by merely logging into YouTube or sharing the video through various social media platforms. The movie producers would never have achieved even half the publicity they got had they used any other media platform. Plus, through the same media, they managed to clarify the issues that arose in the aftermath (say the scandal with the director of the
video) and released an updated version of the movie. More publicity!
There are a lot of things that social media can do for everybody, all walks, if well utilised. Besides the fun that these platforms present, there are diverse opportunities as well. Just log into either of your choice, you will thank me later!