Are social networks becoming Kenya’s preferred online destinations?
I had an interesting meeting with a prospective client representative the other day. There I was with a colleague talking about the merits of our firm providing internet marketing services to their bank when he interjected with an anecdote as to why the internet has become so vital to the future of his financial services organization.
He explained that a couple of years ago, he had made a business trip to the US where he acquired a state of the art laptop. The said laptop stayed in its box, unopened and unused, for practically a year by himself, his wife or his daughter. However, he had to get the laptop connected to the Internet for his wife and his daughter so that they could “get on that web site they call Facebook where all their friends and family go”.
Interesting, isn’t it? That a computer can remain unused for a year until a family needs to connect to Facebook since that is where everyone they know goes to spend their time online for personal and professional networking. Its not email or web browsing in general that led them to get online, it was the need to connect and re-connect with friends, family and colleagues, past and present, in and beyond Kenya, on Facebook.
Its no wonder that Facebook and other social networks are some of the most highly trafficked web sites in Kenya. As of June 2009, according to web ranking service Alexa, the most popular social networks in Kenya by overall web traffic:
Based on these statistics, it goes to show the increasing importance of social networks for a variety of reasons in Kenya. One of these reasons could be that social networks act as platforms for publishing and distributing internet content that hereto had been a cumbersome, costly and highly proprietary process. At the same time, social networks in Kenya have become key channels for marketing services locally, as well as communicating directly with a broad range of parties. Lastly, social networks give us a voice that can be heard, wide and loud, on a broad range of Kenyan issues and topics, enabling us to trigger and engage in online conversations. In a nutshell, social networks are fast becoming Kenya’s preferred online destinations for these reasons.