The KPLC Blackout, Twitter, Facebook and Safaricom.

Last night was indeed interesting on many levels. There was a countrywide blackout in Kenya from around 6.00 pm to around 11.00 pm. Since I was sitting in the dark at home for most of the time, the first thing I did was whip out my smart phone and decided to get on Twitter and Facebook via Safaricom’s 3G connection that was working in spite of the blackout. In a matter of seconds, I had replies that it was not just in Westlands and Kileleshwa that had a blackout but that it was indeed countrywide! This is kind of “peculiar” since even though I did not have access to television or radio the whole time, here I was able to get the latest news via the Internet on Twitter and Facebook on the extensive Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) blackout. It was Citizen Journalism at its best! I soon found out that Mombasa, Busia and Nakuru we’re also in the dark as Facebook and Twitter users living there replied. It was also kind of hilarious since some people added some humor to the whole matter by suggesting babies would be born 9 months from now since the blackout left couples with nothing better to do than make out in the dark! Whatever the case, it goes to show that the Internet is truly mainstream in Kenya, even when there is no electricity, but Safaricom, Twitter and Facebook are still online!

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  1. Justin
    November 2, 2009 at 2:41 am — Reply

    Thank God that Safaricom can afford to have backup generators. I’d have been lost without their services yesternight.

  2. ZED
    November 7, 2009 at 5:19 pm — Reply

    Moses, I was thinking about this post last night when I was listening to radio on my ipod touch. I had downloaded a very cool app that allowed streaming of radio over the internet. Naturally, I searched for Kenyan radio stations and lo and behold I got Capital and Homeboyz radio. At that very moment I felt that the internet, radio in particular, had given me an experience similar to when I was growing up in Nairobi with one TV channel (tv usually started in the afternoon at around 5pm) and we had to depend on the radio for news and most of all sports (football). What a feeling!!!. Interesting enough, I found myself living my experience through radio again but over the internet…..how amazing!!!!

  3. November 7, 2009 at 10:27 pm — Reply

    Its interesting that the telcoms were all up and running even though everything else was out. Shows who is really investing in infrastructure in Kenya.
    .-= Wayan´s last blog ..Inspiring Women in ICT for Development =-.

  4. November 8, 2009 at 2:22 am — Reply

    @justin – yes it seams Safaricom have put in all the measures to ensure reliable services. However, ironically, they went down for a few hours in the early part of last week so its not a perfect scenario for sure!

    @ZED – Oh yes! I remember the deays of VOK and waiting for TV to start broadcasting every afternoon! Its amazing how things have changed. Its interesting though that the Internet and Mobile Technology could go so mainstream in Kenya that we stop using analogue technologies altogether. I think its just a matter of time

    @Wayan – Safaricom has BIG pockets. They can keep things running, rain or shine. I think what is more significant is that they have planned well so that they rarely have major outages. KPLC could borrow a leaf…

  5. November 9, 2009 at 8:24 pm — Reply

    You didn’t mention, but was voice working as well or only data?
    .-= Wayan´s last blog ..Inspiring Women in ICT for Development =-.

  6. November 11, 2009 at 6:17 am — Reply

    @wayan voice and data we’re working just fine during the blackout.
    .-= Moses Kemibaro´s last blog ..JKUAT/MIT AITI-x Day and Technology Entrepreneurship. =-.

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