Importance of Twitter in Africa

0
88

There is no doubt that Twitter is a global phenomenon; influencing politics and entertainment. To think that the company is only two years old, its truly inspiring.
For people who love live updates and with access to the internet, this is an awesome tool. For those in South Africa where the mobile device interface is active; am sure they are beyond happy.
But what about other countries where the internet has remained a dream? Where promises of true broadband have just been a disappointment? Where operators or companies are yet to see the need of delivering twitter updates to mobile phones? Maybe its just a case of making a business out of it.
I was happy to participate in a twitterthon championed by Computer Aid the other day. The drive was to raise the level of computer donations to Africa. The event achieved its objectives.
The most disturbing thing was that a friend of mine (I would like to think that way), wrote to me complaining that the computers are being dumped to Africa and that kind of thing. I wondered, whether that was the debate, as to whether the computers are being dumped or not, that is the responsibility of our governments to ensure that the machines are of higher standards. Kenya has imposed a 25% tax, Uganda, Zambia have banned but Rwanda is still receiving. After talking to several people in the rural areas who have been conned about the new computer schemes only to learn that they were refurbs, I like to steer clear of the debate and let the people decide. For instance; I talked to the principle at Kigari teachers college in Kenya about why they buy refurbs and she was in praise of the computer performance.
In Canada, the schools use refurbished computers, makes you wonder, how many rural schools or hospitals would be happy with that refurb. I guess the point is that the manufacturers should be made to open up recycling centers like they do in the west, then all the comps will be there.
Anyway, I digressed too much, the debate was about twitter.
How then can twitter be used to reach more people in Africa? It has to come with increased connectivity and increased awareness, that its not a tool for spreading rumors and malice but a constructive tool. You can imagine the power of twitter in a crisis situation like in Kenya last year with the post election violence.
The best thing about twitter is that you can share your thoughts, whether professional or just personal issues- it is the new way of people keeping in touch!
These are just random thoughts….