- Kenyans on Twitters (#KOT) were like squiddies, those frightening multi-tentacled metal creatures in The Matrix films.
- Kenyan Twitter has shifted in several ways, that shine the light on the wider changes in political formation in Kenya.
- Clearly a lot of the fun, and clever material, has now migrated to WhatsApp.
Until about 2014, Kenya Twitter used to be easily the loudest and most lively in Africa. Kenyans on Twitters (#KOT) were like squiddies, those frightening multi-tentacled metal creatures in The Matrix films.
They would set upon foreign “forces of darkness” with a vengeance whenever they offended Kenyan sensibilities, and often the wounded enemy had no option but to retreat.
When it comes to sheer anger and fury, South African Twitter today probably takes the continental gold medal. Kenyan Twitter has shifted in several ways, that shine the light on the wider changes in political formation in Kenya.
Today, one of the biggest topics is one you couldn’t have wagered on just five years ago — Kenya’s debt.
#KOT gets very worked up about the spectre of Kenya overburdened by debt and in hock to the Chinese. That partly reflects the success of people like economist David Ndii in breaking down the debt question “for Wanjiku”. Partly, though, it reflects a higher-mindedness among sections of #KOT.
But these two trends are probably about only about 35 per cent. The rest is still a snake pit, but that 35 per cent is still a good story.
There has been a very sharp drop in delightful and tongue-in-cheek hashtags, the one thing people not just in Kenya, but other parts of the world used to look to.
Some of the reasons for that Kenya Twitter is one of the best examples you will find in how successfully organised social, economic, and political groups have mobilised and seized control of the loyalties of social media users.
The rise of wealthy pastors and prophets, for example, led to an equal emergent in strident attacks on perceived religious quacks, con men and women in godly robes, and other peddlers of miracles.
Then the pastors struck back, turning their flock into radical digital armies waging war against infidels. Additionally, to promote their crusades.
There were long periods when the trending topics were nothing else but the vilification of prophets or their critics.