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Kenya’s emerging digital elite.

Yesterday evening, I had the opportunity to attend the BBC Digital Planet Tweetup at Jacaranda Hotel’s Pizza Garden (Thanks to Gareth and Michelle of the BBC). I got there fairly late but was amazed to find an interesting lot of people from all walks of life who had answered the “tweet” to attend. Now, here’s the thing, the meet up or more specifically the “Tweetup” was organized (as its name implies) almost exclusively using Twitter (unless you have been under a rock for the last couple of years, I presume you know what Twitter is?).

The folks who showed up for the Digital Planet Tweetup we’re an eclectic mix from all sorts of backgrounds, ages, races, etc. However, the one thing that was common to all of them is that this lot was the most digitally connected group of people you could possibly hang out with on Kenya. They are people who live on Twitter, Blog regularly and Facebook incessently. They are “switched on” Kenyans who drive online conversations, day in and day out, on a myriad of issues. Some we’re students, some we’re techies, others we’re scientists, lawyers, doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs, etc – they ran the whole gamut.

Kenya’s digital elite are in a world of their own (literally!) as they live a good part of their daily lives online. They (mobile) tweet on the move, they blog when a burning issue captures their attention, they have thousands of followers on the web and they shape views on many of the issues affecting Kenya today, through the Internet. They say what cannot be said in mainstream media and they are not shy about it. They are the Kenyan digital elite and they are a fast growing class that will ultimately influence Kenya’s social-economic future.

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7 Comments

  1. September 13, 2009 at 6:19 am — Reply

    Hi Moses. I hear that this was also circulated on Digital Planets FB page which I don’t follow but they had 300 people sign up to attend – far fewer showed up – perhaps when they realised the beer was a Dutch affair… he he he

  2. September 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm — Reply

    Hey Moses,Paula
    We did not know about it either. We’d be happy to attend the next such do. Funny thing, we’ve been in and out of Jacaranda this last week, banging our heads on the low-hanging trusses at the pool bar.

  3. Kevin
    September 13, 2009 at 7:11 pm — Reply

    I think you are over-estimating the power of the web.

    In my own experience, I have found that the majority of Kenyans, who also matter, don’t care about twitter, facebook or myspace. They are faceless when it comes to the web but they are a very powerful demographic.

    I call them the unsophisticated internet users. An untapped, and usually underserved, market.

  4. September 14, 2009 at 9:31 am — Reply

    @paula.I did see the FB page for the Tweetup but I think it went up the same day so no one really knew about it. @Ibrahim you missed a nice evening! Maybe next time then?

  5. September 14, 2009 at 10:01 am — Reply

    @kevin.I see your point. But what I was trying to point out is that there is a digital elite in Kenya. These are not ordinary folk in Kenya. They are hyper-connected digitally. They are small as a group but will start growing at an amazing pace. I see a scenario of the digitally affluent and digitally poor – its already happening. I hope you see my point now?

  6. September 14, 2009 at 10:59 am — Reply

    Good post, Moses. Spot on, I think.

    A highlight that just makes me laugh was all of us oodling at @Mwirigi’s e63 and his apps, etc.

    We are the future.

    @Paula – you know Kenyans – they probably arrived from 11:30PM :/

    • September 17, 2009 at 5:30 am — Reply

      @Mark indeed! I had no idea my (now) lowly e63 still had so much potential. I downloaded the new apps and I am thrilled to get more utility out of it. Next stop, lets do local digital elite gatherings and share more experiences and insights.

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