In Kenya when one thinks Twitter, one thinks global trending topics from the positive to the downright absurd. Twitter has been used for advocacy during such campaigns as Kenyans4Kenya in 2012 as a rallying call for donations to alleviate starvation in Turkana.
In September 2013 following the attack on Westgate by al Shabaab, Kenyans using the hash tag We Are One rallied for unity amidst threats to national security. These are but two incidents where the positive influence of the social media platform has been felt.
Inversely, it is through the same social media platform that Kenyans are known to get carried away, rallying behind hash tags at the slightest of provocations. Such hash tags as Someone tell Nigeria, Someone tell South Africa and Someone tell TD Jakes have been nothing more than the Kenyan Twitterati blowing misunderstandings well out of proportion.
In all these instances the far reaching effects of Twitter as a tool of communication in the Kenyan setting has been undeniable with such hash tags as We Are One receiving media coverage among global news corporations as CNN and BBC.
Surprisingly though, only about 227,000 Twitter accounts of the 650,000 accounts in Kenya are responsible for all the 'noise' associated with Kenyans on Twitter (KOT). This is according to a joint report released by Digital Rand and Bloggers Media Ltd, both Kenyan companies, which states that about 65 per cent of Twitter accounts in the country are dormant.
The report which places Twitter as the third most popular social media platform after Facebook and LinkedIn with 3.8 million and 1.5 million users respectively says that to date, Kenyans have posted 300 million tweets.
The report further states that Twitter is more popular as a mobile application than a web-based app with the Android version of the app being the most used mobile app.
Interesting to note is that 74 per cent of all Twitter accounts in the country belong to Nairobi residents which translates to 481,000 accounts in the capital. A further 11 per cent of Kenyan tweeps, about 71,500, live in the Diaspora.
The report says that to date, slightly over 300 million tweets have been posted by Kenyans on Twitter and that of this, only 102 million tweets have had hash tags.
The report concludes by saying that the 650,000 Kenyan Twitter accounts have almost 200 times that number following them which means that each Kenyan Twitter account has an average of 200 followers. Kenyans on Twitter are themselves cumulatively following about 50 million unique Twitter accounts. That is to say on average KOT follow 89 users per account. Twitter usage peaked between 2012 and 2013 according to the report.