Often times when the phrase social media is mentioned, Facebook, twitter, MySpace, instagram, WordPress and Blogger cloud the mind.
What boggles the mind is the history of social media dates way back to the postal service origins yet most of the sites listed above were never heard of till the 20th century.
The birth of Facebook as a college project in 2004 and Twitter, a micro-blogging platform in 2006 set a whole new dimension in the perception of online interactions and subsequently social media.
These developments presented with them an array of social, economic, political and religious glitches often disguised in hyped applause.
A Revolution Tool: As witnessed in the "fall of tyrants" in west African countries of Lybia (Muammar Ghadafi), Egypt (Hosni Mubarrak) among others, social media (specifically Facebook & Twitter) played a critical role in coordination of the protests that brought down governments that had for long been stable.
Today, the economies of these states are grappling due to political uncertainty turmoil that these spontaneous "revolutions" have resulted into. With their economics grappling, the standard and cost of living is high, unemployment is on the rise, the health sector is in ruins, investment has greatly depreciated and crime is on the increase.
Social Network: With the evolution of social media, staying in touch with long distanced relatives & pals is as easy as a click of a mouse-button; sounds exciting & too good to be true, doesn't it?
It however leaves a puzzle as to why one can be virtually close to a pal or relative overseas but has no idea that the person aboard the same matatu, seated next to her/him lives next door - is a neighbor.
The i-generation (previously the .com generation) is so preoccupied in typing away in smart phones and giggling to online humour to create a relationship with the community around him - a terrorist could be living next door.
Social life that existed pre-20th century does not exist anymore for gone are the days when neighbors got to know each other and discuss the community's social welfare over a mug of evening porridge; community development and its supervision has been abandoned to governments while citizens popularise, indirectly, their irresponsibility online e.g campaigns like #TGE - Tusaba Government Etuyambe (literary meaning "we plead with the Government to help us") in Uganda can be started over floods resulting from blockage of water gutters by poorly disposed off polythene.
Economy Booster: According to a survey done by the Kenya ICT Board, about 77% of Kenyans spend more time on Internet than on Radio, TV and Newspapers combined. These spend between KSH 500 - KSH 1,000 on internet access on a daily basis. Hold it there! Do your computation.... how much does the government get in form of taxes and how much does the "investor" take home as profit?
The statistics from the Kenya ICT board still indicate that about 62% of Kenyans access internet at least 5 times a day, 65% of Kenyans spend at least 1 hour daily on social media and majority of those use office internet - internet in their respective places of work, most of which do not deal in social media management or communications.
Going by these statistics, 65% of Kenyans could be spending at least 6 hours of their weekly productive time on social media sites and, if done in office, are misappropriating office resources: - you do realise that this is corruption, don't you? That is a whole new topic for another day.