Field Notes on Social Media in Kenya

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  • With the rapid adoption of mobile phones in Africa, social media has suddenly enabled ordinary citizens to engage public figures directly. This has led to tremendous change in public life. Public institutions are benefiting from the increased participation of ordinary Africans in the political process. Social media has also led to some negative unintended consequences. Kenya has been a leader in the spread both of mobile phone and social media use in Africa.The research found evidence that social media is empowering ordinary Kenyans to shape public institutions. The research found that those public figures and institutions that had adapted to the new digitised environment were influencing public discourse more effectively in their favour. It also found that a new class of Kenyans—the digital citizens—had greater influence with policymakers, and had an enhanced capacity to influence support or lack thereof for the latter at the grassroots.

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  • Copyright © 2015 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2015


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