Twitter is a micro blogging site that allows you to answer questions like “how are you?”, “Where have you been?”, “When are the #notw (News of The world) bosses being questioned?” by sending short text messages in only 140 characters in length called tweets to your followers. Your tweets are displayed on your profile page, on the home page of each of your followers.
While the rest of the world has really taken to twitter, Africa is still lagging behind. Don’t give me the excuse of having no internet connection (this goes out to you who has the connection) If you are able to access facebook, you will be able to access twitter. Some African countries are really out there voicing their opinions and others are not. I tweeted this yesterday after noticing that not many Rwandese are on twitter and like many others if they are, they just open an account and never use it. “I love seeing how other nationalities in Africa are really taking to twitter … voices are being heard! Where are the Rwandese??? *smh*” (smh – shaking my head). When I used to tweet for @BeautyofRwanda, I constantly used the hashtag #OnlyOneBasket. (A hashtag (#) is used when you want to mark a key word or topics in a tweet) @BeautyofRwanda’s hashtag tells you of the campaign to help women in Rwanda who are weaving baskets in order to get themselves and their children out of poverty. It made people want to know more about the campaign which is what I wanted in the first place.
Voices are being heard through twitter even though the governments and other organisations might not do much about it but at least there is a platform to voice your concerns. Oh! There was Egypt…remember? I now know that #umeme from Uganda is really pissing people off. I get to read the funniest tweets about this topic but I would like to see the end of it because I know that Ugandans are not happy about the electricity load shedding happening in their country. What is going to be done about that? Many wonder. I also now know #malema, one of the topics in South Africa. I didn’t know who he was or what he was about but twitter made it my business to know. One cannot also forget that earlier this year when #Jan25 was the hot topic worldwide. I followed the Egyptian revolution via my time line on twitter from anywhere I was as long as I had access to the internet. Amazing!
“Twitter provides relief from rising email and IM fatigue”
Yesterday 02 of August, I came across a hashtag that Kenyans are using to highlight the plight of the famine in their country – #Kenya4Kenyans. If you follow that hashtag or any other, you get to find out what people are saying about that particular topic. The Kenyan hashtag has united Kenyans and is helping raise funds to help those facing imminent death due to the famine. You get to find out where and how to send donations and lots more. Kenyans should be proud of themselves because I, Africa and the rest of the twitter world are proud of you!
What I am trying to get at here is that we Africans have been given a platform where anyone anywhere in the world is capable of reading your tweet and replying to it. Taking advantage of this tool should be a priority. Only we can help ourselves. While some are using this platform to personally promote themselves without engaging with their followers others are putting it to good use. We are being provided with information that is good for us, however bad it might be, as long as it’s in the public interest then we want to know. Instead of sitting there moaning about this and that, get out there and do something about it. If you don’t tweet about it we won’t know that it is bothering you. It might as well not exist!