BY Sandra Appiah, 12:00am April 05, 2011,

Social Networking: The Influence on the Emerging Market Countries

 You never know how utterly obsolete the norms of old are becoming in today’s world of tomorrow. First off let me state that I get no benefits or royalties from telecommunication pioneers for posing these questions contained below. It is just inexplicable how endearing the number of friends acquired on social networks or the number of status updates that people can relate to has become to our generation.

Old fashioned it may seem, but what happened to the wordplay that made day-to-day interaction an ever evolving mystery? This is an imperative conversation to have now that facebook has reached the coveted half a billion mark. Hollywood is focusing on the subject and all kinds of controversies/claims have arisen for the ownership of social networks. It is vital that we assess the impact of social networks on the emerging market, especially on AFRICA.

As of April 2009 Market share of social networking pioneers across the African continent.

Documentation Vs Word of Mouth

Even from a cultural point of view Africans are a very oral people. On average, a top memory in our lives would be remembering tales by moonlight or some sort of outdoor education that had nothing do to with notes, boards, or a lifetime of preparation. All you needed was an open mind and seemingly the wisdom of ages was transferred through generational gaps, clearly the first indication that downloads would one day be possible. To this day you get a sense that culture is deeply engrained in the African spirit not because we do not see the benefit of documentation, but because we believe exclusivity is quite a virtue. Everything is strictly on a need to know basis. Access and privileges are dependent on importance and ability to use that information effectively.

Playing catch up

What is the continent of Africa really doing in relation to other parts of the world that have quickly adopted social networking as a second nature? Are we keeping up with the trends or are the opponents outweighing the proponents? One gets the sense that we are torn; somewhere between the best of both worlds.

Of the 500 Million users currently recorded, it is estimated that ~5 Million users can be attributed to the African continent. This record actually shows significant progress from the previously registered 2 Million users in May 2009. We can say that this almost 150% increase is a result of the massive wave sweeping across the continents; long lost friends are getting found, stories are being told, and experiences are being shared at a fair rate of knots. Social networking has seemingly done what email has struggled to do in its almost 10 years head start.

The divide

Steeped in all that makes Africa beautiful is the gift that makes it one of the world’s untold never-ending stories. Our languages and cultures are our own innate social networking platforms that ultimately un-friend any unwanted outsiders, unlike any hint of ethnocentricity, and untag images designed to show our continent in the wrong light.

There’s always an argument for both cases. At first glance it looks like the age old scenario of preservation versus contamination. Which ever way the ethical compass flickers through I get the sense that it would find its moral North at some middle ground that would show the much needed enhancement in today’s human interaction.

Where do we draw the line? At what point does blogging meet TMI (Too Much Information)? Do we still have control over our interactions? Does Social Networking make or break the African experience? What are your perceived limitations to Africa Catching the social networking bug?

Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates