What I do on Social Media

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My name is Stephen Musyoka. Some of friends simple call me “Syoks.”

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I always wanted to be someone that creates stuff; someone who ignites conversations. I ended up studying journalism. This would lead me to some good years working at Nation Media Group as a writer for the now defunct Daily Metro, before joining Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) as a technician with the transmission department. I still love cables and cameras and all those machines. In addition, I was, for a brief moment, a reggae show radio presenter for a Kamba station!

In between doing the above, I was crowned King of Facebook by Safaricom, and this heralded a new dawn for me. It is safe to point out that this made me work, on an increased scale, with social media. I had initially worked with several friends to do activities online, from planning meet-ups to doing CSR stuff. Later, I joined Serena Hotels’ E-commerce department, worked for some years, and then worked for a digital agency my friends and I helped found a couple of years back.

Before social media became the ‘it’ way of life, I would be busy programming using COBOL and C++. As a matter of fact, I was exposed to technology at the age of 16 years! I sat for a computer paper in Form 4, and I remember my project work involved designing a system that would help dairy farmers manage their sales. I don’t know if I still have that diskette! It is unfortunate that I lost track of all that programming after the writer’s bug kicked in!

The first time I was exposed to communication via modern technology, is arguably the moment I opened my first email account, in the year 2001. Social media would follow years later. In between we had Kenyanlist, Mchongoano.com and the likes. Myspace was awesome as well. Kenyans would have fun in these chatrooms. I met a couple of people who are great friends to date. However, it was not until the Facebook and later on Twitter, that a new dawn in social media was announced.

My biggest challenge on the use of social media has to do with the dynamics seen in the Demographics- these millennials keep changing what they love and hate. The solution, nonetheless, is to keep digging and while at that, explore options that will be hot tomorrow. In my opinion social media should be looked at from the lens of Info-du-tainment-Inform people; Educate people, and at the same time provide entertainment

Social media has grown exponentially all around the country and the impact is there for all to see. Mashinani iko-look at the success of Chief Kariuki. Also the access has been improved thanks to low data costs and Mark Zuckerberg having a good plan. Everyone is online-government, corporates, and individuals. But, let’s also not be duped by the numbers. We all know what happened to a certain presidential candidate.

There is a lot of government on social media; too many accounts associated with government. On the first hand, this is healthy because access to the government is a tweet or a blog away. On the other hand, it is unhealthy because there is internet security to be considered. We all remember about the infamous ‘hacked accounts.’ Also the faces behind these accounts sometimes make a mess of themselves and end up making the government look very basic.

Life for me, has not always been about social media! Apart from arranging flowers on Saturday evenings for the Holy Mass on Sunday and writing pen-pal letters, I loved, growing up, to hike, write and draw.  Sportswise – Basketball and rugby made my days.  Soccer, not that much.

I grew up in Eastlands and trust me, the amount of craziness that I went through cannot be quantified. My friends and I would go fishing, sometimes without the knowledge of our parents. I cannot forget the hood fights as well!  All in all, I earned some scars, some pride, and most importantly, I learnt important lessons.

I thank my parents because were it not for their strict parenting, I could have easily been sucked up into untoward behavior precipitated by peer pressure. They kept my mind busy. At the age of 19 years I was helping my mum arrange files, do minutes, and so on. I also worked as an assistant secretary for our local church and on a part time basis, I worked as an attendant at a cyber-café helping clients open email accounts.

Currently I am researching on social media and Government and corporates. My message for the Kenyan youth, in the spirit of the Christmas festivities-get off your devices and say hello to your folks! Finally, my unsolicited advice is always, “roll with the punches. Keep discovering and Trying and Stay winning.”