What Elon Musk’s Twitter Takeover Means For Kenyan Brands
I am proud to say like many of my friends, I have been using Twitter to keep up to date with news, business trends and the world for the past few years and I love it! I don’t actively tweet though from time to time I get a case of “twitter fingers” and share my thoughts with the world or see something moving like #JusticeForSheila that I have to do something about or support in a way. I love how bold, and unafraid many of us are to express ourselves there (probably cause a lot of us hide behind pseudo accounts 😜) and unlike Instagram and TikTok, its more about our opinions and insights vs. our appearances as human beings.
Kenya is one of the most active countries globally when it comes to Twitter with over 1.35 million active users who have made a huge impact thus far. From making our very own President to shy away from the platform to changing how many local brands offer support, Kenyans On Twitter (KOT) have redefined how we as a nation engage with our leaders, express ourselves and do business. We occasionally feud with other countries (mostly South Africa and Nigeria), call out the government, and keep businesses and service providers like KPLC on their toes.
Elon’s Dynamic Plans For Twitter & The Future of Free Speech
Elon Musk is no stranger to pioneering bold business decisions, and his historic Twitter takeover is no less exciting than his accomplishments at Pay Pal, Tesla and Space X. For a long time, he openly challenged some of the core aspects of the world’s most popular micro-blogging sites, primarily the importance of an edit button, the negative impact of banning or censorship vs. the importance of free speech and making the code open sourced.
“Having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. I don’t care about the economics at all
Elon Musk, TED 2022
In his a highly informative discussion with the Head of TED, the charming Chris Anderson, he opened up about the importance of letting people speak freely within the bounds of the law. There are limitations on free speech across the world and according to the world’s richest man, Twitter must abide by them. Musk believes that we should live in a world where even the people we don’t like get the opportunity to make statements despite what we may feel and I couldn’t help but partly agree.
Not Everyone Deserves to Be On Twitter or Social Media For That Matter
My reasons being despite how awesome KOT may be, people and brands alike have faced serious cyber-bullying over the last couple of years on the platform and despite having the Data Protection Act and other avenues, very little is done in reality to protect both people and business from some of the negativity masquerading under the banner of free speech. I think that letting accounts like Amerix reign free, sends a wrong message on the type of platform Twitter is and what the new Twitter may seek to represent.
If we can regulate who can own property, weapons, tools…if we can regulate who can and cannot drive, then we as a society should be able to regulate who can and cannot be on social media. Elon finds permanent bans, like the one given to former US President Trump as too extreme, I think not. People like Trump and Amerix who underestimate the impact of their online voices and how what they tweet can cause actual harm to the rest of the world, shouldn’t be allowed to the opportunity to continue causing harm unless they can actively demonstrate change. When the harm outweighs the good, the well being of the general masses should always come first.
The End of Twitter Bots & A New Era of Twitter Advertising
Not all bots are bad but the reality is most of them are and make life much harder for advertisers everywhere. Twitter has been unsuccessfully fighting bots and the inevitable growth of dark social data for years, with upwards of US$ 23 Billion a year being lost to ad fraud by bots. Elon has been quite vocal and passionate about the abolishment of bots and the verification of all human users and how harmful they are to the product in general. If he is able to pull this off, then Social Media Advertisers everywhere will be able to guarantee much better ROAS for brands and businesses.
Twitter is one of the most underutilized platforms for digital media buying in Kenya, with Twitter’s ad reach in the country being equivalent to only 2.4% of the current population vs. Meta’s 17.9% on Facebook and 10.7% on Instagram. The reality is that running ads on Meta platforms is cheaper and has more reach but where Twitter pulls ahead is in the quality of it’s audience. Twitter has become a second home to Kenya’s middle-class and elite with majority of active users being highly educated, working professionals with significant spending power. They use the platform to keep up and wind down.
For local businesses, the value and importance of social-media fueled leads from platforms like Twitter has a direct impact on revenue growth, especially in these current economic times. The destruction of bots will hopefully mean, bringing businesses, especially SMEs closer to potential customers and enable more brands to get more accurate insights on their audiences and audience behaviors.
I applaud Elon for making the bold change and can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Do you think Twitter is going to change for the better? I do!
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