Kenya is recognized as an ICT hub in Sub-Saharan Africa with innovations such as Mpesa. Over the recent past, internet penetration within the region has greatly increased thus enhancing access. The internet is a key innovation that has shrunk the limitations of time, space and distance. Globally, the internet has revolutionized the way we communicate at the social level, the way organizations conduct their businesses, the way non-governmental organizations lobby for their respective interests and the way governments deliver public service. The internet disruption has overtime created opportunities for the different entities such as e-commerce, enhanced efficiency and effectiveness but in the same vein, caused challenges such as information security, online identity theft and plagiarism to mention but a few.
According to a recent study by Jumia Business Intelligence and GSM Technologies, sixty seven percent of Kenyans use the internet while two in every three Kenyans have access to the internet. However, the enhanced access to the internet in Africa has not been matched with localized content generation. This notwithstanding Kenyans are notably heavy consumers of the internet particularly in accessing social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, whatsapp, Instagram and You-tube. Therefore, a substantial part of the Kenyan population and more so the millennials use the internet for social purposes including connecting and sharing messages with friends and colleagues.
However, the millenials in Kenya need to understand that the internet is regarded as the new oil in the cyberspace. It should thus be exploited to demystify their stories of plight and successes. There are far too many times that the millenials have been discussed by analysts in bad light but with the internet, they have an opportunity to author their stories using their own words and perspectives. As the world edges more towards knowledge based economies, Africa and indeed Kenya should not be left behind in generating content made in Africa and suited to the context and circumstances of the continent.
Online entrepreneurship is one of the budding activities that the youth have adopted in this regard. Selling of goods and services online, academic and article writing have been sustaining some of the economies within Nairobi and Kiambu Counties. Generation of content is an untapped avenue that can be used by the many young and unemployed Kenyan graduates to make ends meet besides enhance their knowledge and skills in their fields of study. The basic resources needed to start are a personal computer and internet access for purposes of research.
Blogs are some of the major platforms for personal content generation and allow knowledge sharing. Blogging about one’s area of study does not necessitate starting with a website as that may require substantial capital. One can start by developing content and uploading it on free platforms such as LinkedIn and Blogger. LinkedIn is a professional social media platform that aims at connecting the varied professionals as well as those looking for jobs with potential employers. Blogging is bound to enhance one’s opportunity in landing a job. This is because most organizations do a background check and having meaningful content online catapults your C.V. and chances of employment.
The blogging culture in Kenya is in its nascent stages and is especially being spearheaded by the young generation. However, majority of the successful blogs tend to focus on the fashion and entertainment industries and less on academia. Academic blogging in Kenya is terribly low yet Kenya is considered to be among the most learned countries. This can be attributed to our education system that does not encourage lifelong and in-depth learning and instead emphasizes on academic achievement based on the grades scored in exams. To this end, majority of the students read to pass exams and once that is done books cease to be a cause of interest or concern.
Therefore, most students and graduates are not cultured to read for the pleasure of learning, accumulating knowledge and keeping in touch with the current developments in their area of study. As such, very few graduates will endeavor to generate content online and spend endless hours researching. On the other hand, those who have the zeal to take up the challenge may be curtailed by poor internet connection, lack of the requisite finances, Self-doubt and lack of role models to guide them through the uncharted waters.
To change the culture more professionals need to start sharing their knowledge and expertise on the internet through developing of articles, blogging and creating purposive and meaningful online chatrooms where they can share and mentor young people joining their respective careers. This will create avenues for knowledge creation and sharing. For the young and unemployed graduates it will create platforms for continued knowledge acquisition. Additionally, the jobless can blog on their experiences as job seekers, vent their frustrations and position their brand in their respective fields of study by developing professional content. For purposes of learning, you can visit www.bakeawards.co.ke to review some of the reputable and recognized blogs in Kenya. But remember, we all have a story to tell and unless we share it, we shall take it to our graves and miss the opportunity to impact someone else’s life. Therefore, take a leap of faith and start the journey with me you never know where the tide will take you.