South Africa Dominates African Twitterverse

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | @ChiefK.Masimba | April 14, 2014

Africa’s richest country, South Africa, dominated conversation on the social networking platform, Twitter, while football was the most discussed topic in the last quarter of 2013 according to a recent study.

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Twitter.com Stock Seen As Overrated

By Masimba Biriwasha | Global Editor At Large | December 30 2013 | @ChiefKMasimba

The 140 character-limit micro-blogging platform, Twitter, which launched on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to much aplomb in November has been in the news headlines recently for being overrated with its rise seen as largely a product of speculation.

There are fears among analysts that the company’s shares, currently trading at $60.27, are overpriced. Twitter’s stock has been on an upward trend ever since it went public on November 6 at $26, reaching a high of $74 before taking a huge shed.

“At $45 billion, the company may have the highest market value of any firm that isn’t generating any earnings since the dotcom bubble of 1999-2000,” New York Times quoted Barron’s, an investment advisory publication.

It is estimated that are 230 million active users on Twitter who post an average of 500 million Tweets every day but questions abound over its rating ahead of other tech companies with more robust models.

“Twitter, which has triple-digit revenue growth but no profits is trading at a much higher valuation than proven Internet powerhouses like Facebook and Google. The company has released no major news or financial information since its initial public offering that would shape invest or perceptions about the company,” New York Times reported.

Because Twitter is mobile friendly, there are expectations that it will benefit “from the shift of the Internet use to mobile devices and the migration of television advertising budgets to the Internet.” There is expectation that Twitter’s best days are still ahead; it is regarded as a potential advertising behemoth.

Created in 2006, Twitter is a global real-time communications platform with 400 million monthly visitors to twitter.com.  With that number of users and growing daily, Twitter is sitting on a goldmine, that is, if it can deliver advertising in a way that does not irk its huge user base.

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Retired General Solomon Mujuru’s Death Lights Up Social Media

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

Harare, Zimbabwe – Once again, social media and mobile telephony makes the news for breaking the news.

Early Tuesday, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, were abuzz with news of Retired General Solomon Mujuru’s death. Mujuru, who was 62, died in a fire accident at his home.

Social networks carried vital information to Zimbabweans both locally and abroad ahead of traditional news outlets.  Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, had by mid-morning updated its profile on Mujuru to indicate that he had died.

If anything, this proves that social networks and the mobile have indeed come to Zimbabwe in a big way, and will increasingly become a source of local news developments.

The news went viral as people shared news via their mobiles phones and on social media platforms.

By mid-morning, the national broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, had not yet carried news of Mujuru’s death, prompting some people to question its news-gathering approach.

With technology and news in the digital age spreading information so quickly, the broadcast network was rather slow to fill the information gap.

Regardless, the news spread like wildfire across the twittersphere and of course on to Facebook, with many Zimbabweans expressing shock, commenting and sharing the sad news.

Reporting on Mujuru’s death confirms that conventional news media in Zimbabwe have to position themselves appropriately in relation to the social networks and mobile phones to report news.

However, even though people heard the news of Mujuru’s death on social networks, they still wanted the information to be verified. Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks encourage people to speculate.

As much as they can be a source of news, social networks can be a repository for false or misleading reports.

What is required is for conventional news outlets to leverage on the power of social networks without compromising traditional journalism principles such as accuracy, brevity, objectivity and fairness.

In the face of social networks’ ubiquitous distribution of news that maybe false or true, traditional news outlets still have a key role to play in providing investigation and context into issues.

Solomon Mujuru, also known as Rex Nhongo (May 1, 1949 – August 16, 2011) was a Zimbabwean military officer and politician who led Robert Mugabe‘s guerrilla forces during the Rhodesian Bush War.

In post-independence Zimbabwe, he went on to become army chief before leaving government service in 1995. After leaving his post in the Zimbabwe National Army, he got into politics becoming Member of Parliament for Chikomba on a Zanu PF ticket. He was generally regarded as one of the most feared men in Zimbabwe. His wife, Joyce Mujuru, became Vice-President of Zimbabwe in 2004.

Are Social Network Followers A Mere Fallacy?

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

Because social networks are largely fickle, it’s very difficult to tell how much influence you have on people that like or follow your postings.

Having loads of followers on Twitter or Facebook or any other social network does not automatically translate to high levels of influence, according to a new research titled, “Measuring User In?uence in Twitter: The Million Follower Fallacy.”

Just like individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations across the world have jumped onto the social media bandwagon all with the aim of influencing in an already information overloaded universe. According to the study, influence is not gained spontaneously or accidentally, but through concerted effort such as limiting tweets to a single topic.

This is poignant: what this means is that rapid updating of content on social networks does not always translate to influence. Often times such postings go unnoticed and make little to no impact. Posting links after links is as spammy as sending emails after emails for link exchange. Social media is about engagement, just like we do in real life.

Another thought is that social media ought to be fun, and thereby evolve organically. However when you wan to add value or when your intention is to seek to influence than you have to be aware of the challenges associated with using social media.

The conversational or content-driven strategies in Twitter, Facebook and other social networks are not enough in creating influence. According to the research, there are three interpersonal ways that Twitter can be used to influence, and these include: a) users interact by following updates of people who post interesting; b) users can pass along interesting pieces of information to their followers, an action known as retweeting; and c) users can respond to (or comment on) other people’s
tweets.

The research states that in order to gain and maintain influence, users need to keep great personal involvement. As social media guru, Brian Solis notes, the path to engagement is strenuous, uncharted, and anything but easy.

“Everything begins with understanding the magnitude of the gap and what it is that people want, are missing or could benefit from in order to bring both ends toward the middle. No matter how hard we try, we just can’t build a customer-centric organization if we do not know what it is people value,” says Solis.

” Social media are your keys to unlocking the 5I’s of engagement to develop more informed and meaningful programs: 1. Intelligence – Learn about needs, wants, values, challenges; 2. Insight – Find the “aha’s” to identify gaps; 3. Ideation – Inspire new ideas for engagement, communication, new products/services, change; 4. Interaction – Engage…don’t just publish, bring your mission to life; 5. Influence – Influence behavior and in the process, become an influencer,” he adds.

According to Solis, social media doesn’t have to be void of “fun”; it must offer value and usefulness to be successful.

Why Social Media Matters?

Social media has indeed transformed the way we communicate. But, in Africa, we still need a critical mass of people that can make the medium work to represent our own voices. Check out the video-blog below for some quick tips. Its really cool: