Social media drives adoption of internet among teenagers in Kenya

Information and communication technology in developing countries is not as prevalent as in other more developed countries, but progress is starting to be made.  Internet usage levels are also being derived from multiple perspectives other then just business related.  This is now seen in Kenya.  The adoption of internet among teenagers in this country is being driven by social media.  An estimated million people now use social media in Kenya, such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.  It is the eagerness to interact in social media that drives the start of internet usage.  In contrast, past generations has used the incentive of opening email accounts for communication or to apply for jobs to make them start using the internet.

The Communication Commission of Kenya shows that there are currently 14.3 million internet users in Kenya, which increased from 12.5 million. Also, 36.3% of the population has access to the internet, increasing from 31.8%.  This growth is attributed to the spread of mobile phones throughout the country.

This is an example where social media plays a significant and positive role in ICT4D.  In the US, most people view social media outlets as a secondary function of the internet, but it has proven otherwise in places like Kenya.  The social media craze is also expected to significantly rise in number of users in the future. Promoting internet usage and access should be an important task for developing countries, especially to young generation locals.


6 responses to “Social media drives adoption of internet among teenagers in Kenya

  • hmfraser

    I have never thought of social media being an intensive strong enough to get people to start adapting internet technology (as you said it seems secondary to me), however I think growing internet usage is overall a good thing even if it is mostly to use these networking sites. And as we have discussed before in class, these sites can be used to share valuable information and encourage things like political action.

  • etherspace

    I would never have thought that facebook could be a driving force in development. It is very interesting case, although the power of social media in the lives of young people is not surprising. Anything that creates motivation for people to learn the use of a beneficial technology, should not be underestimated. Through the internet and perhaps even through Facebook itself, these young Kenyans can gain access to information and resources that could lead to the development of their country.

  • wstewar

    It is interesting because I was exposed to the internet long before social media such as facebook became popular. However, I do remember initial exposure to social media acting as an encouragement for my internet use. It started simply, as instant messenger, which was an exciting new way to talk to my friends. When myspace came out, it definitely was a fad. Today, the majority of time I spend online has some aspect of social media. Therefore it isn’t surprising to me that social media is encouraging teenagers across the world to pick up internet use.

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    […] them to more people than any technology other than the web, and in some cases has been the thing driving adoption of the internet […]

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    […] them to more people than any technology other than the web, and in some cases has been the thing driving adoption of the internet […]


    Though Facebook is a way of interacting among youths n even old fellows , it has proven to b very disastrous in their lives. This is coz they compromise their vital activities in lives in the name of chatting….oooh

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