On a night like this when sleep does not come easy, I find myself on Twitter, idly so. Not for anything but to just scan through what I missed while engaged at work - a bit counterproductive for someone who attempts to sleep train. But this has become a norm for months now.
Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) are an interesting lot. Actually, a day on Twitter is akin to a day in politics. So much can happen. Our emotions oscillate between extremes. There is collective anger, knowledge, pride, vicious arguments and humuor. The humour is my favourite. The jokes in there are hilarious, rib-cracking.
Relationships have also been forged on these platforms. Some have been broken too. And by relationships I mean all sorts; with politicians, strangers... It is a roller-coaster of sorts. What you serve is what you get, literally. If you serve bile you will get bucketful of that poured on you. Ditto love, friendship, courtesy, kindness and the usual political opinion.
Something interesting happened on this platform in the past few weeks. The emergence of Twitter Spaces. Tests have been done since December last year on a small scale as Twitter considers whether they will adopt the feature, which allows voice-enabled discussions. Now, users can congregate in a virtual room and have live discussions about anything and everything. One posts a topic then everything falls into place.
I have joined a number of spaces. An array of topics covered. They are such wide a range that at times it is hard to keep up. Three conversations have picked my interest. About 100 or more users are debating corruption and apportioning blame. Participants demystify the myth and put the blame squarely on every Kenyan. We take in too much. How much will it take for us to say enough is enough?
The next “virtual room” is animated in a debate on internship. KOT are divided on paid and unpaid internship, with nuggets of so-called wisdom from everyone; those that have already been there and some yet to yet to navigate the unfamiliar waters that is the job market. Another group has settled for a ‘softer’ subject; does money sway the power structure in relationships?
Whatever the topic, it is refreshing considering that KOT are extremely opinionated. This presents an excellent opportunity to engage in more personal ways on topics real people - not the politicians - actually care about. A reawakening of sorts. The best part is, nothing bars you from joining any discussion and topic.
What’s more, the few times I have joined Twitter Spaces as a listener, it felt as though I personally knew the speakers. The power of connection through voice cannot be understated. It’s different and certainly better.
I look forward to seeing how this pans out. How the force that is the millions of Kenyans on Twitter will turn this into big platforms for big conversations that shape public discourse and, in the end, push the growth agenda forward. Will it be a passing cloud or another game-changer in the dynamic digital world? Time will tell.