Kenya’s own social networker joins the game

By Fredrick Obura

Different websites are now developed to tap into the power of online social networking, at least for the current generation’s social benefit.

Alternatively, such websites could be strategic if properly used in linking up small and medium-sized organisations, more so those that lack adequate budget to reach a wider clientele.

"Iborian.com is a Kenyan social network modelled to help individuals connect on a one-on-one level and on the wider sense reaching out to the international community, it offers the thrills of social networking like instant messaging, forums, blogging and online games," says Mr Kennedy Kachwanya the site’s co-founder.

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The site allows users to identify and connect with friends and strangers, while at the same time giving them access to their profiles.

"The communication channel used allows site visitors to reconnect with past friends for instance schoolmates, soul mates or business partners and seal a deal," he says.

Functions

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Users can upload a picture of themselves, create a profile and can often be friends with other users. Both the users confirm their friendship before they are linked up.

"Much has been said about foreign social network like Facebook, but when it comes to Iborian there is a local connection, feel and sense of belonging. The constant discussions, interactive online games, the status updates and the forum posts keep iborian more exciting," he adds.

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"It is free to users. A user can create profiles including photos and lists of personal interests, exchange private or public messages, and join groups of friends. The viewing of detailed profile data is restricted to users from the same network or confirmed friends," says Kachwanya.

Software

The technology used allows updates from contributors and subscribers to happen in real-time, thereby providing site visitors with the most current content possible. Other social networking sites have news feeds which appear on every user’s homepage and highlights information including profile changes, upcoming events, and birthdays related to the user’s friends.

"The site has features such as the ability to create groups that share common interests or affiliations, easy to upload live videos, internet mapping services to organise user participation around geographic features" he says. The site could also be accessed from the comfort of a user’s mobile phone.

"The technology used allow mobile phone owners to create their own profiles, make friends, participate in chat rooms, hold private conversations, share photos and videos," he adds.

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Benefits

Apart from the site’s social aspect, it is aimed at reaching every corner of the globe and to see Africa story being told in realistic sense by Africans themselves. The site generates revenue through advertising from interested companies, this includes the banner advertisements.

The current generation spends most of their time online. The group now use more time on the internet on social networks than any other form of media. Iborian social network has daily hits of about 150,000.

Companies on the other hand are now targeting social sites to promote their products, this is due to the fact that most people are able to remember advertisements in such networks and are likely to acquire purchasing decisions from these web portals.

"Social networks connect people at low cost; this can be beneficial for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to expand their contact base.

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The networks often act as a customer relationship management tool for companies selling products and services.

Companies can also use social networks for advertising in the form of banners and text ads" he says and since businesses operate globally, social networks can make it easier to keep in touch with contacts around the world.

"Networking sites function as online meeting places for business and industry. People establish their real identity," he says.

Such individuals could interact with each other or within groups that share common business interests and goals. They can post own user generated content in the form of pictures, slide shows articles or videos.

Interaction

Interactive technology makes it possible for people to network with their peers from anywhere, at anytime in an online environment.

Professional network services attract, and assemble large business-focused audiences by creating informative and interactive meeting places.

"There is bigger and broader connection in www.iborian.com in the sense that it is not segmented and you can do more like chat, convey personal feelings, discuss or let your opinion be known to much bigger audience, somehow update your friends on what you are doing and where you are at any particular time" he says.

The site has forum with mature discussion from relevant experts. The forum shades light on what affect our daily lives.

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