Social Media Lessons from the Tweeting Kenyan Village Administrator, Chief Kariuki
Chief Kariuki‘s story has been told and retold. It is story which was first told worldwide by the international media before the local mainstream media got hold of it.
There are a few social media lessons I have learnt from Chief Kariuki’s story;
You Don’t Have to Be Tech Savvy to Use Social Media – Chief Kariuki is someone you would consider not to be tech savvy. He is a simple former primary school teacher turned village administrator using a very low end mobile phone which is not even GPRS capable to tweet. He uses TXT to twitter feature to share messages on social media.
You Don’t Need a Smartphone to Use Social Media – Chief Kariuki communicates using Text to Twitter meaning that he only need to send SMS to 8988 to communicate through Twitter. Safaricom and Airtel Kenya charges just one shilling for that. What can replace Chief Kariuki’s current communication method is Premium SMS. It would be so expensive and so would lock out many poor villagers. Facebook Zero and SMS to Twitter are just godsend.
The administrator recently lost his phone recently, a Nokia C3
I have lost my precious phone Nokia c3 between Kenyatta n Umoja 11.kindly if you find let me know.I really need it for my job. Thanks
— ChiefFrancis Kariuki (@Chiefkariuki) March 24, 2012
Nokia delayed maintaining their long time client, Samsung jumped to the occasion and quickly replaced the lost handset
— Alfred Nganga (@Alfienganga) March 28, 2012
I now understand why Chief Kariuki is not using his Samsung smartphone since he still does it his usual way, through text.
Communicate in a Language Relevant to Your Target Audience – Mistakes people make on social media is always trying to please everyone. Chief Kariuki’s story is unique because he communicated in his subjects lingo. He does not need to have some fakery to communicate. The administrator uses one shilling to communicate to over 7,000 households. With an average of 3 people in an household, he gets to more than 21,000 with every tweet.
You will always see Chief Kariuki say things like,
Nimepata viti 7 za kanisa ya Toba pale Poda Mali town . Bado tunafuata zilezingine 40.
Social Media Saves Lives – Chief Kariuki has foiled a robbery, rescued the dying and even beaten criminals using nothing but Twitter. Be ashamed if you have not used social media for anything positive.
Chief kariuki yesterday spoke to Judy Kosgey of Citizen TV, check out the video below