Social media in Zimbabwe has for years been commonly associated with Facebook to the extent that most ordinary people do not even understand other social media networks including Twitter. Could it be that it is complicated?
During a Social Media Bootcamp organised by Media Centre at Pandhari Hotel, NewsDay’s Online Editor,John Mokwetsi sparked debate among participants when he said, “Twitter was for elites”. Twitter has a totally new language of hash tags, DMs (direct messages) and retweets that makes it appear like a complicated tool.
Chido Musodza one of the participants dismissed the claims saying, “Twitter is not for intellectuals or elitists, more stupid things are said on twitter, people should not be intimidated by twitter, I leant on my own how to use twitter, just engage”.
Twitter is more functional on smart phones, thus the intellectuals are most likely to afford it, unlike the Zimbabwean majority who have phones that are not internet compatible.
“Facebook has a more casual feel”, said John Mokwetsi, being the reason why most people subscribe to it.
The 140 character limit is quite discouraging on twitter.
Nigel Mugamu the founder and host of 263Chat stated that twitter require instant and substantial comments.
Sir Nigel encouraged the participants which composed of journalists, activists and civil society representatives to play around twitter to get to understand it better to enhance their audience.
“Econet and Telecel need to have social media bundles that will increase the numbers that use twitter and other social network as YouTube, people would rather sign up for social media that is Facebook and Whatsapp because of the cheaper bundle tariffs”, highlighted Nigel.
Yesterday Econet Wireless through its official Twitter handle announced ,’Now you can access twitter for free for a month. Offer available to all Econet broadband customers’. This will encourage more people to participate on Twitter.
Facebook has been around for longer, 15 or more years, thus equals to more subscribers than twitter which is a new social media to the Zimbabweans .
‘People freely express their selves on twitter than on Facebook when it comes to political issues, said Nigel the founder of 263Chat.
Privilege Musvanhiri, online editor at the Zimbabwe Mail advised journalists and the general public to have a desire to learn about social media, he also stated that there is no need to go to school and learn about social media, ‘ just engage and spark a conversation’.
To better appreciate twitter one must first ‘un think’ of it as a Facebook competitor and think of it as a ‘news feed’, that way twitter can be appreciated better.