MEMORABLE SOCIAL MEDIA INCIDENTS OF 2014

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Uhuru selfieThe year 2014 was an eventful one for social media both in Kenyan and internationally.

From Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) claiming to have forced major government decisions to the so-called Twitter bigwigs exchanging bitter words, the last 12 months have certainly been captivating.

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Tweefs

For starters, a tweef refers to a war of words between two or more Twitter users.

While it is not easy to choose the most explosive tweef in Kenya, one thing is for sure: Ahmednassir Abdullahi was involved.

The senior counsel burst into the national limelight with his below the belt attcks on candidates during the recruitment of the Chief Justice, his deputy and Supreme Court judges and during the presidential petition by Cord leader Raila Odinga.

The most famous tweefs involving Mr Abdullahi were separate sparring with newspaper columnist Makau Mutua, sacked Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku and Elgeyo Marakwet Kipchumba Murkomen.

So bloody were the fights that the one with Mr Lenku could be headed to the court.

The Abdullahi-Murkomen tweef was triggered by an article the former penned in the Sunday Nation on February 23 about test tube babies.

After an exchange, Mr Murkomen tweeted: “@ahmednasirlaw your drone of legal Alshababism is fast crumbling like the reign of Nebuchadnezzar.”

He then went on to brag how he had been elected by more than half a million people in his county, yet Mr Abdullahi could not retain his seat at the Judicial Service Commission where only 6,000 lawyers were voting.

To this Mr Abdullahi responded, “@kipmurkomen who can swallow that? A lawyer practising some law in Iten ati can beat Total Man? Give me a break!”

Last month, embattled blogger Robert Alai and Nairobi politician Esther Passaris also exchanged bitter words over the demonstration in support of women who had been stripped naked by “moral police”.

Mr Alai wanted women to dress decently or else they will be stripped.

“You dress scantily I will either personally undress you or sponsor your undressing. Let’s not be pretenders here #ScantilyDressed,” tweeted Mr Alai on November 13.

An angry Passaris responded: “@RobertAlai Good morning. Who are you? What do you do? What’s your level of education?Moral upbringing? Social standing? Vision or purpose?”

Then all hell broke loose. The blogger responded by tweeting a somewhat revealing picture of the politician.

It is likely that the social media wars will intensify in 2015 as more Kenyans are set to join the site with increased internet penetration.

Hashtags

This is a jargon for anybody who does not use social media. It is a way of tagging messages to enable users to search easily on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The best hashtag in 2014 came late in the year during the Sydney siege in Australia. #IllRideWithYou was used by Australians of other faiths to declare that they would protect Muslims after one woman was spotted removing her hijab.

It was reminiscence of #WeAreOne hashtag which Kenyans used to whip up emotions of cohesion during the devastating Westgate Attack.

Locally, journalists and editors also engaged in battle for hashtags where each wanted their stories to trend on Twitter.

#MakriYaInjili on the expose of Pastor Victor Kanyari’s fake miracles floored the rest. The hashtag #MyDressMyChoice by a group of Kenyans who voiced their opposition to stripping women was also popular.

KOT have also claimed responsibility for forcing major government changes including the sacking of Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and Interior Secretary Joseph ole Lenku.

Faux pas

They say the internet does not forget. If you doubt, ask Presidential Strategic Communication Unit (PSCU).

When President Uhuru Kenyatta returned recently after a tour of the United Arab Emirates, some pictures of him posing for a selfie with a British socialite had started doing rounds on social media.

He made reference to it and PSCU tweeted: “I have been out of the country for a few days as you have seen from in the selfies in the newspapers.”

The tweet was immediately taken down and replaced with another one but the damage had already been done.

The cardinal rule in communication, they say, is to always strive to pass the intended message not merely say what has been said.

 

The Unit has received flak from Kenyans on Twitter over a series of blunders including statements that many communicators said were not presidential.

Controversial American preacher Pat Robertson also attracted the wrath of Kenyans on social media over his comments in a TV broadcast in which he warned that towels in Kenya could transmit AIDS.

Robertson made the remarks while answering a question his show “The 700 Club” from a viewer about whether a planned trip to Kenya is risky.

Robertson responded: “You might get AIDS in Kenya. The people have AIDS in Kenya. The towels could have AIDS.”

Twitter user @BaronGreen_Back tweeted: “‘Even the towels in Africa have AIDS’ Makes you wonder what Pat Robertson uses his towels for.”

The Christian Broadcast Network (CBC), which airs “The 700 Club,” said quickly recognized the error and quickly removed the statement from the online archive.

There was also the embarrassing picture of president Uhuru Kenyatta taken with what appeared to be a socialite in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The woman called herself msthandlicious on Instagram working with an media and events company, Footprint International based in Abu Dhabi.

“Selfie with The Kenyan President. My life is so #dope and I do and meet dope people! #selfie #Kenya #president #uhuruKenyatta. Lovely man” the post on her now deactivated Instagram page read.

The same the president was criticised for deciding to remain behind to watch Formula One Race on a Sunday, a day after 28 Kenyans were butchered in a macabre attack by Al Shabaab terrorists in Mandera.

Memes

Mr Lenku was sacked a month ago as Interior Secretary after Kenya experienced an unprecedented wave of insecurity.

Lenku even admitted that he was the most ridiculed minister.

Some Kenyans mainly portrayed him as a cook due to his background in the hospitality sector. After his sacking, Kenyans ridiculed him with memes to return to his career.

-nairobinews.co.ke

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