Social Media and Kenyan Football- The plan not the pan

Social media is a powerful tool; we can no longer deny it. All around us now, the world seems to be moving towards embracing interaction and what better way to do that than by using social media? Football hasn’t been left behind and world over, seems more and more FAs, Leagues, Football Clubs and players seek to reach a wider audience of fans through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

More certainly is the fact that approximately every 25/52 weekends in a year- the world’s best trends are related to sport and for this matter Football. It’s no longer shocking the amount of information (first hand) a fan in Lagos and another in UK would share in the twinkling of an eye without necessarily spending lots to make it happen.

With the advent of social media platforms, directly accompanying it has been the ‘impolite’ influx of parodies or as I would say ‘impersonation’ of several individuals/groups online. In exception of those meant to do harm/damage- most parodies are generally created to generate humour and treat the fans to profane deflation of a happening.

The Kenyan game hasn’t been left behind in this field- several accounts of Clubs, The League (both official and non-official), players and even management update fans of important happenings as well as ridicule and make fun of the system at times.

The Parody- Explanation

twitterbird

This last week though, one parody (@Sam_Nyamweya) that constantly got the online community talking caught the attention of the FKF president (Sam Nyamweya) himself and subsequently pulled down. It’s not clear whether Twitter pulled it down but according to a press release, the CID have been informed and ‘investigations’ underway.

For starters allow me quote twitter’s policy on Parody, Commentary and Fan accounts

Twitter users are allowed to create parody, commentary, or fan accounts (including role-playing). Twitter provides a platform for its users to share and receive a wide range of ideas and content, and we greatly value and respect our users’ expression. Because of these principles, we do not actively monitor users’ content and will not edit or remove user content, except in cases of violations of our Terms of Service.

It further goes on to explain that in cases of role playing that may include inflammatory or controversial topics- Twitter suggests a clarification is added to bio, such as ‘role playing’.

Back to the parody itself, it’s a shame I couldn’t get a screen shot of the handle when it existed but for those who came across it, you’ll agree with me, the bio categorically read ‘Chairman for Killing Football, This account has been hacked’- we all know Sam isn’t, eeeer, I don’t know.

Chairman for Killing Football, This account has been hacked

The fact that the account more than often seems to castigate the position of the FKF President was for many not a worry, the fact that the face behind the account was a well-guarded secret made the perfect script for speculation but it’s a shame the president fell for such tricks.

It not only exposes the face behind the FKF presidency as ‘analogue’ but opens up a new chapter of the need for fan interaction by the fans. The fans suddenly feel, they need to directly hear from the president and have a big say about they feel about and how they want football to be run in their country.

With the blossoming of such an incident, a whole new chapter is open in the fight against poor governance and accountability.

I will mention a few examples- all soccer related and by the end of this, you would more certainly agree with me, the fight and the embrace are all shared in equal measure.

MBAO NA BAO

I doubt if any of us will forget this any time soon, but the story is- FKF launched an initiative to help raise funds to aid the National team’s preparation for Brazil 2014. Aimed at raising around 200M and with the promise of proper audit, several Kenyans gave away Ksh 20 and even higher to this kitty. The story won’t be long- social media was used severally in helping drum up support for the initiative and even hashtags like #MBAOFORBAO and #FRIENDSOFHARAMBEESTARS started to this effect.

Today as we speak, nobody is yet to have an idea of how much was raised leave alone the thought of how the campaign ended. The faces behind the campaign have suddenly vanished and the auditors- just like that, remain ghost.

KENYA V NIGERIA

The Kenyan online community is such an exciting place to be and when they set upon doing something, they follow it to the end. For this case, in late March, Nigeria were to host Kenya in Calabar and as images and reports from Nigeria suggest, Kenya complined of being mistreated. When the images hit the popular site twitter, a reaction to it’s effect made serious trends for some good number of hours. #SomeoneTellNigeria and #SomeoneTellKenya all showed the passion fans all over had for their teams and the readiness to protect them at all costs.

At the end of the day though, the matter turned out to be purely as a result of communication and logistical unpreparedness.

NAIROBI DERBY

Another one that can’t be forgotten any soon; the biggest derby on Kenyan soil. While it raises tensions and splits the fans down the middle, the trends #mashemejiderby #nairobiderby #shemejiderby always seem to market the derby at the same time preparing the table for some real good banter.

Somewhere in some high offices, you can be sure- someone is watching those trends smiling as he high-fives his/her colleagues. Such is the power of a hashtag pushing an event.

The above examples not only seek to expose the unexploited soccer market in Kenya but also get you and me thinking of ways we can use social media to help push the Kenyan Soccer brand to the next level. In equal measure though, social media can be used as a source of activism against the ills of our soccer bodies and entities.

Today, had so many social media users given attention to the #MBAOFORBAO initiative missing money or taken the federation to task regarding the Nigeria saga- just like the (@sam_nyamweya) case- the federation would have been forced to react. In turn what are we left with? A disgruntled fan base, having lots of power in its hands but not using it, fear of victimization, fear of being left ‘alone’- or just conflict of interest.

Recommended Link; Digital-Football.com

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