This research study explores the attitudes of Kenyan proletariat voters towards social media political activism and to what extent such strategies can be said to be Communitarian expressions of political association or ethnic mobilization devoid of issue-based politics. Communitarianism is a philosophy emphasizing the connection between an individual and the community. A “community” in this context is understood in the wider sense of interactions between communities of people in a geographical location, or who have a shared history or interest. Does such targeted online campaigns prove group Structuration Theory-a concept where human agency and social structure are in a ...view middle of the document...
Its potent impact was manifested in the 2008 United States (US) presidential election. The election saw nearly 70% of the vote among Americans aged 25 years and younger going to ex-Senator Obama; the democratic contender against Republican’s John Mc Cain. Candidate Obama’s strategies have been commended by mobile marketers for its strategic use of SMS and mobile Web as a most effective way for reaching young voters and shifting their perceptions hence shifting the election outcome .
Fig. 1: A string of Obama’s 2012 campaign programme .
4.0 THE KENYAN CONTEXT
Kenya’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector has experienced exponential growth over the last decade. By July 2009, the mobile phone was the second most widely-available ICT within the household and a growing number of mobile phone owners were using them to access the Web. In 2010, in a population of 40 million Kenyans, there were over 22 million mobile subscribers, with a mobile subscription growth of 9.5%. 8.69 million Internet users and at over 22% of the population with higher projections due to the fibre optic cable establishment. Over 98% of web access in Kenya is through mobile phones. The number of internet/data subscriptions is 3.2 million per year. In 2010, 6.63 billion minutes of local calls were made on the mobile networks and 740 million text messages were sent . In the years since, this trend has accelerated with an increasingly large percentage of the Kenyan population now online thanks to the rapid uptake of mobile technology. A 2012 Opera Report indicated that data usage from mobile handsets in Kenya increased 83 percent year-on-year from 2011 as mobile penetration reached 27 million handsets in a country of about 42 million. Kenyan mobile phone users have constantly engaged more often with social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which are two of the top three domains in Kenya . The role of social media has increasingly gained popularity in Kenya, but the real issue is whether it has enabled Kenyans bring about much needed change through perception orientation and diversity outlook or it has exacerbated tribalism.
5.0 A DESCRIPTION OF THE KEY ELEMENTS OF STRUCTURATION THEORY.
The theory of structuration is a social theory of the creation and reproduction of social systems that is based in the analysis of both structure and agent, without giving primacy to either. The theory was proposed by sociologist Anthony Giddens in The Constitution of Society , which examines social practices at the inseparable intersection of structures and agents. It refers to the processes group members employ in their inter-relationships and the system of structures in their interactions.
6.0 KENYAN POLITICIANS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
Barack Obama wasn't the only presidential incumbent to have leveraged mobile, social and digital technology in his political campaigns. Several politicians adopted different strategies to reach out to the masses during the 2013 Kenyan elections....