Guest post by Stephen Obeli Someday
Poor citizens, right?, yes; youth unemployment is over seventy percent and half of the population is below the age of 18 but, more Ugandans ‘afford’ to stream videos on YouTube every single day than read news or gossip as the US based social site floors all local sites in traffic! In fact, overall it is only Google andFacebook that receive more visitors than YouTube in Uganda.
The most recent search rankings by Alexa, a global internet traffic monitoring company owned by Amazon shows a glaring difference between what many people think of Uganda’s internet space and what it really is.
Defined by owners as “a social utility that connects people”, Facebook is unsurprisingly atop the list of the most visited social network websites in Uganda.
The rise of Facebook has been progressive since 2008 when the website first became available to internet users in the country. As years went by, access to the social network was made even easier as leading telecom companies MTN and Airtel introduced free access to users via a sub-domain http://www.o.facebook.com (code named Facebook Zero).
In the recent past, ISPs including Vodafone, Airtel, Africell and MTN rolled out cheap internet packages for users who need to stay abreast with their friends and relevant events through WhatsApp (an instant messenger), Twitter and Facebook on their mobiles under the code WTF (Social Bundle, on MTN Uganda) giving Facebook a further edge over potential rivals.
Globally the site is visited by over 1.55 billion users every month.
One wonders how in a country where half of the population is under the age of 18 and youth unemployment is over 60%, a video streaming and sharing site such as this can possibly see the light of day, let alone being among the top five!
However, celebrities, media houses, comedians and corporate organizations have in recent years embraced live streaming and video sharing making YouTube a rich source of vital data for both professional work and leisure.
Eddy Kenzo, a local musician has garnered global fame and an international music award (BET), thanks to YouTube and the hit song ‘Sitya Loss’. NBS TV and NTV Uganda, the leading TV stations in the country both offer reliable live stream for news and events around the country. This in particular is likely to have contributed greatly in favour of YouTube as the country has been busy since late 2015.
Born in 2006 in the United States, twitter which is available on both desktop and mobile via the website and Twitter Mobile App takes the bronze.
As Ugandans went to the polls in February 2016, the social network together with Facebook and WhatsApp were jointly condemned by authorities and thus restricted/blocked. Even with the restriction in place, Tweeps (Twitter Users) were the first to report about the act using the same network.
The 140 character social network does not command a big population of users in Uganda (or anywhere else) but it has become another media house of its own; the albeit few users share tweets across Facebook and other platforms hence driving traffic back to Twitter.
Globaly, twitter has just over 330,000,000 active monthly users and over 500 million registered users.
Instagram is the hangout for the trendy or is it the selfie network? Well, Instagram is the fastest growing social media in Uganda too!
Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app, as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.
The App is available for Android and IoS users through Google Play and App store respectively. Owners of phones that run on other operating systems can access the service via third party Apps.
Instagram can also be accessed via desktop though access to a number of features is still limited to access through the app only.
It comes as a surprise that amidst the noise on the Ugandan social media space, a very serious social network can receive more visitors per day than all local websites except the Daily Monitor until less than 7 days ago when it dropped five places leaving a gap for NewVision and Bigeye.ug . LinkedIn is a professional networking site for job candidates and industry leaders.
A quick rise in the number of graduates and Ugandans moving toward the corporate ladder plus the domination of politics on Facebook and twitter could be reason for more people to spend more time on LinkedIn.
Not vulnerable: when the government blocked WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn turned out to be a safe haven and even now, there is no sign Ugandan authorities intend to interfere with professionals sharing professional knowledge on the platform soon.
LinkedIn boasts of over 400,000,000 (Four hundred million) users globally.
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