Twitter in Kenya is very active. For a long time now, the activities of Kenyans on Twitter usually increase or decrease in frequency depending on the popular activity for that day. Tech related seminars, workshops and conferences have received the lion’s share of these Twitter conversations. TedxNairobi, E-Tourism Conference East Africa, Mobile Web East Africa, Tandaa Kenya seminars are just some of the conferences that got massive airplay on Twitter. On the non-tech side, there was lively twitter activity on the referendum, the promulgation, and around TV personalities and programs.
But over the past few months, an interesting trend has emerged where a transmedia experience has been created between Twitter and TV. TV is a push media that does not allow for any meaningful interaction. Pre-twitter, people would wait till the next day to discuss with their friends whatever caught their eyes on TV the previous night. However, people have found a way of enjoying what is showing on TV but adding their voice in real-time to the happenings either by complimenting, critiquing, criticizing, or throwing in a random diss. Whatever the case, Kenyans have found a way of taking what’s happening on TV off TV and onto a network that allows them to have real, hearty, usually hilarious conversations around these popular TV programs and personalities. I have seen Kenyans on Twitter discussing presenters like Julie Gichuru and Anne Kiguta, discussing programs like wrestling, that law thingy on KTN, News and Political scandals of the day.
But when it comes to a transmedia experience between Twitter and TV, nothing showcases this better than Tusker Project Fame. When Tusker Project Fame auditions started well over a month ago, you could tell how big this was going to get on Twitter given the amount of mentions it received on Twitter just on the first day. My twitter timeline during the hour that the auditions were aired was all #TPF4 and the tweets kept streaming in at a ridiculous pace. Every performance was a source of greater discourse and you will be surprised at what is going on in people’s head as these performances go on. In a way, being on Twitter on Sunday night during #TPF4 beats being there live thanks to what Kenyans on Twitter have been able to create. So what exactly does this mean?
Like all things that capture people’s interest on Twitter, there was self organization around this Tusker Project Fame which resulted in #TPF4 being adopted as the official Hashtag for the program. Soon enough, every tweet regarding Tusker Project Fame had the Hashtag as the conversations on Twitter took a life of their own. And because most tweets were of people hating on the performances and making fun of the ridiculous performances, another Hashtag was adopted in #ChukiFM – which basically declare these as hater tweets (Chuki is Swahili for Hate). Organization was not just in the form of coming up with Hashtags but also in the order of tweets which captured almost every angle of what was transpiring – enough for people who were not in a position to watch the program to follow along. As the performances moved from town to town and then countries, people began arranging cities and towns based on which produced the best comics (those who can’t sing to save their lives but still insist they were wrongly judged)
On the second week of the auditions and every week after that, it was difficult to put my laptop down and watch Tusker Project Fame because whereas some of the people auditioning people were funny as hell to watch, nothing could beat the disses, comments, and ensuing conversations about them on Twitter. If you thought an audition was even remotely funny, the next tweet you would read would leave you in stitches. But it was not about making fun of participants though that was a large part of it; it was about appreciating talent on those rare occasions that we saw it. The honesty was usually brutal to a point of making others uncomfortable. Twitter has become a necessity today when watching #TPF4 and many people simply cannot watch it without Twitter. Whereas simply watching TPF4 is all nice and dandy, it still lags by a mile in the amount of fun people have watching and participating on Twitter.
This coming Sunday during Tusker Project Fame, search for #TPF4 and just try keeping up with tweets that will be coming through. Every Sunday during the airing of #TPF4, I always tweet whether East African Breweries people understand what these conversations around #TPF4 mean. Well, they finally decided to join Twitter a fortnight ago using @OfficialTPF4 as their username. I was surprised they even joined at all because the friends I have who know people working in managerial capacities at EABL had assured me that there was no way in hell EABL would use social media let alone join Twitter. Seeing them here was therefore a pleasant surprise for me. I started pondering at what they could do to initiate meaningful engagement with the already overactive Twitter community in Kenya that was keeping tabs on #TPF4.
However, as soon and the Official Tusker Project Fame twitter account was created, it quickly emerged that they were from the get-go clearly out of their depth. First, given the volume of Twitter conversations happening around #TPF4, their tweets were few and far between. Second, they either had no idea what a hashtag was or that there was a hashtag for Tusker Project Fame since none of their tweets that far had it. I remember sending them a tweet trying to confirm whether they were indeed the official TPF4 account because I found their nonchalant approach really curious. I was not convinced that an official account would be that dormant or that ill-equipped in matters twitter.
Then I started getting calls and DM’s each urging me to either try and get the contract of running the social media initiatives for TPF4, or recommending me to someone I can talk to get the account or simply picking my brains on what these guys could do better. It was not lost to me alone that this account was not living up to expectations. For instance, on the first gala performance, I checked the official TPF4 account and their last tweet was 2 hours before the show kicked off to which I tweeted, “Your last tweet cannot be 2 hours ago, surely”. Many people had also observed the same and tweeted as much. The reason I tweeted this was because the tweets coming through that night about the show were crazy high. The tweets were coming in hard and fast yet the person responsible for this official account seemed asleep on the wheel keyboard.
Then on a Monday, the official TPF4 account comes to life asking people questions and trying to build engagement of sorts. Talk of Bad timing. They got very little traction this way because people had more important things to do. This is what they should have done while the show was airing and everyone was tuned in. There was very little in terms of feedback for the whole week as they tried to get people talking. Again, this exposed their bad judgement or timing or both. There was such a big disconnect it seems they were talking during the day while the Twitter community came alive during the night. Then sometime last week, I visited their account to find that some “bright” idiot had advised them to unfollow everyone they had followed till then. Little did I know this was just but part of a bigger plan. That of closing shop. The account was deleted the next day.
Because I have a feeling that the dismissive attitude of companies towards social media is borne of ignorance, I am sure putting some hard dollar values to these conversations will get them rethinking their participation on social media. This is the dollar value that most businesses fail to see when it comes to social media.
A month ago, TedxNairobi happened and Brandseye were the people who did the analysis of the conversations emanating from the conference. In the findings which you are read here – the following were the dollar values of the twitter conversations.
- Twitter contributed to approximately, 58.9% of the total conversation.
- The conversation on Twitter alone reached a total of 217, 360 people with a total Ad equivalent of $ 7,176.56.
- The top consumers were influential people in the industry, and were discussed considerably throughout the event.
- 71% of the conversation around the sponsors came from the consumers.
- This is positive for the brand because it shows the audience is discussing their brand and aware of the interaction.
- The conversation around the sponsors led to a total reach of 1, 517,410 people and an ad equivalent of $ 48 850.
Sponsors AVE = $ 48 850.
Now take into account that the tweets around #TPF4 are high in volume and take place every week. Are you curious what the dollar value of the conversations around #TPF4 on a single weekend is? Me too, and I hope to get back to you with the cold hard numbers soon?