Bloggers Association of Kenya (BAKE) in conjunction with the Embassy of the United States of America to Kenya conducted a training in Mombasa on digital skills. BAKE seeks to improve the Kenyan economy by reaching out to the youth. The aim of the training was to educate the youth from Mombasa on matters concerning digital communications. The two-day training was aimed at improving their ability to communicate clear information by writing on various digital platforms.
The participants learnt about the previous and current statistics of social media globally. It is amazing how a lot can happen in a minute of internet time. The students were aware of the common social media platforms and they learnt about other pioneer platforms and the proper use of current platforms.
The session on digital communication landscape covered a variety of topics of digital communications platform, where most participants used Facebook and Instagram. When asked why they argued that it was easier to reach their friends and family on these platforms than any other. They also felt that Facebook was personalized and emphasized a sense of community and togetherness as opposed to Twitter which was irrelevant to them and more professional. They added that Facebook didn’t limit their content like Twitter did, and some also confessed they had no idea of how to use twitter in the first place.
In the case of snapchat, they felt that it was for a certain age bracket, so it did not have much relevance to them as they had bypassed that stage. On social media use, they confessed that they had a maximum of there apps on their devices while one confessed that he was not on any social media platform.
A session was done on social media ethics and crisis, where the participants were asked to come up with a solution to a case where an employee was accused of sexual harassment and wife battery on the company’s social media pages. Most groups disagreed on the course of action. While some chose to deal with the matter internally choosing to involve the police, citing that the companies stand on sexual harassment was a “you are guilty until proven innocent” kind.
The participants were also educated on what blogging entails including the difference between blogging and microblogging. They did not know that they were already micro-blogging on social media platforms and had no idea it was a form of blogging.
The training also included a practical session on creating a blog. They were taken through how to add content on their blogs and customizing it to their specification, which was explained to them in great detail. They also had questions on how to share their posts on social media which was also shown to them, through linking their blog to the social media accounts, and also copying and pasting the link directly to the social media pages.
Other topics such as social media management, online freedoms, digital marketing, strategic digital footprints and fake news were also covered in the training. The participants were encouraged to be on social media platforms as this was where their blog audience was. They were also taken through social media dos, and don’ts, and how different levels of society used social media to their advantage.
The participants were able to identify mistakes in examples of posts on social media that attributed to tribalism, hate speech thus adding knowledge to the identification of fake news. They were also taken through the limits to the freedom of expressions, which included hate speech, propaganda for war, incitement to violence and ethnic incitement.
The topic on monetizing blogs was particularly interesting as the trainees wanted to know how to make money from their blogs and photographs, through public relations, cost per click/post per click, cost per milli, paid content, subscriptions and to measure their impact afterwards. Also, they were taken through a session on social media marketing and search engine optimization and advised to have key words that matched their content.
The trainees were left with the will to be better citizens online and become active bloggers and social media users.