Travel Scholarship Winner for #AoIR2017 – Job Mwaura
Where are you from?
I am a Kenyan citizen from Nairobi. I am currently residing in Johannesburg, South Africa.
What is your current area of study?
Describe the research you will present at AoIR 2017.
The purpose of my research is to explore the place of social media in activism in Kenya. Activism in this study will be defined as taking an action to effect socio-political change while the use of digital tools such as social media networks, mobile phones, and emails will be defined as digital activism. Kenya has been regarded as the Silicon Valley of sub-Saharan Africa due to its technological advancement and government support in the ICT sector. It has been credited for the use of mobile technologies and especially the innovative use of mobile money transfer services – Mpesa. The use of digital technologies is influencing policy debates on socio-political and economic sectors in many parts of the world and Kenya is not an exception. With a very vibrant political environment, social media is becoming an important tool for political debates. The use of hashtags during socio-political movements is one such example of the role social media is playing in activism. Studies on Digital Activism are very recent in Kenya. In sub-Saharan Africa researchers have moved their focus from studies on digital access to everyday experiences with digital media. The proliferation of mobile phones has accelerated the growth of digital media and transformed communication in the past few years in many African countries. The use of social media as a space for political discussions and deliberations is quickly gaining interest especially among the urban youth in Africa. In order to explore the place of social media in activism in Kenya, I will focus my study on unveiling how different actors during activism use social media and the strategies they use to make the campaigns successful. Qualitative case study research will be used and this will be done with the help of three political movements that have happened in Kenya in recent years: #OccupyPlayground, #OccupyParliament, and #IEBCMustGo. I will generate two kinds of data.
Have you presented at AoIR in the past? If yes, what has been your experience? If #AoIR2017 Tartu is your first AoIR conference, what made you choose this conference? What do you expect from it?
I will be attending the first #AoIR conference in Tartu and I am very new as a member of AoIR. I am hoping to learn and begin to build a reputation as a scholar in social media in Kenya. Meeting scholars in the field of internet research provides me with an opportunity to learn and network. I am hoping that people can learn something from my presentation as well as learn from them. I also hope to expand my research ideas and also get people I can collaborate with in future.