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CHANGING AFRICA’S IMAGE THROUGH TECHNOLOGY Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging…Can It Revamp Africa’s Image?
Social Media in Africa
17 nations represented
The images of Africa in the Western media are, by and large, images of misrepresentation. These representations seem to always be focused on the negative, and portray Africa in an unfair light. The images that
Top Social Media site used
are tied to Africa are not all that the country is about, but since that is all that is usually shown in the media, it is this ‘poor’ image that they have come to be associated with and essentially defined by. How can this be changed, and how is Africa working to redefine themselves in a more positive and truthful light?
See Works Cited for Information Regarding Statistic Sources
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One answer Africa has found to this question is through technology. Currently there are over 12,000 African blogs, and the number is still increasing. Facebook is the most visited social‐networking site in many Sub‐Saharan African countries, and Twitter is gaining significant popularity as well. Blogging, Tweeting, and Facebooking allow African’s to portray a more realistic self‐image, as well as connect Africa to the rest of the world. Through using these social‐networking websites, Africans can portray themselves in a way that they want to be portrayed: realistically and without Western bias or lens. Not only are individuals creating Facebook and Twitter accounts, but large African companies like Safaricom, the Nairobi Stock Exchange, and Talkom Kenya are setting up accounts as well. This allows them to engage with consumers and address concerns as well as show that they are competing at the same level as other Western companies. Since the Internet has no geographical boundaries, it allows companies to become more known internationally, and also interact with other companies and clients. Technology has the ability to change Africa’s self‐perception, as well as its image across the globe. Through social‐networking Africans can help educate the general public, and show a different side of Africa that is more realistic. Africans have the ability to decide what they want their image to be, as well as widen the pool of sources from which their image is created. Instead of being defined by individual reporters, Africa can begin to be defined by a broad range of bloggers and facebookers, thus putting ownership of Africa’s image back into their hands.