Monday, February 25, 2013


Are you a Kenyan and on the internet? Congratulations. Look around you. You're better than those who don't. According to some imaginary polls, the internet basically makes you a better human being on almost every single level. You're probably looking, smarter, more logical and also probably better in bed.

I've been seeing this argument posted in one form or another on social media. That since we are exposed to different sources we are better placed to make choices. Somehow this argument has mutated further to mean people who have internet access are posh and are thus apathetic to the needas of the 'common man.' We are too busy discussing ideologies that the lower man can barely comprehend in their little tribal minds.

I have made peace with the fact that we love to be different. That we are always trying to be higher on some invisible totem pole. In a rat race that is as frenetic as it would be in the backstreets of any city. My generation was meant to be our saving grace. The generation that would deliver us from the scourge of tribalism that our parents supposedly tried shoving down our throats. We grew up on tv & grew up in cosmopolitan areas and then discovered the internet. And somehow we convinced ourselves that we are better than generations that came before us.

But look in the forums of social media & that story is different. While we are better informed, we still hold on to bigotry. I venture to think that in some ways we might be a ticking bomb because we have learnt the art of political correctness. We say, act and feel what we are supposed to while we hide the real views under the surface.

But they escape very often. The anonymity of social media gives us that very often. Look at the discussion boards after any political article on a news website. The schism is indisputable. It spoils this utopia that we've created as a youth. That we are on the path to a greater understanding of democracy. Yet even we are unable to put it to good use. Don't get me wrong. There are many out there who are able to stow this instinctive response and argue out issues in ways that would put many tribal chieftains to shame. Then there are also those who believe & a precious few who are able to spew them out in social settings.

In my opinion we overestimate 3 things. One, there are many Kenyans online but while that voice may seem loud it doesn't quite translate into of the country. And with the hidden bigotry the voice shrinks further.

Secondly, the exposure to many sources does not make us better at choices. The truth is that people seek out the information that best correlates with their own beliefs. So if a certain paper, news outlet or blogger agrees with your frame of mind you are more likely to consume information from that source.

Lastly we are not a level above the social constraints of our fellow countrymen. The idea of a middle class is till being debated. About what it actually constitutes or the parameters by which we arrive at that definition. Whatever it is though, it is not a homogenous group with 2 &  a half kids, 2 cars in the garage & a job that pays for horse riding over the weekend. Even it did, it wouldn't disqualify you from being a part of the issues faced. I saw the argument proposed when people disagreed with Makau Mutua (whose article about a coup after an Uhuru win was preposterous) but who was deemed inadequate due to his address. Would his argument have been less wrong if he lived in Mathare or Kibera? I think not.

Here's where I am at. We already have enough things that divide us. Race, tribe, economic backgrounds, religion etc. We really don't need to open up a new front on a medium that's meant to bring us closer.


  1. Its called confirmation bias; we look for, and believe, evidence that supports our (possibly flawed) theories, and then use said evidence as proof the theories are correct.

    Nicely done sir. Now sit back and wait for the geniuses to start foaming at the mouth... Ha!

  2. Ha! The difference between a man holding a blackberry and a man holding a blackberry is what the blackberry is used for. For some it is just an alarm clock. Nice piece.

  3. NIce blog..will be checking out your posts