Social media and political publics in Kenya
A Conversation with Steph Diepeveen
Good morning, from a UK who just discovered what 40C heat is like—and that it does in fact melt your railways and roads . . .
In happier news, in this episode of the Anti-Dystopians, I talked to Steph Diepeveen, a senior research associate at Cambridge University, research fellow in digitalization at ODI and the author of the book “Searching for a New Kenya: Politics and Social Media on the Streets of Mombasa.” We discussed the way social media use operates in Kenya, the difference between physical and digital public spaces, how Big Tech corporations’ designs affects political discourse and what we can learn about social media by looking outside the Western context.
As always, you can listen to it here or subscribe here (Spotify) or here (Apple Podcasts). If you like us, please rate, review and share the Anti-Dystopians to help us get new listeners. If you want to support the production of the show, you can visit here.
Further reading from the episode:
(Many thanks to Steph for compiling these resources!)
Steph’s book, Searching for a New Kenya
Steph’s collaborative work on African languages and autocomplete (i.e it doesn’t work in Amharic) – open access article here.
Social media as a political problem in Kenya — the Conversation
Some interesting Mozilla studies on disinfo in Kenya:
Nanjala Nyabola's book for an accessible and critical overview of the history/evolution of digital media and politics in Kenya — Digital Democracy, Analogue Politics: How the Internet Era Is Transforming Politics in Kenya
What I’ve been reading
Have had this one bookmarked for a while (over a year), but it is everything you wanted from a story about hacking, corporate control and McDonald's ice cream machines: They Hacked McDonald’s Ice Cream Machines—and Started a Cold War
If you enjoyed Paris Marx on the podcast a few weeks ago, here is their article in Lit Hub How Corporate America Created Car Culture—And What We Can Do To Change It
A company that claimed it would use the blockchain to help reforest the Earth accidentally set off a 35,000 acre wildfire in Spain.
Minecraft has rejected NFTs, calling it out for profiteering.
Avast has written a guide to how to digitally disentangle yourself from a former abusive partner.
If you want a longer book recommendation, I’ve been reading Adventure Capitalism: A History of Libertarian Exit, from the Era of Decolonization to the Digital Age and it is EXCELLENT
Tweet(s) of the week
Someone at HP has been reading Cory Doctorow’s dystopian novels.…
And a reminder for those of you who are living through Europe’s climate catastrophe heatwave . . .