Rwanda on Instagram: The Next Big Thing?

We have been trying to understand how social media works in Rwanda over the last few weeks and were so impressed by the way people are so passionate about sharing content and connecting with the world.

We have talked to students, professionals and communication experts about different social networking sites; and, with so much enthusiasm, we believe in the huge potential of Instagram as the next big thing. We want to tell you a part of why.

You must have noticed how much social media is gaining huge traffics, especially through the way people have gone more active over the last few months. It is now hard not to find at least 60 percent of your classmates, colleagues or family members on Facebook. Twitter is also growing – you can see how the hashtag #RWoT (Rwandans on Twitter) is getting used more and more. It is, also, hard to imaging a communications team that has not put in place a social media strategy for different purposes. It is obvious: social networking is growing in Rwanda, at a very high speed than never before. But, many could ask, ‘What is the big thing?’

Of course,  we still believe Facebook is the current big thing. It is where young people (mostly aged between 15 and 25) share different content and mostly images, inspirational quotes and comments on trending topics. It is easy to see, especially through number of comments and likes, on (for example) famous pages and how people engage with each other; or even how the young generation share humorous stories.

While Twitter is also growing fast, especially due to the efforts of the leadership of the country (it is clear to see that at least 90 percent of Rwanda’s cabinet members are on Twitter and have active accounts) and other communications practitioners. But, Twitter is still seen (by many of the consumers of social networking sites, especially the youth) as a journalism tool that is used to share news. And it is hard to get a young student, as an example, who does not find passion in daily news or information sharing and politics, sign up to Twitter.

During out many discussions over the last few weeks, we found out that most consumers of social media platforms in Rwanda are so much interested in images than any other thing. For instance, a Facebook user will spend more of their time checking out albums of a friend than reading their status updates that do not include pictures. YouTube is also growing, especially due to the fact that most of the local music “promoters” have embraced using the platform.

This brings us to Instagram, which is a photo-sharing and social networking service that enables users to take picture, apply digital filters to them and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook and Twitter. It is widely becoming famous, in both the young and adults,  mostly because people are so passionate about sharing visual content and the recent growth of internet penetration and broadband services within Rwanda. Smartphones are booming and manufacturers like Samsung’s products are increasing in number, enabling more people to access gadgets that ease the creation of connection between mobile phone and exciting on-fashion application.

Unlike Facebook, Instagram provides a unique way to experience cool images and the interface is less chaotic and easy to navigate. We, at Ejo Group, believe in the power of Instagram such as you do! Let’s share more pictures.

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