We will be hosting "the tweeting chief" Chief Kariukifrom Lanet Umoja at this month's Fireside Chat on the evening of 28th February, 2013.
If you're a Kenyan on Twitter, you've almost certainly come across Chief Kariuki's tweets, which run the gamut of community policing - “from tracking down missing sheep to stopping crime.” While a lot of us in urban areas are busy building multiple complex apps which have limited uptake, Chief Kariuki has taken the low-tech (and highly effective) approach. In his own words:
"Every time we have barazas (meetings) twice a month, I make attendees subscribe to my tweets using their regular SMS or text messaging services," Kariuki said by phone from the town. "It has not only saved on the cost of fliers, it has also allowed us to save trees and contribute to green efforts."Subscribers get his tweets in real time in the form of free text messages, and don't need to have a Twitter account or an Internet connection to receive them. The chief can send them any time using his smart phone.
Kariuki tells the AP that his messages are able to reach thousands of the area's 28,000 residents. Many of those citizens are subsistence farmers who access his tweets via forwarded text messages or a third-party mobile application that works without a smartphone.
We're looking forward to having a very interesting conversation with the Chief about how he's been able to do his work, as well as learning a few lessons how urban techies can be effective by looking beyond the tech to the end user.
Register here to attend this Fireside Chat.