Kenya has over 2.5 million twitter users. Most of these are youth between 20 to 29 years mostly tweeting about normal day occurrences and using the microblogging site to keep in touch with their friends and workmates while the rest of use it as a tool to spread latest memes online, critisize and do interviews.
Innovations Need To Solve Problems
However, a different breed of a civil servant, over 47 years and not working in a field far off to be associated with tech is turning Twitter into a security tool, more reliable than police radio systems.
Chief Kariuki tweeting as @CheifKariuki uses the site to help restore lost property from his subjects and track theft and crime around the clock, earning him a promotion as senior chief and putting him into the limelight internationally and even more love from his subjects.
Passion Turns To Profit-If You Are Patient
Chief Kariuki who was at iHub last week Thursday said he began using Twitter to reach out to youth not knowing the passion will turn into a more effective community policing tool saving his subjects their dear properties and even lives.
“I wanted to reach out to the youth, and would add them up ask them to follow me every time we had a baraza,” he said.
Chief Kariuki said he wanted to be able to solve problems in his Lanet Umoja location, Nakuru North District. Then he realised he could send one Twitter text to several followers as he could.
Every time he has an event he ensures that he signs up more followers from his area of jurisdiction and beyond to his Twitter audience.
To be more effective the Tweeting chief uses Twitter for SMS which works as an SMS application and doesn’t require data costs, however he also uses his smartphone to use the web version of the site. His passion to help his subjects may turn into profit one time, he talks of some thing he is developing which we shall talk about later.
Steve Jobs Simplicity
Users follow him on 8988 and he can decide to follow then back on not. He invites his followers for meetings, sends them an encouraging message or gives them an alert when one of his subjects report something missing.
His tweets received as Twitter SMS to his followers help scare off thieves and attacks the moment he sends them. When a theft victim sends the chief a normal message reporting the theft of his cattle or bike or child the chief simply composes a twitter message to his followers. one such was a avictim of a robberry incident. He sent chief a message about the ongoing robbery at his home and after the chief alerting his followers, the whole village was out to help, the robbers escaped.
The messages which go to everyone following him sometimes end up being received by the thief themselves or by neighbours who quickly send the chief a message on where they had seen the animals or stolen car. Followed by police officers too, it becomes easy to track thieves or track down stolen property in the area anonymously as it is only the chief who knows who reported the crime.
One incident, chief Kariuki said thieves ran and abandoned a cow they had stolen after receiving his alert messages.
Just recently he remembers a man who sent him a text after losing his eight friesian cows and after tweeting to his followers, the cows were tracked down and found. Another man was shocked when he realised his bicycle had gone missing seconds after just stopping to buy stuff from a shop. He text the chief about it and moments later it was found. A girl was also lost a few weeks ago and his one tweet saved her as volunteers helped track her. He said over ten car had been found after being carjacked, iron sheets have been returned and still lives have been changed.
However, the popularity of the tweeting chief also comes with much responsibility.
Responsibility To Your Clients
He remembers several occasions when he gets help calls in the wee hours of the night, some of them of people stranded and in need of money or material help and he has always relied on his volunteer followers to support through mobile fundraisers.
He has helped homeless people and even madmen who believe is capable of everything all the time and at times he spends his own fuel and money to respond to this distress calls but he is not yet to give up.
He said, ‘’ I am a servant of the people and the time I run out of alternatives I will be useless to them.” But he is hopeful that as long as he does his work him and his subjects will not be stranded.
Job Creation Tool
To chief Kariuki technology should not be complicated but as a solution provider. The more an innovation solves problems in the society the more its value. He called on developers to use technology to touch peoples lives positively, create jobs and save costs of just anything. He is hopeful tech is changing people’s lives and technology is the future.
During and after elections he is sure technology will play a great role in maintaining peace and fostering unity.
Stay True To Your Clients, Family & Mentors
And after all this he goes back home as a father and husband, putting his official duties or technology aside and spending the little time left with his family.
Not that we didn’t know, we didn’t bother to learn to use search on SMS. Our tablets have quick Google (search) so do our phones but Chief Kariuki must have learnt SMS search the hard way. His lesson nevertheless bears fruit when he taught us to search on feature phones.
Stay Foolish, Stay Humble
There is something you always will learn even from your clients and remember pride comes before a fall. We wanted to hide this but that wiould be pride!
Kudos Cheif Kariuki!