Tag Archives: Whatsapp

How Fake News is Destroying Credibility, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 22nd September, 2017

Fake News

When the US Elections were being held last year, the then presidential candidate Donald Trump made lots of noise about and still does, for example recently on June 13th he tweeted “The Fake News Media has never been so wrong or so dirty. Purposely-incorrect stories and phony sources to meet their agenda of hate. Sad!” What is Fake News? According to Wikipedia, they have defined it as “Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media.

Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false headlines that grab attention. Intentionally misleading and deceptive fake news is different from obvious satire or parody which is intended to humor rather than mislead its audience.” Almost everyday we are receiving news via our Whatsapp and while you might be quick to share that you have interesting content, take a second to look at it again and check if it is legitimate. This is the new way of spreading rumors, the sad part is that everyone thinks they have become a reporter and this “fake news” ends up spreading like wildfire.

Recently in light of our own General Elections of August 8th, the National Cohesion and Integration Commission’s Commissioner Dr Joseph Nasongo has said, “we are not interested in Fake News per se, but the content. There are those that have been deliberately designed to stir ethnic emotions or violence. We want the online community to help us stem hatred that is being spewed on social media.” While citizens may use fake news to misdirect each other, even politicians or those in power can do that to suit their agenda. A classic example when after the immediate kidnapping of Chibok girls in Nigeria the politicians told media it is a fake story. The price we are paying for the real story not getting to where it needs to is getting higher. They can use it to spread an agenda they like, for example during the Second World War the Nazi Germany used this propaganda machine to further their mission. You must remember these tips when spotting fake news: consider the source, read beyond, check the author, supporting sources, check the date, is it a joke, check your biases and ask the experts.

Fake news is meant to cause harm or even topple a Government. Don’t fall victim to it. Even if it is a family or friend’s story, always get to the real source before you share unconsciously and let an untruth get legitimacy. You are responsible for what you read and say, so do it mindfully and responsibly. When you are in charge of information have the honesty to use it effectively and not for your personal gain. Fake news is here to stay for a long time mostly because of the social media and technology chatting tools that are available to us.

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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Communication is Always Key, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 28th April 2017

Communication Courtesy Ampsinc

Communication Courtesy Ampsinc

Ever remember the time you dialed a number round and round or waited for the operator to connect your call? As much as technology has advanced there is one thing that has been left far behind, patience. Actually two things, patience and trust. When we placed a call or dialed the number we waited nicely for the other person to receive, answer, listen, converse and then hang up. If there was no answer, there was trust that he or she must be fine, busy or out of the office or home. Nowadays, well it is totally different. we do not wait for the call to be answered, we the caller hang up more than often quickly. We then drop off emergency messages and wait impatiently for a response, if we do not get one, we get suspicious. We go overboard to seek out the person, sometimes even show up at their home or workplace. Yes, we get paranoid.

Kenyans are talking and chatting more than ever via their mobile phones. This technological revolution has opened up the channels of communication and confusion. Communication to reach out and talk or listen, catch up, share and celebrate or give bad news as quickly as possible. Confusion to create affairs, divorces, break friendships, lose clients or simply misbehave.

The number of mobile phones in Kenya went from 1 to 10 million between 2002 and 2006, the usage burst when mobile money transfer, M-PESA was introduced in 2007. This innovative way of sending and receiving money completely changed the idea of having a mobile phone. So far there have been over 6 billion transactions in 2016 and other countries worldwide are looking at how to adopt or use this similar technology that changed Kenya and its people.

According to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA), at the end of the quarter, mobile penetration stood at 88.1 % with 37.8million subscribers up from 36.1million in the previous quarter. Apart from an increase in internet and data, the voice calling also went up by 18.2 %. Thus more Kenyans have resorted to talking versus texting. There are several advantages of talking over texting. When you call someone they can hear your mood and possibly feel your emotions, especially in a dating scene. When you text, mostly the messages may not carry the same weight of feeling, even though there are plenty of supporting emoticons. A phone call is more sincere and you can sound enthusiastic versus giving a thumbs up in a text and not really meaning it. The room for mistakes is less because when you say something you will get an immediate answer and if there is a misunderstanding, the conversation can be resolved better, instead of long messages that make matters worse.

A phone call still is personal and respectful, in our busy times today even if we live in the same city or neighbourhood we have lost the culture to make time and call someone and wish them a happy birthday. Even though calls are cheaper through mediums like WhatsApp, we would rather send a fancy message (copy and pasted) than give a personal touch by calling. There is after all no time to tell someone how much they mean to you. The idea of mass messaging is quite lame.

The culture of communication varies, however some things should remain paramount. Always say personal things over a phone call no matter how awkward or difficult. Better yet do it in person, never rely on a text message, the room for misunderstanding is just too large. Texting may have silly defects like misspelling or poor grammar. You may not speak the perfect language too, but imagine talking in your comfortable choice of language to whomsoever it maybe and actually getting through to each other. The fun is not there in texting.

The spreading of bad news is also easy and can be misconstrued if is shared on a text. It may look like an efficient way to do it, but it can create rumors and issues.

Every age group also have their timings to make calls and perhaps depending on professions too this can vary. The simple etiquette is to remember that you know your person and you can always be polite to keep timings decent, unless of course you both have the liberty to call whenever. This of course applies in a dating situation or for married couples.

Communication is always key, making your point, being heard and also listening to the other person and attempting to see their point of view always works out for the better if not best.


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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Big Technology, Small Hands Point Blank with Asian Weekly 4th November, 2016

Big Technology, Small Hands

iPad courtesy of iPadForums

iPad courtesy of iPadForums

Every party nowadays is full of good-looking food, clothes and abundant selfies. Yes adults are getting into the swing of getting spotted or taking their own for the use of Social Media including WhatsApp. No problem in all of this. Narcissism steps in and other issues pop up but for now let’s talk about how this big technology is landing in the small hands and what happens then?

According to a recent report “in the UK, the average parent with a social media account has posted 1,498 photos of their child online by their fifth birthday, according to a survey by Nominet, the domain name company” (Source: )

Thus, it is only proper we start with the behavior of parents with the use of the devices and what they are doing with especially the photos taken. Taking your children’s photos or videos is perfectly fine and sharing them on the family WhatsApp group is cool too but when your child’s life is plastered all over Facebook that is not cool. Imagine if your child could talk and tell you to stop? The child has a right and you must respect their privacy till they are old enough to understand what is happening and make up their own mind. If you are fussy about being seen then why use your child to get fame? The children are already growing up in a very self-conscious world where we somehow keep reminding them that good looks, manners and clothes are giving them acceptance in society. Whatever happened to good brains, personality and kindness? Parents control yourselves and stop showing off for the sake of kitty parties.

Children should not even get to touch parents’ phones. I get so irked when parents’ sitting especially in religious settings just remove the phone and hand it over to their child as a distraction. What if the child dials a wrong number, messes up a message or some teenage children can read your personal details, then what?

Parents need to maintain their discipline and privacy with the phone. The child may be taught how to use the phone in case of an emergency, for example you are with mum and she is feeling unwell, at least you can look up Dad’s number or call for help. Giving the child the phone to play with it is ridiculous. Steve Jobs who created the iPad advised strongly against letting his children using this very device. This shocked the industry, but it should not because he knew the potential and dangers. It is no secret that your children know how to navigate your smart phone or iPads better than you. That means they can reach anywhere and do anything. Adult supervision is advised and you must put parental guidance and apps appropriate to control the content browsing.

Make them teaching devices and not gaming addictions. We grew up with books and they probably do not even touch a book and as a parent you maybe struggling with what best to give them to keep their mind occupied. While in the 80s (since I am an 80s child) we had more outdoor sports or board games, they still exist and there is no harm to include them as part of activities. These old fun things have their own meaning, then why is it a game like Scrabble still exists and is popular over 70 years now? Help the children transition into the use of this technology wisely and not for the sake of a popularity contest or to keep them distracted so you can do something. More than ever a parent needs to be involved and hey nobody is saying you do it all alone, both husband, wife and get the grandparents involved too. Let them be a part of the raising but the final word and the buck stops with the parents. They must lead the way and even if it means giving instructions to the rest then do so. Aunties and uncles, older cousins must follow suit too.

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Posted by on November 4, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Noisy Neighbours, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 8th July, 2016

Noisy Neighbours

Noisy Neighbours

The increasing number of townhouses and flats at almost every corner or nowadays right next to you can give you a couple of conundrums. Before this construction boom hit us, we lived in quiet bungalows or maisonettes and established close bonds with our neighbours, tenants or landlords. However once the money started rolling in, things began to get nasty. Changes led to greedy landlords, unruly tenants, suspicious neighbours and very irritating children.

A few lessons were learnt and some properties have strict codes of no pets, only vegetarians and so on. But rent remains sky-high and sometimes unreasonable considering some of the parts in the house/apartment start falling apart a few months after moving in. Despite all of this the worst compromise has to be the poorly paid security guards who are almost never qualified and no other serious security arrangements for that oh so handsome service charges you are paying. And in today’s connectivity times, if the property doesn’t have a generator or lift, then you have to question quiet a few construction compromises.

You have your home rented or bought and you are enjoying your stay until you hear scream and shout. It seems like there is a domestic fight ensuing next door, what do you do? Firstly, here are examples of noisy neighbours, loud TV, loudest music from the car, screaming children, loud talking with the maid or gardener or security guard, banging doors in and out and the list goes on. By the way even an untimely pressure cooker can get your blood pressure rising.

What is important is to know your neighbours. Having an association within the estate, helps identify them and address issues formally if need to be, especially security and power losses or water shortages. There is equality and less discrimination too, plus you can share and appreciate each others professions and talents, for example if you are a teacher you can help another child or doctor and so on. But be careful not to judge and start doorstep gossip, this can give advantage to the househelps and easily assist in a robbery or car jacking incident. Be mature and respectful of each other.

Things go out of hand especially in party gatherings, whether large or small. There are usual parking issues and then the flow of strange people and their stranger habits. Again, if you have an established association, life is easier with rules and regulations. Things are kept in check. But if you don’t have one, then take the initiative to introduce yourself to the neighbourhood and exchange numbers. Thanks to WhatsApp many have helped each other in difficult times from attempted robberies, to finding a new maid or looking after the kids.

Talking about kids, when an estate doesn’t have a designated playground, there’s something wrong. Fair enough there is not enough space but then you are confining the children to the hell walls of their living rooms and here they shout, scream and jump around causing chaos for everyone else. You have to restrict this behaviour by all means, they need to learn discipline and if the parents are defeated, and you feel the situation is going out of control, call the Child Welfare Society of Kenya. Yes you can, if parents can’t manage the noise levels of their children, there is something wrong with the parents. Mind you, this is perfect territory for your maid to take full advantage and attack or steal from you. You are a potential threat to the entire neighbourhood.

If you have sent a legal notice to the neighbour to keep the noise down and still there is no change, then sue the landlord especially if you are the owner of your own apartment or townhouse. Surely there should be some level of decency to support your huge purchase of this property, after all it is an almost once in a lifetime spending. Get to know your neighbours enough to keep your boundaries clear and expectations simple.


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Posted by on July 8, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Let’s Talk About Sex, Point Blank with Asian Weekly 18th September 2015

Let’s Talk About “Sex”

Sex Education

The world has changed, people have changed, and information has changed. This is the new age and it comes with its advantages and disadvantages. The most vulnerable in all of this are the children, or perhaps not. They may just be holding the key to our future, maybe with robots? Yes, artificial intelligence is taking over the human race and maybe in 20 or 30 years time to come there are going to be lots of changes and replacements. But what about the human touch, mind and soul? We need to know our species and ourselves more and more than ever before. We need to be as many steps as forward as possible. I don’t mean to sound apocalyptic but that’s where we are headed.

But what does sex and education have to do with this? Hang on, it should be “sex education”. Right now sex is just a click away, accessible through a smart phone, in the Whatsapp messages, on the pornographic sites, on adult TV, in conversations at beer time, coffee time, phone time and the list goes on. It is no longer under a bed sheet, a corner, and car or after marriage. The AIDS epidemic may have threatened its openness but its back with a bigger bang especially with the gay rights granted in Ireland, USA and many other nations. Remember the gay pride flag is a rainbow, so you can’t cheat a child and tell him or her, “look honey- rainbow”.

The biggest fear is how much to tell the child and when to tell them. That depends on how much you know. How have you learnt about it, what have been your experiences, expectations, disappointments, highs and disgust? What does it mean to you as an individual and parent. Here is where is discussions with your parents may be helpful, but we all know that their generation was in the most taboo times, so that may not really work out. Then you are left with your own experiences and knowledge from the World Wide Web. As a parent you know your child best, you know how clever, dumb, curious or devious they are or can be. You want the best, you want to protect them, and you should arm them in every way possible.

Yes teachers play a big role by introducing the reproductive system to the students, but nowadays children really can tell a lot of things. In most cases they are able to tell the baby doesn’t come from the sky or delivered in a basket, they are almost prepared or know it comes from mum and dad, and how that happens is where you come in. The success of your relationship will also interpret what sex can mean to them, so be aware.

Sex education thus is important for all ages, especially the children. They need to know what happens and why, this may not have to be so scientific but more how it is a human thing (I don’t want to say habit, because some may interpret it is addiction). Forget the “birds and bees” talk you may need to get real with them. When your daughter is watching Taylor Swift or Katrina Kaif kissing Hrithik Roshan, she may be curious why and what is happening. You need to tell her. When your son is following Spiderman kissing upside down or Salman Khan not kissing even then you need to tell him why. They easily have access to YouTube and before you know it they are on a semi-porn film. Tablets and phones are excellent for their purpose but with children they need to be controlled. Sex education is explicitly available on the Internet and you also don’t want them to know too much. We are not in search for a misguided Mr Grey for the future.

Have that talk soon, don’t wait, they already know too much.

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Posted by on September 18, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Is Whatsapp Better Than Face to Face? Point Blank with Asian Weekly 17th July 2015

Is Whatsapp Better Than Face to Face?

Whatsapp Courtesy Loacity

Whatsapp Courtesy Loacity

Once upon a time when you visited an office, you were greeted by an old-fashioned mature lady receptionist sitting behind a big wooden desk and were asked to sit at their leather couches. That might be the case for most Government or Public Offices, but there has been tremendous change in the private sector. Now you will find a younger, trendier receptionist sitting behind a metallic, semi-MDF desk and told to sit on metallic or stylish plastic chairs. If the furniture and set up of an office can change then why not other things, such as communication?

Formal communication in a company was via Memos, registers, notes or meetings. You couldn’t approach the Boss without an appointment with the PA, while in big corporations that may stay, things have become very informal. Ever since the invention of the Smart Phone and the chat app called WhatsApp a lot of barriers have broken down. I still remember calling the Boss’s extension was such a big deal, it meant you are in trouble or have bad news to give. Then getting their mobile number was a privilege. Now, all goes, you can send jokes, quotes or messages to your Boss and the top management team. It is part of the informal communication.

But does work get done? Amazingly in Kenya it does. Most developed countries still rely on email communication and many meetings. However in Kenya mobile usage is still the highest and meetings are nearly only done because the companies have to fulfill the ISO quotas. Having a company Whatsapp group does help because you are able to transmit announcements easily and nobody ignores their phone so you are guaranteed feedback. The only drawback is when the casualness kicks in, and the English language goes out the window. There is nothing more irritating than slang words or short codes in an office chat. Calling each other pet names is also immature. Then things get personal and people start building camps within the office. This starts the breakdown of the office morale. That’s why you must create a WhatsApp group per event, department or for a clear goal. For example a WhatsApp group between the tea ladies versus the Accounts department becomes seeds for office gossip.

Gossip can destroy lives but can also destroy the objective, the mission and vision of the company. Don’t let the chat system ruin the real message you are trying to get across or achieve. It is also not the most secure form of office communication. Your competitor or anybody interested in getting secrets can easily hack into your WhatsApp chats and find out all that doesn’t need to get out. WhatsApp is effective to reach out to your customers, not for gossip or office details but announcements.

There is also a huge social pressure in a group chat within the office. If you leave the group, eyebrows are raised, if you don’t participate or react to the messages, then even there is a problem. Most people are not so chatty in words and find it very difficult to express themselves or sometimes that it’s a waste of time, so if they did answer with one letter or one word replies, people stop liking them. When someone is too chatty then there can be an impression that he or she has nothing else to do. By the way it doesn’t take too long before a fight erupts and names are called on such a chat too, so watch out.

There is nothing like a one on one meeting, you can see each other’s eyes, body language and connect with what is on the table- an important matter, problem, good news or an announcement too.

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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Uncategorized


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