Mxit: The social broadcast network

29 November 2011

At its most basic level, a social network is a “bush telegraph” system.[1]

This seems particularly apt for a network such as Mxit when one considers that most of Africa is bush and Mxit is the biggest social network in Africa! And since man originated in Africa, that would make Mxit the heir apparent for the global “bush telegraph.”

Unfortunately, it would seem that others have beaten Mxit to the punch…

Is the race over? I don’t think so.  The race has only begun, and whilst Mxit is lagging in the middle of the pack globally, it is way out in front in Africa. This is a marathon and sprinters don’t win marathons. Marathons are won with stamina, perseverance and focus, and more generally by Kenyans or Ethiopians!

The tortoise and the hare fable comes to mind. Slow and steady wins the race. Will Mxit be the tortoise that comes from behind? Only time will tell…

It is possible we are confusing who the opposition is. Is Mxit really up against the likes of WhatsApp and BBM? Is Mxit a pure social network?

The definition of “social network” does not do justice to Mxit’s unique ability to communicate and mobilise its community. Every day, over 44million registered Mxit users can receive a message from Mxit in their inbox. “Happy birthday Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu.” “Vote for Table Mountain as one of the new 7 wonders of the world.” “Grow your Mo for Movember in support of cancer awareness.”

Mxit speaks to its community. In the case of the campaign for the New 7 Wonders of the World, Mxit mobilized its community to make 16million votes over two weeks.

Facebook is to social networks as Sony is to TV. It is the box through which the content is broadcast. Mxit is both the box and the content. Mxit is both the TV-set and the SABC. Mxit is not only a social network. It is also a broadcaster.

Maybe we need a new category definition for Mxit. “Social broadcast network.” The biggest social broadcast network in Africa. Are there any others in the world?


[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bush+telegraph