Phelix Juma (left), Sidney Rema (right) and Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (centre). PHOTOS | COURTESY
Here Are the Kenyan Students Giving Facebook a Run for its Money
Move over Facebook, introducing a Kenyan developed networking website, VoSpine.
The social networking website was developed by two University of Nairobi students from the frustration of viewing inappropriate content shared by their younger friends on Facebook.
From the experience, they decided to develop a networking website that will give users a chance to sieve information shared by other users – who are called spiners on this platform.
Sidney Rema, a third year medical student, and Phelix Juma, also a third year engineering student, launched the website last month and so far have more than 1500 users.
The website has 17 different channels that are classified according to topics of discussion to ensure a user only gets information that is of interest to them.
Mr Rema told Nairobi News that the idea to start a website that is audience specific was born during a research on Facebook.
LOSING INTEREST IN FACEBOOK
“Early this year we were doing a study in which we found that people are slowly losing interest in Facebook because they felt they had outgrown it, they felt teenagers were sharing content that was not appropriate,” said Mr Rema.
He then started brainstorming with friends on how they would create a networking website that would give users a chance to choose the content they wanted.
“In May this year, we started working on the VoSpine site using the web developing knowledge we had acquired while working on other projects at Equity Group Foundation,” said Mr Rema.
The site was launched in September this year with its first users being third year students of both medicine and engineering courses at the university.
“After we launched the site our classmates joined it and gave us feedback on the channels we needed to add, growing the number of channels from 24 to 28. We have the latest channel a book club which was suggested by a user,” added Mr Rema.
The students hope to attract thousands of users by the end of the year and eventually grow to be a large networking website where advertisers can eye their specific target audiences.
Currently, the students are working with 17 other college-mates who act as channel marketers. The group helps to develop content for the different channels from newssites as well as manage them.
Their project was recently lauded by the institution through its website where a story on the student’s initiative was published.
The students have several mentors who have joined VoSpine including Equity Bank’s James Mwangi who mentor users in the channels that are related to the industry they are in.
“We knew him (Mwangi) personally as we were in the Equity Group Foundation so when we approached him seeking mentorship for our users he obliged,” said Mr Rema.
– Nairobi News