KpakpatoyaTM is a repository for what's new, popular and relevant on the Internet with a focus on Africa. Users like you can submit content and decide, through voting, what's good (kiffs) and what's junk (zaps). Links that receive community approval raise towards the top, so the front page is constantly in motion and (hopefully) filled with fresh, interesting links. KpakpatoyaTM is part of the Evasium Network.
"Kpakpatoya" is a term from the Ivorian slang which indicates the act of spreading rumors, passing on supposed stories relating to surrounding things, events and people. In our context, it would therefore be appropriate to understand "kpakpatoya" with regard to scoops, gossips and even compelling news.
2. Historical Context
April 2011. The Ivory Coast was then emerging from a major crisis, a crisis in which information and communication technologies have played an important role in providing practical assistance to related casualties. Beyond simple commenting, hashtags such as #CIV2010 and #CIVSocial were used to spread critical news and provide concrete solutions to these victims. Through donations, call centers and notably Twitter, which then comes up as the ideal tool for broadcasting urgent information in real time.
The Ivorian community on Twitter was growing and booming, with more and more registrations, tweets and contributions. But that community was still relatively small in terms of numbers. For such a small group on Twitter, how to get together, and exchange around common themes? Through the #Hashtags again, of course... On online social networks, the Hashtag is a word or set of words preceded by the symbol '#'. The hashtag is used to centralize messages around a specific term. It acts as a keyword so that users can follow, comment on a conversation or get together around a topic, for example the measures of refueling in times of crisis or even medical emergencies.
But in this post-war period, it was time to switch to less sinister tags. #Kpakpatoya was quite timely for this small community seeking to gather in an atmosphere that could be described as "cool". It was the tag that these Ivorian "influencers" and "pioneers" on Twitter used to do without local news, inside jokes, viral content, or other kinds of interesting information, including sports events, (technology) conferences, or day-to-day life.
Detecting a chance to improve some socio-technological conditions, I launched the kpakpatoya.com website in that same period. At the beginning, it was just a flow of tweets around the #Kpakpatoya feed + a few extra features, including a summary of local and international news published in real time. Then I tried with varying degrees of success to offer some applications such as some discussion forums, the blog and the ability to tweet directly from the web site. I had also opened the Twitter account @kpakpatoya and arranged the mobile application implementation, which still present the news, as well as the Facebook page and the website.
Through this form of ecosystem, and a combination of technical and social skills, the hashtag #Kpakpatoya grew in popularity. By following the thread #kpakpatoya, it was easy to find CIV culture sympathizers, their news, as well as the most popular local themes, even for a newcomer.
3 years later, the Ivorian Web scene turned into a completely different form...
On the one hand, this virtual community has expanded a lot, which is most welcomed, since there is a lot more content, web projects, web entrepreneurs, bloggers, users, etc. Except that a simple hashtag is not enough anymore for an effective exploration of the content. It would not be practical to communicate around a single hashtag. Of course, there is always the option to "break down", to use the alternative hashtags that have emerged in the meantime (although #Kpakpatoya remains one of the most popular tags). That's a good solution, provided one can constantly be aware of new users and tags to follow, so as not to get lost in all this volume of content, and not to miss the most relevant and recent information..
On the other hand, there has been very little evolution when it comes to the #Kpakpatoya project, whether it be in terms of technology, computer graphics, communication, infrastructure, etc. The Facebook page has less than 2000 fans, the Twitter page has around 8000 followers, the mobile application is obsolete, and until recently, the components of the website that had a lot of success in the first few months have been almost neglected (I will spare you the numbers related to the decrease in web traffic). There are almost no contributors to the progress of the project, there are just the users. This could have been a decent community project, but instead it was reduced to a latent state.
It is true that the community was formed in a rather organic way, there was no concrete strategy, everything happened gradually and naturally, which perhaps explains the cool-down after the buzz effect had passed, each party being concerned with their own projects. I must admit that the applications I wrote as part of this project were essentially in maintenance mode and that I had moved on to other things myself. Anyway, no one stepped up.
A wise man once said: If there is anything potentially interesting and you do not understand why nobody does it, it's because you haven't done it either. That's DIY: Do It Yourself.
I therefore take over the lead on this project to try and produce something useful. In recent weeks, my team and myself have been doing some renovations, trying to produce a more interactive platform (with some added value, if at all possible) in order to facilitate meetings, exchanges and content management within the community.
KpakpatoyaTM is powered by Evasium ®, a small team of technology enthusiasts. We basically make Internet software. We focus on building edutainment-oriented web/client applications.
On KpakpatoyaTM, you can discuss pretty much anything, but the most welcomed topics are : Buzz, Clash, Economics & Politics, Culture, Insolite, Local News, Africa, Sport, Diaspora.
Beyond the option to read news, it is now a matter of adding a touch of interactivity, where everyone can share links, discuss, comment and vote on the existing notes. A Kiff is a positive vote (like a "like", a "+1") for a note. A Zap is the opposite, it is a negative vote for a note. Any Kpakpatoya user may kiff or zap a note, and since the score of the note depends on the difference between his kiffs and his zaps, each vote helps to establish the position of the note in the Kpakpatoya ranking. The notes could be listed in order of popularity, to allow the next visitors to spot the best content.
Nothing too complex, it's just a sharing system as found everywhere on the Web. For example, tech entrepreneurs have Hacker News, Americans came up with Reddit, French cybernauts have tapemoi.com. The concept has existed for a while, it's just that there was no Ivorian/African version.
KpakpatoyaTM is available in 2 languages.
KpakpatoyaTM may (or may not) become a reference point in terms of news and "affairages" for Ivorian web users. But that's not the main goal here. The current goal is to provide a useful tool for expanding the sharing options for local content, and to implement the long overdue Kpakpatoya renovation.
On a more personal note, I think we should rather see this project as an experience that could potentially help to optimize the visibility of online African content.
For having managed the website, the Facebook account and the Twitter account of KpakpatoyaTM over the last 3 years, it seems to me that many followers expect a better interaction system and they strive for a better visibility for their content, namely their projects, links published, or simple opinions and comments. Therefore, it is possible that this version of the site meets their expectations to some extent.
There are still many things we could add or improve, we can do it as we go along, while taking users feedback into consideration, but the prototype of this new version is relatively stable, and what is needed now is trying it. That is to say, create your account, test the different forms of interaction, provide your feedback and share the link with your contacts so that they can do the same.