Kenyan company rolls out social media monitoring tool ahead of elections

Kenya-based new media company African Laughter has launched a social media monitoring phone app to help politicians monitor their reputations online.

Named Track-All, the app delivers “every media and social media mention on any subject as real-time alerts to phones”.

The app was developed in eight months at a cost approaching KSh5 million. It analyses mentions on social networking platforms including Facebook and Twitter for ‘sentiment’, alerting users to positive or negative posts. It can also show social media users who comment most on a post and the top keywords.

“With this phone app, we’ve opened media monitoring directly to all who need it, made it effortless, and built software that analyses what’s being said for its impact,” Jenny Luesby, African Laughter’s managing director, said in a statement.

The app is designed for political, issue-based and public opinion research although, according to African Laughter, it bears a different format for corporate reputation and PR. It is currently being targeted at candidates in the general election scheduled for March next year.

“We’ve experienced much more interest from ODM candidates than any others,” said Luesby. “In terms of sales and presentations, we’re very actively engaged with a range of candidates, but still only a small proportion of all the candidates in the coming election.”

According to the Communication Commission of Kenya (CCK) in its June 2012 report, there were nearly 6.49 million Internet subscriptions, up from 6.15 million in the previous quarter. This growth was partly attributed to the increasing use of the social media.

With social media becoming a hotbed for political debate, experts say developers and politicians can no longer ignore this mobile and Web technology.

Track-All, developed by the company’s head of IT Dennis Rwito and Appcircus competition winner Isaac Osiemo, will be available with a free 7-day trial and different grades of service, offering from one to five users and one to three searches.

A 6-month license will cost between KSh60,000 and KSh120,000, depending on the levels of analytical features demanded. The packages can be subscribed to using the M-Pesa mobile money service.

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