Social media and the demotic turn in Africa's media ecology

Farooq A. Kperogi, Kennesaw State University


Social media platforms have exploded in the last decade and have emerged as the arenas for discursive democracy, sociality, and digital dissidence across Africa. This article historicizes and genealogizes the exponential, if slightly imperceptible but nonetheless phenomenal, growth, maturation, and spread of social media on a continent that had been described in the scholarly literature as the blackhole of informational capitalism. It argues that the progressive centrality of social media in the quotidian lives of Africans, which has invited consternation and censorship from many African governments and inspired precarity in the traditional media sphere, instantiates the materialization of the demotic turn in communication, which situates the ordinary person as the fulcrum of the communicative process.