Tag Archives: mxit

How Twitter is changing lives on the Cape Flats and beyond

Over the last two years Twitter had a very big impact on the lives of many in the RLabs community on the Cape Flats. The journey with this micro-blogging platform started in 2008 when a number of young men and women were introduced to Twitter for the first time by Rafiq Philips from Web Addicts fame. Most of this group were ex-drug addicts and ex-gang members who found Twitter to be an outlet where they can share their voices of Hope. In the beginning stages all the tweets were between the group encouraging one another and telling their stories of hope to the rest of their followers. What we saw was that the lives of those tweeting had a major transformation not just by the stories (See Video below) they were sharing but also having an impact offline. Instead of only using twitter as a news, media and sharing online tool it was also used as a gateway to positive messages that the group could disseminate offline with family, friends and wider community. These ex-gangsters were now calling themselves “Twitter Gangsters” also known as “Twitsters” even had the opportunity to share some of their stories at a World Bank event. One of the “Twitsters” (aka Brent Williams – no relation to Evan Williams) who was an ex-gang leader said he has more followers on Twitter than what he had when he was leading a notorious gang and he can now through Twitter leave positive footprints in the community.

It did not stop there, the group who were trained in using Twitter then started the Twitter School where they empowered women in the community to share their stories and encouraging one another. These Twitter Schools also moved into public areas where Social Media Surgeries were hosted to share twitter with community members.

This gave birth to the world’s FIRST Social Media Factory, where trained community members who are unemployed are given opportunities to create extra income through being part of a team managing social media strategies for businesses, organisations, schools and public figures. This meant that those organisations who are in need of having their Social Media Strategy being managed or outsourced not only get access to these services at very good prices but also the teams implementing these strategies will consist of a mix of experts and community members like our Twitsters and Twitter moms. Exciting when a housewife who have no other form of income can use her Twitter skills and manage the Twitter stream for an organisation via her mobile phone. She would then be rewarded for each tweet thus being able to make a basic living via the Social Media Factory system. No wonder one of these moms shared some insight to why she believe all women should be on twitter (See video below).

However what really got us excited was when we were able to give people in need access to our advice and support services via Twitter. This meant that access to LIVE support in the area of substance abuse, abuse, depression, stress and coping and debt counselling were now only a tweet or instant message away. These services extended beyond just the Cape Flats and reached the rest of Southern Africa.

Although most of the users accessing these services do so via Mobile IMs such as MXit the opportunity to reach wider audiences with Twitter has assisted us reaching close to 200,000 users to our mobile support services. The integration of Twitter with JamiiX gives us hope that we would be able to extend what we are doing to other parts of the world and changing it one tweet at a time….

Source: Technology For Community Empowerment



Filed under Innovation, Mobi, News, Social Media

RLabs Mobile Services

October has been a busy month providing support to thousands via the RLabs mobile services (Angel on MXit and DAS@jamiix.im). Both these services are unique in that it offer subscribers to these channels a wide range of social services that they can access. Angel (Sponsored by MXit and RLabs) is an information portal that provides its users access to information related to substance abuse, stress and coping, depression, debt counselling, educational opportunities etc. The DAS@jamiix.im contact is a LIVE support service provided by RLabs and Impact Direct (Sponsored by JamiiX) where users can have real time conversations with trained counsellors in a number of social areas.

October has been a very busy month on these services and we just want to share some of our activity via these offerings. In total both these RLabs services have 109,107 subscribers indicating the power of using mobile phones to provide social services to communities. In addition to the RLabs mobile services other offerings such as HIV, Debt and Lifeskills which is supported by RLabs serves a further 87,344subscribers bringing the total number of people being supported via the mobile channels to 196,451.

Some demographics of interest to the above services show that the age group with the highest number of users subscribing to the RLabs services are users aged 18-25. See graph below for distribution of our subscribers by age:

The subscribers with regard to gender is distributed evenly (See graph below):

The Top 5 social services most frequently accessed by the mobile subscribers are:

1) Stress
2) Depression
3) Drug Addiction
4) Educational Services
5) Relationship related

The total number of interactions during October for the Angel and DAS services were 512,791 and proves the increased activity of engagement using low cost chat platforms such as MXit.

Source: Technology for Community Empowerment


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JamiiX: Using Mobile Phones and Cloud Computing to Change Lives

The last week has been exciting at RLabs as their JamiiX counselling team have been working hard in changing the world one message at a time. JamiiX is a cloud-based solution allowing its users to manage conversations via various Social Network Chat and Instant Messengers. Typically described as a “Contact Centre on the Go”. During a session the following is achieved per hour:

– Each advisor have an average of 40 users (250 – 300 users are assisted per hour)
– Average of 20,000 messages are exchanged per hour
– 5% of conversations during a session will receive an offline referral
– 2 out of 5 Users are new to the service
– Bulk of our users communicate via Mobile Chat platform MXit

What really excites us is when we hear stories of people whose lives are being changed because of the members of the community who sacrificially offer their time to help those in need. Today was another such day where one of the JamiiX Mobile Counsellors met with a subscriber to the service offline for further support. Well done to all at RLabs for the amazing work you are doing and we celebrate with you and the rest of the online community through the BEES Awards finalist nomination dedicated to you.

Source: RLabs

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Drug Advice and Support hits 100k

In 2008 I was part of a team that launched a online mobile chat platform for drug users. This chat platform gives them an opportunity  to chat with the services’”counsellors” when they feel the urge to use drugs. Last week the RLabs Social Services broke the 100,000 users barrier on both the Drug Advice and Support (DAS) and Angel platform. The Angel service is a information service that runs 24 hours a day providing users access to relevant info in the area of drug addiction, abuse, depression and stress.

How to access Angel on MXit:

– Go to Menu
– Contacts
– Add Contacts
– MXit Services
– Add the following (Service Name: Angel, Nickname: Angel)
– Accept Contact

The software being use for the Drug Advice and Support is JamiiX

Source: kingross


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Blog from MXit to WordPress or Chisimba

Have you ever thought about blogging from your not so ‘smartphone’ where you don’t have a simple to use WordPress app to make blogging available at your fingertips? If you answered yes OR can if you can imagine life without your smartphone then you would know the challenge RLabs was faced with over the past few weeks trying find a method that was easy enough to use for a group of people who 2 weeks ago knew nothing about social media. Read more about the Kujali project here.

Rlabs asked Gerhard Potgieter the owner and founder of iGeek for assistance. Here is the solution he thought of and came up with together with Paul Scott.

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Latest Social Media in numbers

Below is a guest blog post from RLabs (11 June 2010)…

AS we continue seeing the rise and growth of Social Media accross various industries, it is clear that we are seeing large volumes joining the bandwagon. Below we share some of the statistics proving that Social Media is still breaking ground. How long this will last will depend on how its being used by businesses, non-profit organisations, governments, communities and youth at large.


– It is estimated that Facebook has reached over 500million users.
– People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook and the average user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events
– More than 500,000 active applications are currently on the Facebook Platform
– Approximately 250 million users log into Facebook daily
– More than 100 million active users currently accessing the site via mobile technology.

– Twitter indicated that it has more than 190 million users tweeting with more than 65 million tweets a day. (South Africa has 55,000 active twitter users as indicated in a recent study.)
– The use of an open API ensures that 75% of Twitter traffic is generated from outside of twitter.com
– Approximately 65% of the world’s top 100 companies have a twitter account
– Twitter’s search engine gets more than 600 million queries a day. Monthly, this is proportionately more than Bing and Yahoo.
– There are more than 70,000 applications currently using Twitters API

MXit (South African based Mobile Social Network):
– More than 20 million users in South Africa growing at 4000 new users per day.
– Estimated 25 million users log into MXit daily
– Approximately 350 million messages are share via MXit per day.

The above is just an indication of how Social Media is still growing and being adopted by users hungry for sharing and engaging via the web and increasingly more so via mobile.

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Mobile Phones for Social Change reaches 130,000


Guest Post by Rlabs:

With the celebration of drug awareness week in conjunction with MXitRLabs increased its counsellor capacity and had a massive growth in the Angel user numbers. Angel is an information portal providing support to users in the areas of substance abuse, abuse, depression, stress and coping. Today the Angel information service passed the 40,000 subscriber barrier and in conjunction withRED HIV/AIDS information service (60,000+ users) by Cell Life and our various Mobile Counselling services (30,000+ subscribers accross services) RLabs with its partners have reached over 130,000 users via mobile phones for Social Change. This is only the beginning as many more services will be deployed over the next few weeks (via MXit and JamiiX) to bring about social change in Communities in Tension.

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