Today’s digital content creator in Kenya, and the world over, is a moving work of art.
If they are not on a movie or TV set, unboxing a new device or streaming their brunch live, then they are probably busy planning their next post. While this lifestyle keeps the rest of us glued to their pages, connecting with friends and families becomes a tricky task for many of them as they quickly move from one thing to another.
Therefore, chatting and expressing themselves easily is key for them and Opera’s chat service, Hype, is steadily becoming the platform of choice for content creators and influencers. Meet three of them – Victor Maina (below), Wanjiru Njiru (pictured, top) and Sami Flinch (below).
Opera was launched in Kenya in February 2021, and it has reshaped the idea of mobile browsers by providing users with a personalized, engaging browsing and chatting experience. In essence, Hype allows you to continue chatting with your friends while seamlessly browsing the internet without compromising speed or driving increased data consumption. Cool, right?
“I wasn’t so sure about it at first until I saw Hype adverts on social media. I noticed it’s embedded in the Opera Mini browser which I was already using because I read my news from it,” says Victor Maina.
“Since I’m on film sets a lot, I prefer texting to calling. The best feature on Hype for me is the stickers. It has words I use on a daily basis in Sheng or Swahili, in stickers designed by talented Kenyan designers. I love this feature.” he adds. These unique stickers were created by Kenyan artists Brian Omolo and Lulu Kitololo, making Opera the first major browser to integrate African pop culture into its products.
“Kenyans are so talented, but unfortunately not enough of the spotlight is put on them. Collaborations like this give our artists a platform to express themselves, creating and showcasing Kenyan culture in different ways. I would love to buy merchandise made from Hype stickers, that is how good they look,” Victor notes.
Sami Flinch, an entertainer and DJ, agrees. “It’s great to finally use stickers that I feel represent me as a Kenyan through the Hype chat service. The collaboration with Kenyan artists has a great impact and I would love to see more Kenyan creatives jumping on board. For instance, the Matwana Matatu Culture would represent the Kenyan culture very well,” he says.
While Hype has blazed the trail by providing a truly authentic chat service to Kenyans, already showing impressive results with more than 690k activations and more than 10k invites to join Hype per day, the fact that it is embedded into the Opera Mini browser is what’s truly a game changer.
Fashion Stylista and Digital creator Wanjiru Njiru agrees, noting that she loves to multitask, so being able to browse the internet, message her friends and easily share information makes her work far easier. “Everyone I know who tried Hype ended up loving it, because it makes life so easy,” she adds.
“Hype fits into my busy lifestyle – and my favourite feature is the cool Kenyanised stickers. I think lots of Kenyans can relate to them. You should see how I use them in almost all of my conversations on Hype! Haha Niaje?” she says, referencing one of the most-used stickers on Hype so far.
When Hype was launched, the idea was to redefine the features a browser should have. Since then, Opera has raised the bar by adding further engaging features such as GIF support, a unique built-in meme creator, and link previews to make chatting even more personal. Two weeks ago, a new feature dubbed Hype Clubs was added as well, and it has been an instant hit with users. Hype Clubs allows those with similar interests to find and chat with each other as part of interest-based communities.
“Meme culture is a very big part of my online life, as is the case with every millennial. And now we have a messaging app where we can create something of our own, adds Wanjiru.
Fellow Digital Creator Victor Maina agrees that it is amazing the things you can do on Hype, especially with the WebSnap feature and link preview options. “It’s crazy how hilarious and fun conversations can be when people are given material to work with. Especially with people who share the same sense of humor. Sometimes I even come up with a video or photo concept right in my chats. It’s pretty cool,” he quips.
WebSnap allows Hype users to take snapshots from the web. Once a websnap is captured, users can edit it by adding colors, text, and emojis to make it fun and entertaining before sharing it with others.
When Hype was launched, Jørgen Arnesen, Executive Vice President of Mobile Browsers Business Unit, said that with Opera Mini and a Hype account users can enjoy a browsing and chatting ecosystem tailored to their needs. Based on the experience of these two digital content creators, Hype is truly meeting that expectation.
On what makes Hype unique, the three content creators agree that it feels like Hype was made specifically for them and their lifestyles.
Wanjiru Njiru says “The way the app has been customized to fit the user is great, and the ability to create your own stickers is unique.” Victor Maina adds ”The fact that you can create memes and share them with your friends on the go makes Hype unique.”
For his part, Sami Flinch notes that “Hype is the only app that makes chatting feel Kenyan.”
While Hype is just six months old, it reiterates Opera’s commitment to investing and growing its digital ecosystem in Africa, with the goal of bringing more people online.
“Believe the Hype,” says Victor.