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Opinions of Monday, 23 April 2018

Columnist: H. Bernard Nii Ofori-Quaye

Impact of new media on African politics

The use of new media or better pronounce social media has expand it leverage and traction among Africans in today’s globalization where the internet (2.0.) has embrace conversational everyday interactive online media activities

Globally, the use new media/social media platforms are becoming a major outlet and easy-to-read written medium via web pages, specialized sites for instant charting among others but beyond the written word and sharing of images and emojis, new media in addition provide a podium or a channel for humankind in expression of visual arts via art, photo and video sharing sites. This opportunity to produce and shares across all the arts of expression has fuelled the rapid growth in world population demands for the use of new media to communicate via computer-mediated communications.

The new media or social media like other forms of media has its own importance and use. For instance, a voter can view a political party’s & politician’s profile on their party’s website or he might read from political blogs to share or comments his views or ideas on the same blog for immediate reaction or feedback by the political party, this helps the voter to understand what he is expecting from the future government and accordingly vote based on his logical conclusion on the political party agenda.

In order to create a right impact, a political party needs to make its presence felt on at least: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr. They’re the fastest growing and farthest reaching of social networks; also, they represent four distinct ways of publishing to and connecting with voters.

I must say that political communications have been driven not by government but by third parties counterparts i.e. citizens networks or groups, social organizations and affiliations or non-profits organizations - seeking to encourage greater involvement of populace in politics. Therefore, social media used in politics is binding public through its quick and two-way communication.

Again political campaign in every election plays a very critical and crucial role during, before and after any major election. It showcases the party profile, mission, aims and how to map up strategy in order to achieve goals in near future.

Above all campaigning in any political arena has a very strong effect and outcome on how the electorates turn out. Thus this brings the political parties or rather the field of politics to the concept of online campaigning through the use of new media or social media which is by far very less explored in Africa.

It is unfortunate that political parties in African have not yet identified the power of new media or social media and how it can be used to reach out to millions of populace at the same time with less-budget on media campaign because more politicians either young or old are actively using new media with multiple mobile phones.

As a researcher in the area of how third world countries will use new media or social media to the benefits of business or in political party activities, I was stun and daze because most political parties in Africa do not have their own corporate blogs and other online portals to inform and educate their followers about their aims and vision rather individual and powerful figures within the same political party have it own perhaps media network , this show that ; our political leaders at any given time will put materials things and self –styled promotion ahead of the citizenry needs and country development.

At the moment new media has added extra value to flow of communication which allows website users to share content and media activities and also double as a platform to response to feedback from users. The most known or popular new media networking sites such as Facebook, instagram, MySpace, Friendster, Snapchat, YouTube, Photobucket, Flickr, Twitter, Pinterest and other sites aimed at photo and video sharing.

In conclusion, I can testify that in today’s globalization world, new media or social media are critical tools for marketing and integrating approach to any issues which focused on relationship marketing and amalgamate of business variable rather than the erstwhile transactional orientation of marketing and reaching out to people.

Social media I must say can be the keys to the customer purchasing journey from the need recognition stage to the post-purchase stage which will be a major function in the domain of Public Relations function with the aim of building a sustained and mutually beneficial relationship between corporate entities, political or social organizations and their customers/consumers, either existing or prospective.

The writer is a communication specialist with more emphasis on communication auditing and international relation issues.