By Leonard Koni.
Cape Town. (South Africa) – Social media are computer-mediated technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual and communities network.
Social media facilitate the development of online social networks by connecting a user’s profile with those of other individuals or groups.
Zimbabwe is going through a new political wave and transformation politically, economically and socially.
There is no short circuting in politics. There is also need to reform the media so as to create a uniformed balanced reporting and make the playing field even. The moment the government put restrictive measures on the media the more the social media become so radical, self regulate and will erupt like a volcano cultivating a hyperbole effect. People will find their way to communicate their social ills affecting their societies.
The slow gate keeping and injection of news from the government controlled media has caused the high demand of news from a political savvy society of Zimbabwe. The country has only one television channel and that has increased the use of social media and has successfully filled the gap. The increased demand of news and the desire to know what is really taking place within the political corridors in the country, has driven the young people to create a social networking route and by pass the mainstream controlled government media organisations.
The ongoing social political media will have a great impact in this year’s forthcoming elections 2018 as most Zimbabweans have been sharing news through these platforms.
The most prevalent media which has been used to share stories has been the Whatsapp social media and politicians have been using such a communicating channel to disseminate programmes of their poitical activities.
No doubt this cheap mode of communication is very affordable and it has become so common and has taken a lead as a new modern way of communicating and has been used as a campaigning tool by politicians to the electorate. Campaigning has been taking place through this social media platform.
The Whatsapp is even hitting and penetrating the most remotest areas where people are discussing about what their respective parties and candidates are offering. It has become an easy way of interacting with each other.
Though abused sometimes but the social media’s competitive advantage has outweighed its disadvantages. It has the capacity to give a final blow and reach its intended consumer if it is well managed.
There are also issues where the social media has the capacity to change the political views of individuals as much as it changed their way of thinking through shared videos, messages and pictures on certain issues related to them.
People continue to share wedding photos and videos accidents scenes even job opportunities and placements through the social media because of their convenience.
A picture speaks more than words and audios too. Most people are no longer docile and have adapted very well in the modern trend of communicating. They can also detect and scrutinize the type of the messages they are bombarded with on daily basis and can easily pick between the truths and lies being peddled. A politician who will ignore this social stratum will ignore it at their own peril.
We have also seen President Emmerson Mnangagwa being interactive with followers on his both facebook and twitter accounts. He saw the power, effect and importance of the social media and both his pages are doing well.
People want new things and are accustomed to such. We are in a new modern world where technology is quickly overtaking or has already overtaken the dark age. We have also witnessed more high ranking Presidents like Donald Trump, Uhuru Kenyatta, Ian Khama just to mention a few who are on twitter and government officials like the embattled Professor Jonathan Moyo.
The world of politics has taken a new twist, we now have more politicians who are now on these social media such as twitter , instagram and facebook as a way of communicating with their followers informing them of their progress they are making in their respective portfolios. For a good example legislators like MDC-T Vice President Hon Nelson Chamisa and Hon Temba Mliswa have been twitting to the people. Every serious politician who is serious of making an impact on the election campaign must hit the ground running with the social media using vernacular languages.
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