“social media, instead of providing “endless opportunities” for personal and business interaction, had become host to negative and untrue opinions.”
When social media proliferated, it seemed, not so long ago that, it was not for the serious, business minded and definitely not for politicians and governments. In a matter of months after society was sharing photos, statuses and trending, they (all mentioned above) came along boasting of expensive suits, lingo, social topics to discuss; a meet the people platform that could facilitate campaign drives with little or no cost at all compared to their former ways of print, print and more print.
They could rally the masses with a single message and change perceptions with a photo. Such has been the magic of social media in their hands.
But alas! When we, who have been nothing but social and needing the same platforms to engage with distant loved ones and occasionally to vent our anger when a lover enstranges, decide also to vent our anger at the same institutions and individuals that invaded our social space, exposing them to what they really are. Kleptocrats, murderers and liers.
When their ‘higher than thou’social statuses are now questioned and laid bare for all to see, plan to regulate, block or ban a thread to society that has done nothing but give people the power to be heard.
All the people want is to be treated as people, not as stooges and rags. As a politician, government, political party, with the eagerness to listen, social media could make your job easier. What you simply feed into it, is what you get out of it. Its the basics of social media.
You feed the people with lies and fancy words and empty promises, they will retaliate with excessive frustrations, e-mails, petitions and ‘youmustfall’ hashtags. It is what it is. The more they twit, the more the noise is heard and the larger the masses gunning for your head.
It is simply outrageous for a ruling government to think that no-one else can do a better job than themselves let alone fail to attract criticism for their actions.
A lot of what is happening today is not as a result of the abuse of social media platforms but rather poor decision making by people in positions of power leading to mass protests through this medium.
Social media has done nothing wrong than good (mostly), highlighting areas that were hidden away by propaganda filled machinery and given them a good run for their money. They have simply been put to the test and have had to re-think on strategies of how best to fabricate lies without the truth coming out in the open.
In instances where a lie has been spread online, retractions, apologies and the delete button has been the most effective way of dealing with it, perhaps African states shivering and gnawning their teeth over their so called claims of ‘social media abuse’ should consider ways of having the masses verify information passed on the net. One such suggestion is to have their people on the ground, conveying messages to the rest of us and becoming a source of information rather than a mere consumer.
The recent ugly tensions between foreigners and locals in a part of Pretoria could have easily been understood if councillors of these areas where up to date and feeding the rest of the country on the issues pertaining their area instead of disproving online messages that went viral because someone fed the nation with their worst fears!
Mahlobo statement is not entirely false. People do spread “opinions” and there are entitled to them, its their right. How on earth can they want to regulate what someone is saying on their own capacity as a social platform user? It baffles the mind. Even if you go the route of banning a platform, thousands of others will spring up and people will still have a voice.
Governments such as the one here in South Africa must desist from threatening the right to media freedom and freedom of expression of the people.
If you want to trend, rather get rid of the rot, crime, inequalities and all evil that has befallen the nations, then our twits will change and our posts will be nothing but happy times. Think about it.