FOLLOW THE LEADER
A political party in South Africa such as Agang has joined the social media trend and so can others join too. Not only do ordinary people interact on social networks but also political leaders. A brief comment and constant updates keeps one party ahead of another.
Twitter has given a voice of unleashing hidden complaints directly. A more broad way of communicating and an appropriate way of saying what is necessary. While some may say the tweets of Agang or any other party are ridiculous.
Social media can be seen as a negative impact towards society, the kind of words used and who it is directed to. There could be an issue of conflict or a disagreement among parties with different views, policies and the caution of revealing private discussions. As well as how a member communicates with another party. It is always important to keep in mind what could be the further outcome of what is being said or posted. The consequences of raising one’s opinion could be risky and unnecessary.
Mxit app has shown a tremendous path for parties to reach out to youngsters. It has over 200 000 subscribers which makes a positive outcome for political parties to interact with the youth. Personal views can be shared comfortably from teenagers to active politicians. (Phakathi, 2014).
One needs to understand the power of social media. Political parties will find it useful to remain active online. It is seen as one of the key tools used by political candidates that engage with young voters. A cell phone makes it easier for an average South African from 15-34years old to get involved and express their views.
The youth live in a digital age, a generation that is not fully informed by their own knowledge but by the reports and research found on internet or Facebook. A new trend of engaging with political parties through social media.
Today parties have shown more interest in social media. ANC has the most followers in South Africa ranking it number one while EFF is ranked the least in 2011 report. (Tracey, 2011). Future elections are in the hands of the current youth and the next generation. Social media plays a role of connecting each party to communities. Does it affect how one puts out a comment or how they describe their party? Absolutely. On twitter it brings about an interesting profile, more followers, and more interaction which brings in more supporters.
Social media makes a way for attracting more voters. As technology improves as well as advanced social networks, it is a better future for more participation among youth voters. Social networks are the youth’s main interest and can be said as the “latest trend” or “must have”. There is a big difference in not having access to social media and having access to social media. It enables political parties to engage and target their voters. Goals and visions can be shared, the ideas of a better South Africa.
Social media is bound to have a positive effect on the future elections. The numbers increase year by year.” Facebook users in South Africa range from 9.6 million and 11 million at the end of 2013. Twitter is estimated at 5.5 million.” (Writer, 2014).
- Phakathi, B. (2014). DA puts social media strategy in overdrive ahead of elections. Available: http//www.bdlive.co.za/national/politics/2014/04/08/da-puts-social-media-strategy-in-overdrive-ahead-of-elections [Accessed: 29 July 2014].
- Tracey, L. (2011). Will Social Media Influence Election Campaigning In South Africa? Available: http://www.durban.gov.za/Resource_Centre/new2/Pages/Will-Social-Media-Influence-Election-Campaigning-In-South-Africa?.aspx [Accessed: 29 July 2014].
- Writer, S. (2014). An election too soon for social media in SA. Available: http://businesstech.co.za/news/internet/55865/an-election-too-soon-for-social-media-in-SA/ [Accessed: 29 July 2014].