The Rise of Social Media in Ghana Election 2012

I dont like politics. I will not engage in long arguments of which political party is best. Why? Thats not what this post is about :p. They are all the same. End of story. Come #December 7, i will go and stand quietly in a queue and cast my vote peaceably and go home to some hot pepper soup dish.

What actually interests me is what social media tools are being used by the 8 political parties we currently have. Not that it will influence my vote but being a social media evangelist i believe that any party which uses social media strategically to campaign can find itself winning some votes. In the 2008 US Elections, the Democrats and Republicans used social media tools such as Twitter, MySpace and Facebook to connect to their followers and some very interesting data showed the advantage of this.  Ghana is rapidly growing wings where social media is concerned, about 1.67million Ghanaians are on Facebook according to this statistics. I couldn't get Twitter stats :( but the number is too large to ignore for any political party. He who does so does so at their own risk.

Social media was used way back in 2008 by Akuffo Addo, Paa Kwesi Nduom and the late President Atta Mills via Facebook. So its nothing new. But this year, the use of this new media platform is rising like a tsunami as we draw closer to #GhanaElections December 7. So i did a bit of online research of who is using what to connect with their followers and how its been done.

#President John Mahama has his Facebook Page with a current number of 25,263 Likes (and growing) where he posts on his timeline, activities of his government and also that of the ruling government NDC (National Democratic Congress) party activities. I realised there were actually two pages, with the second bearing 12,444 Likes. I actually dont know why. Maybe he will reply to my post and tell me :) Oh, wait! There was a difference in the has Dramani and the other doesn't. He is also on Twitter @JDMahama with 888 followers and 20 tweets. I decided to follow so that updated it to 889. Mr President please #ffb. Oh, he is on YouTube as activity posted there yet. But i found videos on his personal website.

#Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, presidential candidate of the PPP (Progressive Peoples Party)has been very active in social mediadom since 2008 and is still very much in touch with his followers through interactive online chats with his fans on Facebook. His current page on Facebook which is his personal page has been over-subscribed by 14,363 Subscribers (this means each of these people will receive updates once he posts on his timeline) and his page has 156K fans! What a huge following! It was interesting to see how he initiates online chats with his fans and gives feedback on questions and not using Facebook as a broadcasting channel to blast out partisan messages.  The party's website is also a place where you can donate towards the campaign activities. I found the party Twitter account here.

I found Nana Akuffo Addo's Facebook page holding 120K Likes and his timeline also displayed information on his activities and e-dialogues with the youth. Where else? He tweets @nadaa2012 and currently has 5,689 followers. I will follow. So that comes to 5,690. @nadaa2012  #ffb. His videos span from the e-dialogue to party activities on YouTube have about 80K views. I was a bit surprised to see him on Google+ as well.

Who is next? The CPP (Conventional Peoples Party) elected Sakara as their presidential hopeful and i found his Facebook profile page having 120 Likes showing party activities. He tweets also @abusakara , maybe he should hire me to tweet for him :)

I checked the other parties like UFP (United Front Party) also on Facebook with 25 Likes and a website still under construction. They have a cute Twitter bird by the way.

The rest of the other political parties are yet to join the social media train which is bound on an infinity road of communication. Social media can be used strategically for politicians to engage their followers to address any questions they may have and hence strengthen the faith they may already have in them. A few people will abuse the system but on a majority its a great way to engage with the faithful. Politicians cannot ignore the fact that voters are moving with the technology tide and they need to move with it as well. What is the future of social media in the Ghanaian business & social environment? Are we ready to harness the power of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, etc to enjoy the benefits it offers?

Lets all go vote peacefully and continue to enjoy the peace which we are known for. God Bless Our Homeland GHANA!

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