Take Twitter seriously - Idasa

2010-11-04 22:09

Cape Town - Politicians would do well to start taking social media more seriously and deal with the issues raised by users, rather than worry about their image, the Institute for Democracy in Africa has said.

"All political parties are starting to understand the value of social media and some politicians are more active than others," Idasa online communications manager Samantha Fleming told News24.

Recently, the ANC Youth League has blasted the micro-blogging service Twitter over fraudulent accounts in the name of firebrand youth leader Julius Malema. The ANCYL vowed to shut down the service and caused an angry reaction from Twitter users.

"In the (United) States there's lots more people who use social media, and in terms of African countries, we're getting on the bandwagon," said Fleming.

'Just chatting'

She said that most of the bigger parties had social media accounts, but that individual politicians were slowly migrating to use social media as a way of engaging with the public.

"The DA has the advantage so far but the landscape is changing. You don't need millions on Twitter, you need those with influence to spread your message further. Facebook is becoming more and more popular, but don't forget MXit."

Fleming said that the Barack Obama presidential campaign had generated enormous traction, and some South African politicians were starting to take the site (Facebook) more seriously, particularly as more people joined.

It also serves the majority of the population who do not have computers.

"Mobile is really huge - it's not like you need to have an iPhone. Even people with a basic phone can access social media. They aren't organising and mobilising on Facebook; it's just chatting to friends, but it's a small step to get there," she said.


The ANCYL in particular seems to have had a change of view on social networks. The organisation rejected a blog in a March campaign on media freedom begun by Sipho Hlongwane.

"I'm never worried about that, why should I be worried about these fake people?" Youth League spokesperson Floyd Shivambu told News24 at the time.

Shivambu had earlier said that the ANCYL was of the opinion that the internet doesn't "speak to our people" and would not follow up on stories about the organisation on the internet.

However, this week the ANCYL vowed that it would close Twitter and report the site for allowing fraudulent accounts in Malema's name.

Fleming said that politicians could use Twitter to establish relationships with the public.

"Politicians are using them (social networks) to establish relationships with people and the right way, I guess, is to make people feel like they're in a relationship. Don't worry about your image, speak to the issue."

She had some advice for Malema and the ANCYL: "Roll with the punches."

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

  • hr - 2010-11-04 23:37

    So where did the ANCYL get the silly idea from to shut down Twitter?

    Probably from the ANC that wants to shut down the Media....

    Can anyone take these organisations serious?

    Like father like son...

  • Martin - 2010-11-05 00:02

    Exactly... All I can say is that if SA is going to survive as a currently developed and potentially demonstrative African country as well as a currently accepted global player, then those that are in power now need to move with the times......and get with the program.....

  • kntyr - 2010-11-05 05:45

    Johannesburg - The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) on Thursday vowed to trace the "reactionary, right-wing, white people" who impersonated its leader Julius Malema on Twitter, but would not divulge how this would be done.

    "We'll trace them... that is very possible to do," ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said in reaction to at least 12 Malema impersonators existing on the social networking site.

    "We are sure, when they get exposed, you will see it is white people. Reactionary, right-wing, white people."


  • Carlo - 2010-11-05 06:44

    One Julias, One Tweet! :-)

  • robgun - 2010-11-05 07:41

    The institute of democracy is correct. The Youth league don't like social media. They might be asked questions and they definitely have no answers, one only has to ask Floyd what "sleeping around" means to figure that one out.

  • SSDD - 2010-11-05 08:06

    I would pay all my savings and give over all my assets to them if they can trace any person on Twitter - hahahaa what a joke. This kid needs a hiding.

  • garriga! - 2010-11-05 08:18

    "Shivambu had earlier said that the ANCYL was of the opinion that the internet doesn't "speak to our people" and would not follow up on stories about the organisation on the internet.
    However, this week the ANCYL vowed that it would close Twitter and report the site for allowing fraudulent accounts in Malema's name."
    Ohkhay... just an un-educated question from an IT- pro here: How do you shut down something that, according to you, does not exist? They must be related to the Hamas-folks, who are trying to destroy a nation that does not exist. Confused? So am I.

  • PINK FLOYD - 2010-11-05 08:20

    Didn't Pink Floyd write the original version of "Me and my Monkey"?

  • Johnson - 2010-11-05 08:24

    At SSDD. What sad is that the loudmouth is not a kid but a grown man who should be taking responsibility for what his empty head spews. Any normal man of his age would not even get a job with his attitude which is why he is in politics. Lovely to have a boss with no spine like Zuma you could simply do whatever you like..

  • Mbulelo - 2010-11-05 08:34

    It's sad to note that the "Youth League" is the one looking at Social Networks as their enemy instead of using it as a platform to interact with other young & technologically inclined youth. I guess these are results of having academically & intellectually challenged people as leaders or at least wisdom. All has been said "Wake up & smell the coffee".

  • Carlo - 2010-11-05 09:00

    ANCYL, what a bunch of Twits!!! What an inflated sense of self do they have? Close down one of the big players in modern social networking? Pray tell, how will they accomplish this? This is not guerrilla bush warfare, if they want to make an impact, stop acting like children and utilise these kinds of channels. But, alas, if someone likes Juju is the leader that speaks volumes about the followers!

  • john - 2010-11-05 09:25

    What is a "potentially demonstrative African country?

  • tbone - 2010-11-05 10:09

    Social media does not have any real value for the ANCYL because you need to be able to read and write to interact with your followers. As we have heard by their leaders, Juju has never read a book and their spelling (probably edited by the only member that can write) is of a standard accepted by primary school children.

  • THE MAN - 2010-11-05 10:41

    I hope Julius and Floyd cam manage to meet up with Zille so that she can give them some good ideas. Maybe they can also go get educated, and even computer-clever so that they can learn to use twitter. But that may be too much to ask!

  • Ian - 2010-11-05 10:57

    Somebody shoot me please, does Julius really think he has the power to shut down Twitter....For his Information...People who created those accounts CANNOT be traced....NEVER..You can't trace an IT guy myself, I know that for a fact....Yes, you might trace the account, to where, Internet cafe?..and then what?..This is so stupid......

  • Martin - 2010-11-05 11:32

    @John - What I mean is "a country to take example from" as a lot of other African countries believe that SA has got most things right and they should try and follow their ways

  • Brandon - 2010-11-05 12:38

    If they can't trace @pigspotter, then how are they going to identify these people using the accounts? Stupid!

  • Robert Kay - 2010-11-05 13:25

    These little tweeters have no idea what they're talking about. No education, no intelligence, and that is prepared to take on Twitter? It's because they don't understand it that it upsets them. Shame - maybe in another 20 years or so??

  • N - 2010-11-05 13:57

    If anything, the ANCYL serves NO purpose, other than to spread foul-mouthed remarks and spread racism. Shut THEM down.

  • Diamond Dog - 2010-11-06 16:05

    The ANC and ANCYL doesn't want to entertain the idea of social networking/media because they know that they will be inundated with calls for good governance and accountability. They are truely afraid of this medium the same way they view the media at large as their enemy. The ANC regime and it's YL is outdated and belongs in the archives of museums along with the apartheid regime. Time for a multi party government represented by all the people, for the people. A government that can engage the public on relevant levels and not an institution that displays "ruling" monarchical tendencies. This organism is fast turning into a parasite and if we do not deal with the rot that besets us it will destroy the host called South Africa. "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." Barack Obama. "It's time to fundamentally change the way that we do business in ????. To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every ???? that is spent." Barack Obama. Continuosly reshufling government, election after election and in between does not constitute innovative thinking, it merely indicates that you are attempting to pass the buck around. Get qualified people (black, pink or yellow should not make a difference either) to do the jobs and hold them accountable, that's how you do business. The state is the largest employer and should be run accordingly. Placing any given cronie into a position will only serve to exacerbate the problems continiously. Creating larger entities to supposedly come with solutions only expose you for the desperate organism that you are. Old saying: "Stick your pride in your pocket and seek help".

  • pages:
  • 1