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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Ignore Social Media at Own peril !

Columns Ignore Social Media at Own peril !

By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Political/Social Analyst

Prior to finally winning the August 12, 2021 general elections, President Hakainde Hichilema was constantly lampooned by his critics and opponents alike that he was good at winning elections on Facebook. The man who is fondly referred to, as Bally, by his ardent followers probably better understood use of Facebook as an effective tool to reach-out to the masses more than anyone else.

In as much as the dictatorial and intolerant regime of Lungu tried to throw spanners into Bally’s campaigns by restricting his movements and denying him permits to conduct rallies; the more he resorted to Facebook. And when the outcome of the polls was finally declared by ECZ, Lungu was left in shock! This is testimony enough that one can only ignore social media at their own peril.

According to Wikipedia, as of January 2020, there were 2 280 000 active Facebook users in Zambia, accounting for 11.6% of its entire population. The majority of them were men – 56.3%. People aged 18 to 24 were the largest user group (810 000).Now, translate this into potential votes…..it’s more than enough to usher a candidate into plot 1 Independence Avenue, provided they may have already secured additional votes elsewhere!

Former US President Barack Obama is probably one of the foremost modern-day leaders who put social media to better use. According to a case study by the Stanford Graduate School of Business; early in his campaign, Barack Obama was a little-known senator running for president against Democratic nominee and household name, Hilary Clinton. But on November 4, 2008, Obama made history as the first African American to win the election against Republican candidate, John McCain, thus becoming the 44th president of the United States.

The study goes on to highlight that many factors contributed to his success, but a major one was the way Obama and his Chicago-based campaign team used social media and technology as an integral part of their campaign strategy, not only to raise money, but also more importantly, to develop a groundswell of empowered volunteers who felt that they could make a difference.

The other leader who appreciated the effectiveness of social media in influencing public opinion was 45th US President Donald Trump. Speaking on CBS’ 60 Minutes programme shortly after being declared winner of elections against Hilary Clinton, the president-elect specified that social networks helped him win without him needing to spend as much as the Clinton campaign on advertisement.

According to a 2016 report by the United Nations Population Fund in Zambia, young people aged 15-35 made up of 36.7% of Zambia’s population (4.8 million). By this time, this segment of the population may have doubled or tripled! A good number of them are obviously technologically savvy investing much time on social media including podcasting, Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, and YouTube, as opposed to listening to the radio or watching TV.

Well……if you are a politician in Zambia and want to remain relevant in the eyes of this significant portion of the population, you better up your game and hone your social media skills!

14 COMMENTS

  1. I would even add and say even as a business if you don’t embrace digital transformation, your business is likely to fail in the next 5 – 10 yrs. Technology gives you competitive edge against your competitors in this new technological era.

  2. More People are wise to lies than before………

    The PF ran a very extensive SM campaign, but most of it was based on lies……..

    No mater how much time and money you spend on SM , if you are constantly telling lies , you won’t get anywhere ,……….

    PF and lungu are the proff ………

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  3. Of course real social media not propaganda the way PF has been doing , PF did fake opinion polls and posted on social media that rejected ECL would win the elections, they faked defections on social media creating a false impression that PF was very popular and yet the party was dead, they used social media to fake empowerment of the youths, but the youths were sharp and saw that the timing and intensity of the ’empowerment funds’ was very suscipcious, they used social media to threaten citizens, they used social media to say HH will never be president, they have continued with the same manners now saying HH will be a one term President, appears it is a crop of people that never learns. Zambian people are solidly behind HH, so PF use social media responsibly

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  4. Somebody you call under five trounces you overwhelmingly in an election with hands down, it means you yourself are under what ,1 or 2 or 3

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  5. I think the people who were pushing the fake PF social media agenda were Zayelo, neckless and Rakachinda. They called somebody under 5 who just erased them from governing, so how can he be under 5 with over 1 million votes. Lick your wounds in silence, stop blogging, come back when you are recomposed and coherent, allowance period of 20 years, mourn groan and mourn

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  6. I do agree social media is the most powerful tool to all organisations on this earth , you can name it in the all world if you don’t use it just fold up your business and stay home alone.
    The Ukrainian president used it and won his elections in Ukraine the same any one who has a great following on social media is the leader of this world.
    UPND took advantage of the social media and sold themselves to a wider audience including those diaspora with their propaganda and it worked for them .
    Again it will be social media that will build or destroy the the new government if they fail to fulfil what they promised to the electorate.
    These days people are connected by the social media we in diaspora are always on social media to connect with those back in Zambia and we chat with them…

  7. What will kill this government is the same social media and the promises that were made to the Zambians it is rather interesting to see that things this way.
    The government in power must be very careful to what they do to mentiain integrity and truthfulness in what they do in the country, however the carelessness we are seeing is rather disappointing where the president insults all former presidents since 1964 is rather shocking.

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  8. There’s no time to be playing tribal and anyone who understands politics, should have learnt from Kangwa Nsuluka. If anyone in you UPND fanatical supporters want to continue advocating for veangace against anyone you think was anti UPND, then you have a hell to understand politics. Most of us actually wanted Mazoka to take over after Super Ken. Don’t get imbued with hatred just because we have given you the presidency. HH would not have won without Luapula, Northern, Muchinga and Eastern provinces. You be careful what you wish for you all tribalists from every province of the Zambia.

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