Social Media: A Powerful Tool for Lobbying, Social Welfare, and Change ▷ News from Ghana
Out of the blue, nine-year-old Oswald Gennuh became everyone’s favorite after his harmless letter to his mother went viral on social media.
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What’s interesting is that his mother, Rita Gennuh, had no idea that the letter her work colleague sent just for fun would be so popular that big brands caught their attention.
Within a few hours, Oswald’s mother was showered with calls from brands who wanted to be part of Oswald’s our day, which he personally wanted to make special in his own way.
This brings us to the question of what exactly social media is and what exactly it has to offer its heterogeneous uses.
Social Media: A Powerful Tool for Advocacy, Social Welfare, and Change
What is social media?
Social media is a collective term for a variety of internet applications that allow users to create content and interact with one another.
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This interaction can take many forms, but some common types include: sharing links to interesting content created by third parties, public updates to a profile including current activity information and even location data, and sharing photos, videos, and posts and commenting this content.
For the layman who has access to a smartphone with enough data, social media are basically WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Due to the proliferation of new media and its trends, most of the people have access to social media to keep up with the growing trends and stay updated on what is happening around the world.
Like everything else, social media has its good and bad sides
Benefits of social media
Access to social media is now more or less a basic necessity of life for most people.
Access to social media has given many people the opportunity to explore different options
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From a marketing perspective, most people who are not deterred by their small businesses do not use traditional media such as radio, television and newspapers to promote their business.
Most business owners have now focused on growing their business on social media as most of their target customers are mostly on social media exploring trends and new things.
It is evident that resorting to social media by creating and posting interesting content has come a long way to help businesses grow and strive.
Social change can be defined as the way in which human interactions, relationships, behavioral patterns and cultural norms change over time.
These changes ultimately change cultural and social institutions, concepts and rules that will inevitably affect society.
These changes and transformations aren’t necessarily good or bad, but they are profound.
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In its very own Ghanaian setting, it’s clear that social media has been such a powerful tool for social change in the sense that teeming youth seem to jump on anything else that’s trending, knowing full well that it isn’t Culture goes well with our Ghanaians.
Social change can happen on a small scale, but then does not really reach society as a whole.
For example, there may be changes in the way a certain age group chooses their clothes just because they have identified someone to look up to and they tend to repeat that.
Ultimately, this change does not affect society as a whole, but rather a specific demography of society.
Social media helps empower advocacy by reaching more people virtually in more places, faster than ever.
The benefits of using social media for advocacy are obvious as it is low in cost, has potentially wide reach, is fast and reliable, is more engaging, and feedback is easy.
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In Ghana, for example, the recent #FixtheCountry demonstration, which attracted many young Ghanaians, started as social media advocacy on Twitter.
The hashtag was created and without the use of force, people who felt the land needed repair tweeted this hashtag again, causing it to go so far as to get government attention.
This is a clear indication that social media can be used to drive change and demand accountability from government and supervisors without the use of particular violence or intimidation.
Ghanaians often used social media to help people in need or struggling with some kind of financial aid.
The Oswald Gennuh case is apparently still fresh in people’s minds.
The little boy who went viral for taking Fufu to school on a vacation day is about to change for the better as a good Samaritan promised to fly him to Canada to continue his education.
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Another form in which social media has been used as a tool for social welfare is through the large amount of crowdfunding that has been carried out to support people in need.
Ghanaians are very friendly and empathetic by nature and will go out of their way to support a person who is in dire need of money to carry out an operation of any kind. Unfortunately, although the money was raised to support them, some of these people are not alive
The bad side of social media
Every good thing has a bad side
Social media, for all the benefits it brings, gives people too much leeway to do what they want because it is mostly information, and content posted there is sometimes not subject to any form of control or gatekeeping.
Some of the mistakes social media brings with it are internet scams and fraudulent content.
Despite all of these flaws, it is clear that social media is such a powerful tool when it comes to advocacy, social change, and social good.
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