Happy New year.
Where I come from– it is never too late to say that. It goes on until the end of the first quarter.
I have just come back from what I believe was a very enlightening meeting with the CDU party digital team in Berlin. CDU is the party that the German Chancellor Angella Merkel belongs to. CDU is also an acronym for Christian Democratic Union – now that came quite as a surprise. Anja – the head of the digital team when taking us through the offices said to us : “I know that we appear to be a secular state but we do have a strong religious background.” I found that very comforting.
|The African bloggers team at CDU offices in Berlin. Right – Jimmy Kainja &
left Dr Pierre de Vos. In the center is Anja.
and it was reflected in the speech made a couple of days later. Uhuru Kenyatta has done well trying to identify with ‘the young and techie hip’ people in his country. It is evident with is articulate and immaculately planned updates. However I also know that from following very many Kenyans on Twitter that they mostly think that it is just them puling stunts hence the title “Hashtag president”
Uganda on the other hand is ‘interesting’ as always. Late last year there was some chaos with the digital team that manages the president’s social media updates. The feud or whatever it was ended up with people in prison over passwords and access to the accounts. And apparently the president did issue a statement about a particular person in regard to managing his account. I was shocked that he knew that Twitter and Facebook existed. It was quite messy actually.
The lesson being that our leaders or their advisors do appreciate that there is a need to engage the people that are on social media. But the transition continues to be a tricky one because it has got to be very well thought out and very flexible as well. Politics as we know it has been referred to many as a game- however true that is – you cannot necessarily play that game online without being noticed.
So can the two go hand in hand? Very well – Yes. But there has got to be a balance on how the news is put out and how the engagement and the interaction is done.
And I think that 2015 will continue to bring us a lot of this kind of engagement. Whether it will be aligned to political goals or not – thing is that we actually do realize that it is of importance.