According to Africa Renewal, in recent months Facebook — the major social media platform worldwide and currently the most visited website in most of Africa — has seen massive growth on the continent. The number of African Facebook users now stands at over 17 million, up from 10 million in 2009. More than 15 per cent of people online in Africa are currently using the platform, compared to 11 per cent in Asia. Two other social networking websites, Twitter and YouTube, rank among the most visited websites in most African countries. Along with regular citizens, African stars, thinkers, political leaders and companies have rapidly joined the global conversation. The Facebook fan base of Côte d'Ivoire's football star and UN goodwill ambassador Didier Drogba is more than 1 million people. Zambian best-selling author and economist Dambisa Moyo has more than 26,000 followers on Twitter. Media organizations in South Africa and companies such as Kenya Airways are using various social media platforms to interact better with customers and readers. During recent elections in Côte d'Ivoire candidates did not only tour cities and villages; they also moved the contest online, feverishly posting campaign updates on Twitter and Facebook. - See more at: http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/december-2010/social-media-boom-begins-africa#sthash.sc8g6pKq.dpuf
What do the Liberian community use social media for?
That’s easy to answer, politics. Google Liberia, 90% of the information that will pop up is about politics. Go on facebook, 97% of the Liberian groups are political groups. If you were to ask a Liberian social media participant which Liberian group is the best, the response will be based on the group with the highest number and the most drama. Even though, majority of these groups have been broken apart because of the political feuds and personal attacks. Political groups like Discussing Liberia, TMZ Liberia or The Darius Dillon Center has a lot of traffic daily and has members ranking from 6, 318 members to 56, 183 members. Without that hype, not a single topic is discuss with civility and without personal attacks, turning friends to foes, breaking groups away and even hijacking funds raised for charity. But yet, groups like the Grumble Girls, a secret group of 36 Liberian females, sharing the love of sisterhood or I Love Liberian Food, a group of 763 members sharing pictures of the Liberian dishes they made, these groups run smoothly, without any drama. Why can we see the power of arts, culture and entertainment, the power it has to bring us together? We have decided to give these areas the cold shoulders and support the one area that tear us apart daily, politics. Why can’t we support both? The best way to preach politics is through arts, use these areas for their intended purposes. Every country that have been through what we are going through, has survived the struggle because of arts and have become the best entertainers of the world. The black slaves used arts to deliver the messages and that is why black Americans are great entertainers, the South Africans used arts to deliver their messages and that is why they are great entertainers and many more.
To find information around the social media community about Liberian arts, culture and entertainment or other social issues, is a real struggle. Liberian writers/posters, show very less interest in these topics, maybe because the readers are not interested. The few who are shining the spotlight on these very important topics like arts, culture and entertainment or other social issues, has less support from the community.
Now, let’s take a look at Ghana and Nigeria, if you google Ghana and Nigeria, or facebook Ghana and Nigeria, the amount of information on their arts/entertainment is equivalent to that of politics or more. Why is that, maybe they have more interest than we do or they understand the value and importance of other social issues than just politics.
The Struggle continues. One Love.