GHANA GOES TO THE POLLS – ACTIVITIES OF THE YOUTH ON SOCIAL MEDIA

GHANA GOES TO THE POLLS – ACTIVITIES OF THE YOUTH ON SOCIAL MEDIA
For the first time ever, Social Media is playing a crucial role in Ghana’s parliamentary and presidential election.
There have been a lot of issues revolving around the use of social media in Ghana with regards to the December 7th polls.
Undoubtedly, we have come to an age where popular trends and most talked about stories emanate from various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, watsapp, Instagram.
In the modern Ghana that we are currently, it seems the democracy we talk about everyday is much more experienced on social media than any other medium.
There has been much debate among major stakeholders as to whether social media should be banned during the upcoming elections in Ghana.
 Inspector General of Police (IGP) John Kudalor hinted in May 2016 that Ghanaian authorities might consider shutting down social media platforms during December 7 elections to
 “maintain peace”.
 The IGP argued that the intention to shut down social media platforms during elections is based on the fact that some people abuse the space during voting.
 However, the president of the republic of Ghana, John Dramani  Mahama declared on the 14th of August 2016 that social media will not be shutdown during the upcoming elections.
This declaration by the president may have given most of us the youth some relief, more so, that is why it becomes very imperative for us
to be extremely diligent and careful about our activities on social media particularly before, during and after the 2016 general election.
I’m directing this post mainly to the youth since the age range of the majority of social media users in Ghana is from 18-29.
We must avoid posts and comments that may lead to verbal and physical violence. No one is saying you cant show your support
to party A or Party B, but you must do it in a way that it will not raise any eyebrow of indignation.
We should try our best to refrain from posts and comments that discriminate against any religion or question
the integrity of any tribe. For a long period of time the terrine of voting in Ghana has been mainly influenced by tribes and clans,
that is the very reason why i admonish every youth to do away with any social media propaganda that directs to a particular group of people
in the country. Such actions ignite hatred among ourselves as one people and eventually leads to tribal disputes.
Anytime you consciously or unconsciously make any political post that receives very negative and damaging comments, quickly delete the post and apologise
to prevent any furthur uproar. The kind of comments you make on others’ posts should be mere opinions but not insults
or abuse of any kind. What i have realized as a Blogger and avid social media user, is that for most Ghanaian youth, they think their social media post
only reach some few people, so they post with the motive that not many people will see it after all. Many of us are ignorant
that on facebook for instance, if you make a public post, your friends, friends of your friends, mutual friends and
other acquaintances view your actions on your timeline. Never judge the reach of your post according to the number of likes you get,
social media algorithms does not work like that.
youth-social-media-summit
I implore you to avoid sharing any political or electoral information that lacks credibility on any social media platforms.
As a result of social media, information have been on our fingertips. 4 out of every 5 Ghanaian youth will tell you they
get most of their news stories from social media. The activities of online bloggers and other public relation personnel, make it possible
for the numerous of information we chance upon on our news feeds. You can hardly determine the credibility of some of these
news stories posted by some writers and bloggers. Some of these sites that share such stories are even satirical websites,
which becomes detrimental to the average Ghanaian youth who reads only headlines of news stories. There is a huge power in every information,
therefore before you click on the share button to share an information, make sure the source is very credible. Should you
share any false information in this election period, bear in mind that you are contributing to the incresing and spreading
of societal maladies.
Look out for impersonation and hacking of social media accounts. Some cyberpunks may hack the the accounts of public figures
to influence false information. This is a no new story as we’ve seen some Ghanaian musicians and public figures whose accounts
have been hacked for various reasons. Watch out for some of these cyber crimes in other to desist from any fake posts of
celebrities and public figures that calls for any social media rampage of any kind. Whenever you come across any unauthorized
activities on your social media wall, quickly reset your password to prevent any further destruction.
Finally do not heed to any group of people, media house or organisation that declares results  of elections on social media
or any other platform. Know that it is only the Electoral Commission of Ghana that has the legitimate mandate by the
1992 constitution of Ghana to declare the results of the 2016 election.
We are the youth, the future of our  motherland is in our hands, let us take diligence in our actions on social media to ensure free and fair elections in Ghana.
Long live the youth!
Long live Ghana!
Long Live Africa!
 By Barimah Amoaning Samuel