Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communication specialist, Social Media expert, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps brands(Profits and Non-profits)with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa)
Politics is a dirty game is a known cliché. Meanwhile real Politicians will not let you call their game a dirty one. Real democracy thrives on people’s participation, involvement and engagement through dialogue and compromises. In all, it is the people’s wish that is supposed to prevail because Politicians hold their posts on trust. Unfortunately in most cases this does not obtain.
Every successful Politician understands that service is the backbone of democracy. They therefore constantly pursue causes that will enhance the electorate’s profile. A new dimension to doing this well is opportunity offers by the new communication platform-Social/digital media.
Social and Digital media has therefore become a veritable tool in the hands of wise politicians as it gives them power to directly reach those who elected them into office. We have taken time to observe many politicians in developing Countries as they strive to use Social Media only to get the votes of the electorates. As soon as luck shines on them and they win, they often become dictator.
Social Media tools are highly efficient in promoting government policy formulation and other legal framework which can make a nation runs well. It can also be used to get support or raise public opinion on vital policy issues which are affecting the generality. But alas, developing Countries overlook this. They will rather budget billions on useless campaigns that could be resolved through public engagement. A case in point is Nigeria government proposed huge budget to get people’s buy –in into Petroleum Bill (PIB).
Why we are still waiting for the outcome, United States President continues to use Social Media to connect and appeal to Americans for what is now known as ‘Fiscal Cliff’. This bill entails policies issues like reductions in both defence and non-defence (education, food inspection and Air travel expense) spending; the expiration of the Bush tax cuts; the end of a payroll tax holiday and extended unemployment benefits; and the onset of reimbursement cuts to Medicare doctors. It is supposed to take effect from January 2013. The Bill aims at increasing tax by $7 Trillion and spending cuts over a decade. But it also protects and prevents middle class families from tax hikes. It has a major focus on tax increase for other class of economy.
Since July 2012, the bill had not gotten majority approval from the US Republican House members. To get American populace buy in, President Obama had organized Business Roundtable with top American CEOs. He had also done some Parliament lobbying, and had engaged in a level of Public advocacy and people lobbying.
With all the above done, the latest method is to use Online media to reach directly to Americans. The White House and President Obama started a Twitter Campaign around November, 2012.
Through the use of hashtag ‘#MY2K’, Obama is engaging with Americans to raise their voices in support of the passage of the bill through making calls to their elected legislators to pass the middle class tax cut bill otherwise their taxes may go up by Two Thousand Two Hundred ($2,200) US dollars. The question is what does $2,000 means to you. On December 3, 2012 Obama raised the campaign through a live Twitter Q&A and explained why Congress must pass the bill before the end of the year when the existing Bush tax policy will expires.
It will be good to remember The White House has about 3 Million Twitter Followers and Obama has about 23.9 Million Followers. Is there any lesson other Government officials, Corporate Executives, State Governors can learn from this?
Photo Sources: White House blog