Computer Engineer Stephen Forson has disclosed that political parties can secure a majority of votes for the upcoming elections if they run campaigns on social media amid COVID-19.
In an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning show, he argued that the wake of COVID-19 has reiterated the importance of technology in our lives and as such it will be a great opportunity for political parties to utilize this new trend.
He explained, “Some political parties have come to terms with the fact that IT has come to stay. You can observe this on social media. Most of the political battles are being fought on social media. Most of the youth are on social media.
Research says that about 70% of Ghanaians who don’t have potable water and electricity at home have mobile phones. Irrespective of how many people may be in the hinterlands, people have mobile phones and Ghana has become one village now due to the internet and political parties have identified this.
So now if you study the discussions on social media, you will clearly see what is happening. It has become mostly politics. Everybody is talking about politics. So political parties who will understand the trends strategically and tow that line will have the majority of the votes because we have floating voters online”.
Stephen exemplified that in the case of the 2016 US elections between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, the power of social media was glaring when Donald Trump harnessed Twitter and Cambridge Analytics to win the elections. Through technology, Trump ran one of the cheapest campaigns ever in US history. “All he [Donald Trump] had to do was use Twitter which is free. Our political parties must get creative and they are doing that”, he added.
Globally, social media has been an important factor in election campaigns. This new trend has changed the way communication evolves around election campaigns. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become very important that political parties find alternative ways of contacting their audience while avoiding physical contact. While this form has made it easier for politicians to reach their audience, it has also created an increase in misinformation online.
By: Alberta Dorcas N D Armah