Social Media has come to be a force to reckon with. Most leaders in the world are using the social media, especially Facebook, twitter etc to pass on valuable information about themselves and ideals they stand for. Facebook amongst all has been the best means to pass on such information. A critical look indicates that the social media has beaten traditional media. The establishment or the state is no longer able to control the narrative. In the past, people relied on state radios, TV and traditional Newspapers to disseminate information. People never had the voice to speak out and share their thoughts.
With the advent of the social media, Cameroonians and everyone around the world can now speak out. With just a click on the story, everyone could be talking about. We saw the case of the Monique affair in Douala, Cameroon which even attracted foreign media. We are also seeing what social media is doing in the US elections.
Politicians are increasingly using social media, especially in the west. A good number of African politicians are also getting engaged in the social media besides Cameroon opposition leaders who appear to be are as dormant as sleep itself. We have also seen businesses and most especially traditional newspapers in the west and part of Africa owning accredited Facebook pages. These newspapers have understood the changing times. They do not rely only on the print media anymore. They engage with the people and could dictate the narrative. Cameroon print media are heavily lacking in this respect.
The Cameroon print media must move and embrace the social media. They should be able to create pages and engage with the Cameroons people. They should be able to control the narratives because as it stands, in the Cameroons, the print media do not control the narratives anymore. Social media does. The print media must get into social media if they want to stay in the game. If not, their stories become stale.
However, this article focuses on how Biya has succeeded once again to outplay his counterparts in the Cameroons who happen to be the opposition leaders. BaretaNews is not a fan of Paul Biya.In fact, we do not agree with most or if not all of his policies but we think we should give Biya credit here. Despite the fact that Biya has the military, financial power, ELECAM, institutions, police and everything at his beck and call that he can use effectively to crush the opposition, Biya has, again, proven to be the master of the game. Biya is winning opposition leaders in the area where they should have control. In the area where Biya has no political power to control the narrative, yet he beats all those Cameroonians who call themselves politicians.
Biya has been able to outsmart Cameroon opposition leaders and opposition parties when it comes to the social media. BaretaNews does not care who controls the Facebook page of Paul Biya but we must say the person is doing it so well. I mean very well. Biya’s Facebook page is active, giving minute by minute updates of every action Biya undertakes, every decree Biya signs. With this, one could see hundreds of shares. Cameroonians are heavily debating there, sharing Biya’s posts. The Biya government is able to engage and dialogue with the Cameroons people. Whether such comments on Biya’s page are translated to direct his actions is still left to be seen but the fact that Biya does that with the people is a game changer.
Politics is all about perception. What Biya is doing on his Facebook page is all about perception, getting into Cameroonians’ heads and I bet you, perception works and most often guards our political actions. It beats our imagination that no opposition leaders or parties have been able to engage Cameroonians on Facebook as Biya does. How can Biya beat the opposition at a game he has no controlling powers over?
Reading through Biya’s Facebook page, one of such publication reads “Regional cooperation is essential and important for any project of growth. During my visit to Nigeria, last may, I had to indicate to H.E. Mohammed Buhari, that it would be useful to draw up plans of co-development in our border regions sometimes abandoned. On the basis of their available resources, agricultural projects, and infrastructure could be envisaged in common. It will take for that connect our road networks (which is in progress), provide electrical energy (what the Cameroon can do in the medium term) and weaponize its social infrastructure.”
We might not agree with Biya but come on, his communication department is doing enough, his communication department understands the importance of the social media. They understand that more and more Cameroonians are using Facebook and/or social media and this will only triple by 2018. Just reading his Facebook post, one could see how seriously they are trying to engage Cameroonians and explain government actions.
Cameroon opposition parties and leaders do not own pages not to talk of websites. If they do, then it was lastly updated years if not months ago. Cameroon opposition leaders, especially the main opposition leader must sit up. The communication department must start working to beat Biya at this game. They must get an updated website, a functional Facebook account where each minute or an hour every day of the week they include posts which Cameroonians could discuss, share and dialogue.They need to communicate with Cameroonians. Cameroonians must be able to understand their policies, through social media and Facebook, they can do live videos from even their bedroom and get Cameroonians to action, to discuss issues that matter. This does not take much, it takes just a communication team, a smartphone, a laptop, and the internet. Come on Cameroon Opposition Leaders- Get that beast Off. you are better than this
UP YOUR GAME
God is still saying something.