Andreas Kaplan defined social media as the “social interaction among people in which they create, share or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks”. Social media also depend on mobile and web–based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content. Source – Wikipedia. There are various social media channels in use worldwide, each country of the world adopts the ones most suitable for her based on ideology and technological development for the purpose of realizing socio-cultural, political, economical and military objectives.
In Nigeria, the government and indeed Nigerians make use of several social media channels. The democratic government of Nigeria in its effort to ensure good governance and well-being of the citizens provided the enabling platforms for social media to succeed in Nigeria. In addition to internet availability, the government equally created good environment for other communication networks to thrive in Nigeria. Furthermore, favourable regulations have been enacted to enable existing traditional media such as television and radio stations (both government and private) to easily upgrade their facilities with modern technology for better services in this fast growing ICT age.
Social Media Channels:
The social media channels used by Nigerian government are briefly highlighted below:
a. In the area of social networking: Used for sharing information among public and private institutions, government and the people, forming an online communities. The channels include; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Whats App.
b. In the area of Multimedia: Used for sharing multimedia materials not in text form such as videos, pictures, info graphics, etc for the purpose of providing information, creating awareness, educating and entertaining the target audience. Examples include; Youtube, SlideShare and i-reporter. Government also makes use of online TVs and Radio stations for live casting/streaming.
c. Instant Messaging: Nigerian government practice and encourages real time information sharing through SMS and Voice. The channels used include Skype, Msn, BBM and Blogs platforms such as blogger, WordPress, TypePad.
d. Some of the channels used by the government for Social commerce and social shopping include Konga, jumai, 3AL and Myspace.
It is a known fact that we live in a globalized world. The entire world is trending towards an “electronic world” and no government can afford to stay behind. Information is needed on daily basis; governments seek and share information on geopolitics, economy, socio-cultural, military and technology. Social media are the most popular means of achieving these. They facilitate prompt and wider circulation of information to the people. Timely dissemination of information regarding government policies and activities to the masses with ease and at a much reduced cost is also achieved through social media. With just a GSM mobile device one can easily access a whole lot of information on issues as they occur; opinions, suggestions and criticisms are shared with millions of people even on the go with the aid of social media.
Furthermore, social media has become a catalyst in the development of education, entertainment as well as awareness creation on health issues in Nigeria. With the aid of internet, various materials are made available to keep people better informed with a view to providing better life for them. Social media has made accessibility of these materials easy and faster to wide range of persons both old and young.” - Hillary Animoke – Apapa, Nigeria