I have been following certain trends on the social network web sites and have found it amazing that some leaders are more vocal and visible than others. These, among others, include leaders who have a lot of followers and engage them a lot and those that are just there but not active.
Those that are active are therefore able to engage with their many their followers who raise whatever issues they many encounter in their different areas around the country and how best they should be sorted out. But for those who are just on these sites but not active and engaging, one might conclude that they have another thing coming, sort of.
For example, one has noticed that on Twitter, opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Helen Zille, has more followers than the ruling African National Congress leader, Jacob Zuma. At the time of writing, Zille had about 33, 307 followers while Zuma had about 16, 900 followers. This, however, would prove somewhat inaccurate as I follow both leaders on Twitter.
Within his first few days Zuma only had five tweets after Joining Twitter on 10 May last week while Zille, who has first joined the social network on 11 February 2009, had about 818 tweets.
Zille joined Twitter, saying: “The election campaign is officially underway! Follow me on the campaign trail right here on twitter” while Zuma had this to say: “Democracy is flourishing inSouth Africa, thanks to the active participation of all citizens. It’s wonderful. Vote 18 May!”
I decided to concentrate on these two political parties leaders only because the ANC is a ruling party while DA is an official opposition party. But as for others, they are either not visible on Twitter or that there’s a confusion on their leadership.
Zille’s brilliant and profound visibility and engagement on Twitter is so amazing that she even had a interview about her tweeting with @memeburn in June last year. Zille said she started tweeting because “it’s there” and that social networks “are an incredible new tool which enables me to speak directly to large numbers of people”. And this she has done brilliantly to date. And it is not only her followers that she engages with but even people who do not follow her or her political party. She said “it is at the cutting edge of personal interaction around the world”.
Asked how she finds time to tweet, Zille said she does not have a problem because she “can multi-task and can often tweet while (she’s) in a meeting or a conversation”.
This is true because I witnessed this during the Freedom Day celebration at theUnionBuildingthis year when she tweeted while listening to brief speeches from speakers of different political parties, and those include those that were hackled by people who I suspected to have been ANC members especially when booed a DA member.
Zille said she finds tweeting easy as “sending an SMS from my phone”. Asked if she would follow ANCYL president Julius Malema if he was on Twitter, Zille said she “prefer to follow interesting people”. And I suppose Malema is not that engaging.
That Zuma is only following one person, The Presidency and Zille is following at least 1,636 people at the time of writing, given the latter’s presence on Twitter and taking into account the number of followers each one of these leaders have and were those to be converted into voters counted by IEC which counts the number of voters (followers in this case) these leaders have – Zille would by now be President of South Africa and with that, everyone one of her voters would be on a trip to Haven for voting her to The Presidency.
If only Twitter was IEC and one’s followers were tomorrow’s local government election voters…