Governments around the world are embracing social media as a way of communicating with their citizens. The role of social media in political campaigning gained much credibility after the US election campaign of 2008, which saw President Obama swept all the way into the White House.
When South African President Jacob Zuma takes the stage for his annual State of the Nation address on the 10th of February, a selection of the country’s tweets will be up there with him. This is according to @presidencyZA, the official Twitter account of the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa.The account tweeted “The President wants our Twitter family’s views, ideas and comments for his State of the Nation Address”, and the nation seems to have responded with an array of issues for the President to address on February 10.
Using the hashtag #SONA2011 people have been responding positively:
@121KTM tweeted: “#SONA2011 what are you doing to address the gap between tertiary education and the work place? the SETA’s are dysfunctional.”
“#SONA2011 Please b specific when addressing the issue of Malema. A permanent “GAG” or strip him of his title. he’s embarrassing,” tweeted @Thoxxic
@GillianF tweeted: “#SONA2011 education education education we’re nowhere near a level playing field yet and until then apartheid still features.”
“…economic, social and spatial inclusion: in situ informal settlement upgrading, link access to water/sanitation to health outcomes #SONA2011,” tweeted @katetiss
The presidency has responded positively to the comments, tweeting “#SONA2011 Due to the incredible response, the deadline for submitting ideas for the State of the Nation Address has been extended to 6 Feb”
We await with interest to hear if and how the President will reference Twitter and some of these tweets he received during his annual address.