Amid the many shortcomings and blame placed on social media for some of the problems Zimbabwe has been having, heading into 2018, social media activity will most likely rock the nation. We have already started seeing some of those trends coming out in the open already, but trust me, they should be more pronounced in 2018.
The power of social media can never be underplayed, and while we can debate over whether we have to place blame on Social media or the people, the impact of social media in today’s life is huge.
By Pearson Mbendera
Social media networks have evolved in Zimbabwe, from being a novel idea to a place where people met, connected and reconnected, to a place where they get to share all the intricate details of their lives. While the numbers may have fallen on social media pages like Facebook in Zimbabwe over the years, the activity on social media pages still continue to rise, spilling over into politics.
Here are the trends we expect to see on social media next year
More politics on social media.
Zimbabwe will go to polls next year, and given the social media activity happening already, sparks will definitely fly from social media. Remember how the Facebook page of Baba Jukwa took social media by storm during the run up to the 2013 elections, now expect more social media coverage of politics.
With the likes of Pastor Evan Mawire, ThisFlag and Tajamuka having made waves already on social media, affecting the political landscape and even getting arrested in the process. Social media has already proved to be quite a tool for sending political activism message out. But this has been happening during none election years, when peace and quiet is expected. But as 2018 draws near we should expect to see more of social media disrupting politics.
While the participation of the youths in the electoral process hasn’t been quite as good and encouraging, the continued political engagement on social media has enabled many youths to take part. Whether social media politics encourages political passivity is another topic for discussion, the participation of youths in politics is of paramount importance to the nation, and social media will help with that.
We will have to be on the lookout for fake news and other disgusting material made to lead people astray on social media.
Increased brand participation on social media
Social media marketing is on the rise, taking over from traditional marketing that has been in existence for long. Considering the low costs involved and the better chances of feedback it offers better a better marketing option to advertising in papers. While I’m not advocating for the elimination of advertising in the press, quite the opposite actually, all I’m saying is that digital marketing will deliver even better results, at a lower budget, when done properly that is.
While there are some issues Zimbabweans will have to answer and sort out with regards to the way we conduct digital marketing here in Zimbabwe, the many opportunities it offers should entice even the most laggard of human being to at least try out digital marketing.
More live videos
A lot of businesses outside of Zimbabwe have been using live streaming to capture the attention of their followers online. Going live will be a huge catch phrase for anyone trying to reach out to a wider audience online.
Facebook live videos are ranked high than any other Facebook posts, be it links, images or even other videos, giving them anyone using live streaming a better chance of reaching out to the masses.
Going live will also be a huge marketing tool for companies seeking to build their brands online.
Stronger Government control
Needless to say, the social media activity has been disrupting how the government works and operates. While it is unclear if Hon Supa Mandiwanzira will continue to be the minister of ICT, Postal and Courier Services after the forthcoming cabinet reshuffle, who ever it will be holding that post will have one of the worst job of having to regulate social media activity in Zimbabwe.
Last year, after a rather successful demonstration orchestrated by Evan Mawarire via social media, access to social media was blocked for a while, and the same is expected next year, or at the very least, have it more controlled.
But it won’t just be the government, even the social media networks may effect some . Recently POTRAZ hosted a Facebook team that spoke of the necessary ways of using Facebook and even talked of Facebook accounts that got closed.
With phones getting more smarter and data getting more cheaper, accessing the internet will get even more easier, making anything that happens online, particularly on social media, impact a lot of people and affecting a lot of issues, be it personal or business, religious or political. 2018 could be a big year on social media in Zimbabwe.