Addis Ababa (HAN) October 12, 2015 – Public Diplomacy & Regional News. Opinion By Dr. S. Kavitha. In this today’s technological world, relationship is created using social media all over the world. Introduction of Smart phones has increased the use of these social media tools. This article explains the selected and widely used social media instruments. It also explains how social media tools are used by different organizations in Ethiopia.
The widely accepted definition for Media is–it is an instrument used by the people for communication. E.g., Newspaper, Television or Radio. In the same sense, social media could be social instrument of communication. Social media is a two way street, which allow the people to interact and share the contents.
Social Media websites
Facebook is an online social networking service. Facebook was launched on Feb 4, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg. It is headquartered in Menlopark, California. Initially, it was used only by Harvard students and from 2006 onwards anyone who is at least 13 years are allowed to become a registered user.
Twitter is a social networking site, headquartered in San Francisco, USA, with a mission to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.
LinkedIn is the mainstream social media site that is actually geared towards business to meet customers, getting touch with vendors, recruiting new employees, keeping up with latest in business or industry news. It is the worlds’ largest professional network with 300 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe. Linkedln was started by cofounder Reid Hoffman in 2002, it is officially launched on May 5, 2003, head quartered in US. It has about 1289739 followers.
Tumblr is micro blogging platform. It is a social networking website. It was founded by David Karp and Owned by Yahoo incorporation. Users can post multimedia and other content as short form blog. Company is head quartered in New York city.
Youtube is a video sharing service. It is the world’s second largest search engine. Through you tube users have the ability to comment on what they see. It allows the billions of people to discover, watch and share originally created videos. It was launched by three people Steve Chan, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karimon Feb 14, 2005. It is head quartered in Sanbruno, California. In November 2006, it was bought by Google for US $ 1.65 billion. You tube is available in 76 languages
Flickr – almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world – has two main goals one is to help people make their photos available to the people who matter to them and second goal to enable new ways of organizing photos and video
Delicious (formerly del.icio.us) is a social book marking web service which can be used for storing, sharing, and discovering the web bookmarks. The site was founded by Joshua Schachter in 2003. Yahoo acquired delicious in 2005. The service was used by more than 5.3 million users and 180 million unique bookmarked URLs during 2008. AVOS systems purchased Delicious from Yahoo in 2011. In May 2014, AVOS sold the site to Science Inc.
Usage of social media in Ethiopia
Use of social media is encouraged by organizations whether government or private and this allows organizations to become closer to their audiences, to engage with and listen to them – it helps reach a much wider range of stakeholders than through traditional methods of diplomacy. There is popularity of social media now in Ethiopia, and people’s excitement about the possibilities it brings. One thing that is gradually changing is that people are posting or tweeting for a specific purpose rather than just issuing the first things that come into their mind. They want to create awareness about what really matters to them – or make points about politics, economics and development. Social media also provides an opportunity for people who might otherwise be unable to do so to interact with an international audience. Although internet penetration has traditionally been a challenge in Ethiopia, there are now 3 million Ethiopian based Facebook and Twitter accounts and 400,000 Ethiopian based LinkedIn accounts as per a report. That is only going to increase further as the economy continues to grow and more and more people have the disposable income to buy computers and smart phones. The future social media possibilities for Ethiopia will focus on E-Commerce or online marketing.
Use of social media in Ethiopian organizations
WHO Country Office for Ethiopia has joined the global discussion on health on Facebook and Twitter._They are inviting people to Like and follow them, share stories, join the conversation and be part of their efforts towards better health in Ethiopia through their facebook account :https://www.facebook.com/WHOEthiopia and they also invite people to Follow them on Twitter:@WHOEthiopia
UNICEF Ethiopia enjoys a very active presence on Social Media with accounts on facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube, flickr, and delicious. They have given links to like/follow/subscribe and join UNICEF Ethiopia any time, anywhere as shown below.
Social media in Ethiopian Elections
The growth of internet and social media users has encouraged political parties to immerse themselves in the virtual world. One of the political parties contesting this election, the Ethiopian Democratic Party (EDP), under the leadership of Chane Kebede (PhD), has embraced the use of social media since 2014. Five years ago, as the fourth general election of Ethiopia was being held, the number of people that had access to internet was a mere 450,400. By 2014, the number had quadrupled and reached 2.5 million, according to UNICEF’s 2014 study. In 2010, of the total population that had access to internet, 401,160 had Facebook accounts whereas in five years, this number has grown to 1,960,000. Semayawi Party, a newcomer to the Ethiopian political arena, has been utilising the social media to its advantage since its establishment three years ago through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, noted Yonathan Tesfaye, public relations head of the party.
Thus the use of social media in Ethiopia shows increasing trend. The different organizations in Ethiopia should understand the importance of social media in today’s scenario and should try to show their presence in social media so as to attract more stakeholders through which they can improve their performance. This writer is an associate professor, grg school of management studies,coimbatore, india