Generally, politicians love to see sea of cameras and flash lights striking at them in public places. They turn saints when they see the big TV cameras with long microphone stands struggling for space around their heads. They usually prefer seeing themselves in major TV news and front pages of newspapers.
However, since President Barack Obama brought the new media and social networking civilization into politics almost all his colleagues worldwide even those with no or little knowledge in internet usage have fallen for it. Politicians have realized that the new media on the internet is the cheapest and easiest conduit to gain popularity worldwide unlike national TV and radio stations as well as newspapers.
The new media/social networks are now a powerful tool to incite worldwide support for a cause. Let’s not delve into the pros and cons of the new media now. However, recently, a once powerful president of Africa’s island nation of Madagascar – Marc Ravalomana – was seen practically begging on YouTube for international support to obviously return to power.
I can bet with my life that Ravalomana would have snubbed any of his wo/men in power (when he was so powerful) if one had proposed YouTube or any social networking tool to him as a strategic communication tool to get his message across to his supporters. But he is using the same tool now that he’s powerless and do not have access to state media.
The internet and for that matter the new media is viewed as not so popular among the masses but with the elite few. In principle it is a fact but in reality it is far from the truth. Not until people exploit and explore the powerful effect of the new media they will continue to shrug it off.