By. Junior William Deng.
Politics is playing second fiddle to technology today. This interplay between politics and technology has increased access to political information available for consumption on daily basis through media outlets such as cable news, Facebook, Google news, Snapchat, Viber, Twitter, etc.
Technology has improved politics, particularly Political communication where politicians talk to the masses online unlike traditional political communication where politicians conduct rallies to relay messages. Today, a politician tweets, Facebooks or goes live on messenger and thousands followers would get informed.
Recently, Dr. Majak D’agoot twitted about Hon. Nhial Deng Nhial handshake refusal in Entebbe. This tweet was heavily consumed online but the interesting thing was how a tweet of less than one hundred and forty(140) words generated national debate. This shows how vital the technology is to the people of all walks of life and how paramount is technology to the masses, communication and the politicians.
Given South Sudan political environment, many politicians are not aware about the role technology plays in masses daily businesses and in their daily undertakings as politicians. They still think that there are specific times for political rallies and specific occasions for politicking. Politicians still think that times for politics are times for general elections which is not true and which is anti-politics.
Politics is a daily currency and the structure and agency for which it’s run is constantly revolving, it has no stop or specific station. And now that technology has added another gear, politics is ever busy chasing the mirage of technology. With this in mind, politicians who are quickly adaptive to this interplay between politics and technology catches the warm of politics at the dawn.
This is not easy, it comes with costs and benefits. The politicians who are stubbornly aversive are not good for Facebook or Twitter. I mean those who are not ready to take their share of criticisms or receive contemptuous messages or insults. These types of politicians find it difficult to thrive in political and technological interplay, sometimes, they blame technology for their incivility and poor demeanor. This prospect of politicians can’t manage ‘ethnicised’ political environment in the world, they belong to village politics – the medieval one.
This, however, is easy for flexible, risk takers, civilized and confident politicians; those who are ready to accept and live with share of criticisms whether it crushes their personalities, accept every fate or savagery that comes with ‘ethnicised’ politics as it is the norm and practice in South Sudan.
Dr. Majak D’agoot is an epitome of the case above: the politician and technology in an ‘ethnicised’ political Community. I follow him on Twitter and in many virtual and social forums, he has immersed himself in arguments with people but he is not afraid of anything. He is available for criticisms and praises at the same measure. I believe he is the only politician constantly available online and always ready to speak irrespective of age, sex, race, religion or class with speed and mastery.
This politician uses technology to facilitate his message. Toady his political peers envy him and even those who bitterly disagree with him and insult him are always aware that he is very good, something they do not want to ‘unfollow’ him for, something they want to keep interacting with him, something they want to meet him at coffee tables for, political bars and even wish to have rallies with him so soonest.
This is what all politicians should embrace, shelf egos and join technological wheels in order to get their share of criticisms and praises than using physical coercion to silence opponents or intimidate insulting masses. Insult is not a crime, it is just a pure freedom of expression. Don’t waste your political time trying to shut down those who insult you, live larger than them, they will follow you anytime.
Political communication is very dynamic today than before and politicians who are available online and on other media make their lives comfortable, they interact with masses and endear themselves every day. This allows them to build Political constituencies and Consensus for competitive politics. This is because online constituencies are easily converted to valid electoral base when elections are conducted.
Lastly, politics and technology are inseparable. It’s not only politicians who should enjoy the fruits of political and technological freedom, business people, college students, professors and peasants should get on top of this beautiful interplay and seek knowledge in order to change their lives for better and prosperity.