|President Jacob Zuma on his iPad|
On Thursday evening I almost fell off my seat when I heard President Jacob Zuma saying he is on Facebook and Twitter and uses this as a communication tool to address problems faced by citizens. He was in the middle of thanking those who made the event possible and went on to say: “I would like to thank the mainstream media, direct contact media and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.” For a while I thought he was just staging until he quoted issues raised by some Facebook ‘friends’ of his and assured the nation that these issues are going to be attended to.
Without withstanding other important announcements of the address-such as the impressive R39 billion budget he announced for the IDC, tax breaks and the Job Fund - I found this social networking with Zuma irony very interesting especially given the criticisms and stereotypes he has faced in his presidential term.
In the eyes of the world, President Jacob Zuma has been looked at as the Zulu traditionalist who practises polygamy, as the UK’s Independent reported on 5 June 2010, and a person with a low level of formal education which the Mail&Guardian told us about on 10 March 200. So this use of social networks and technology goes against such stereotypes.
Earlier on Thursday, it was said that he’d used his iPad to type his speech. Evidently, not only is our president’s speech better than his first State of the Nations Address-as agreed upon by the ANC, opposition parties and political analysts, he has also transformed drastically in his social field.
Technological innovations are taking over the social world, I think it is a good thing that the President has involved himself in something that a lot of the citizens of this country are engaging in. As for Job creation, youth development and other issues that were addressed in his speech, a lot of translation still needs to be done with how they will be implemented. I guess from now on it isn’t going to be a hassle to forward your queries to the President, just get on your facebook or twitter account and send your message to the presidency.