EFFECTIVENESS OF NEW MEDIA TECHNOLOGIES AS A TOOL OF POLITICAL COMMUNICATION IN NIGERIA

From colonial day’s election to post independence polls, to the enthronement of democracy in 1999, mass media have been a major platform for political communication, education and public mobilization for sustaining our democracy.

The art of politicking has always relied upon the promotion of one party, candidate or point of view over another. The only thing that has changed is the method and techniques available to political communicators are media availability. In the early days of political advertising and campaign, communicators relied upon the dissemination of audacious handbills and word of mouth, newspaper, magazine, radio, television, billboard and posters.

As technology evolved the channels available to political advertisers grew exponentially. The twentieth century marked the first time in political advertising history that political communicators had the means to reach audience on a mass scale through social networking platform such as facebook, twitter, youtube and instagram etc.

The advent of social networking is a cyber-revolution that has changed the course of time. New media is an information revolution which brings about citizen journalism and ends of government mono-poly of mass media platform and enhanced freedom and access to information.

A report by the NCC in June 2015 puts the number of subscribers browsing the internet on Nigeria‘s telecoms networks at over 87 million as at April, 2015 (Ubabukoh, 2015). The number of Facebook users in Nigeria increased from 400, 000 in 2007 to over 11 million in January 2014 (Social Media Week, 2014; Ehidiamen, 2013). Some statistics put the current figure at 14.8 million in 2015 (Nwabasha, 2015) in Odeyemi, and Mosunmola, (2015)

The country also boasts a sizeable number of Twitter and YouTube users, running into millions. George (2015), for instance, puts the number of active Twitter users in Nigeria at 6 million by 2013, while the other social media sites account for another 6 million. These figures may overlap; someone can maintain accounts on multiple social media sites (George, 2015) cited in Odeyemi, and Mosunmola, (2015)

Some of the technologies that are making this development possible and easier are smartphone, digital camera, tablet, computer, modem, internet, facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube, whatsapp, wechat and blogs etc.

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