Ghanaian civil society organisation, Penplusbytes, has released its maiden report on Governance Social Media Index (SMI) which tracks the relevance and effective use of social media in the governance space of Ghana.
The SMI report assesses and ranks the presence of political parties, political party leaders and key election management bodies in Ghana on social media by reviewing the number of followers and their level of engagement on Facebook and Twitter as of June 8th, 2016.
The report measures how key actors within Ghana’s political environment use their social media platforms to reach out and engage target audiences and how this impacts their electoral fortunes and society.
According to the report, President John Dramani Mahama and presidential nominee of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is leading the pack of presidential candidates with 223,834 followers on twitter and 880,620 likes on Facebook.
President Mahama is followed by the presidential nominee of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo with 94,034 followers on Twitter and 715,761 likes on Facebook.
“Both candidates have verified accounts with high engagements on their platforms”, the report pointed out.
On the political parties’ front, only four out of the 25 registered political parties in the country have twitter handles. The NPP dominates on both Facebook and Twitter while the NDC follows in second place.
According to the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Kwami Ahiabenu II, the report has shown that politicians, political parties and some election management bodies in Ghana have adopted social media as a new method of reaching out to electorate with their message in addition to the traditional media.
“With over 3 million Ghanaians on Facebook, the political parties who campaign online will no doubt have some great results come November 7”, he added.
Ahead of and during the 2016 Ghana election, Penplusbytes will be using this report to periodically monitor the impact of campaign messages on the electoral fortunes of political parties and their leaders as well as the impact of other election management bodies through social media.
Penplusbytes is a not-for-profit organization driving change through innovations in three key areas: using new digital technologies to enable good governance and accountability, new media and innovations, and driving oversight for effective utilisation of mining, oil and gas revenue and resources.