In today’s world, a lot has changed enormously as far the production, consumption and dissemination of information is concerned. The advancement in information and technology has made the dissemination of news and views so easy and so fast. Nowadays, citizens are not confined to consuming only the traditional media which are mostly controlled and operated by the states, for example, as it is in our country, Ethiopia. This is so because social media is changing the information landscape in a very fast pace. Citizens are getting more freedom to express their opinions, views and feelings.
Indeed, the social media has created a platform for every citizen to discuss and debate. Now, everybody speaks. Everybody influences. People are more connected to one another than ever before. This connection via social media has enabled the citizens to converse on important issues that matter to them-identity, culture, language, politics, and economy and so on. Here I have to admit the fact that social media has got its own deficiencies. But for now, I am more impressed by its good qualities than the bad ones.
The main stream media(TV/Radio) are now closely following people’s reactions about the news and information that they broadcast/publish. They ask the citizens to comment or reflect on the their news of the day. They have started to recognize citizens’ active participation in the dissemination of news and views. Citizen journalism is becoming more influential in process of helping the people have informed opinions about issues happening locally and globally. Now, the time has passed, not to come back, for those who still aspire to control the society by controlling information.
Actually, our governments are not happy with the social media because they know that the social media are empowering the citizens and this makes it difficult for them to fool the people as they used to do it before. In fact, these people are devising different tactics in order to impede the free exchange of information by people via the social media. We often see that some social media sites are blocked simply because they have got views that critical of the governments.
But still that activity doesn’t seem to stop people from getting information because they have got different thousands of alternatives. Many savvy people are having access to these blocked sites by cracking them easily. Moreover, new technologies are coming into scene making it difficult for those who want control the free flow of information. This fact will remain a headache for those who want tell the society only their own versions of truths.
Certainly, social media has given us unprecedented opportunities for freely expressing our views, opinions, feelings and perceptions based on our understandings of events or situations that directly and indirectly affect our lives. Hadn’t it not been for the social media, we would have remained muzzled!