Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Buhari, Jonathan not friends on Facebook, Twitter

Social media interaction may not be a true reflection of friendship or otherwise. But how will you feel if you visit your WhatsApp just to realise that your friend has blocked you?

By merely clicking like, liked, follow, unfollow, block, unblock and other similar buttons, one makes a statement about one’s social relationship with others. It is on this basis that some people consider social media relationship as an extension of physical relationship and as a means of assessing two individuals’ cordiality.

Two public figures whose social media relationship may have posed a question to the Internet users are President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Jonathan, whose declaration for the 2011 presidential race was revealed via Facebook, unveiled his personal Twitter handle – @GEJonathan – a few months ago. He has since hooked with a few of his associates. But if you think Buhari is among individuals Jonathan is following, you are wrong.

Among eminent persons and organisations following Jonathan are the United States President, Barack Obama; presidents of Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya, Alassane Ouattara and Uhuru Kenyatta, respectively; the Jimmy Carter Presidential library and Museum; Executive Director of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Michel Sidibé; the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation and Georja Calvin-Smith of France 24.

Buhari was not on the list as of Tuesday.

On the other hand, Jonathan is not on Buhari’s official Twitter (@NGRPresident) that has Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo; the President’s media aides, Femi Adesina and Shehu Garba; wife of the President, Aisha; a communication firm, StateCraft Inc, and Siya Xuza of South Africa.

The President has a wider web of following on his personal page – @MBuhari. On this page, Buhari follows 51 tweeters, including local media organisations, key members of his 2015 presidential election campaign team, cabinet members, other heads of states and a few ‘lucky’ ordinary citizens.

President Obama, the US Secretary of States, John Kerry; office of a former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair; Jacob Zuma of South Africa and his Rwanda’s counterpart, Paul Kagame, are a few global figures on the list. Still, Jonathan’s Twitter page is missing on the page.

A search through Facebook pages of the two leaders also shows that they are not each other’s fan.

Both Jonathan and Buhari are notable users of Facebook. But because of inconsistent updates, they may have started losing their follows on the platform.

For instance, Buhari has lost 706 New Page Likes in the past one week.

His Total Page Like, as of Tuesday, was 166,808, a figure that does not reflect the growth rate the page experienced before his election.

The decline may be attributed to irregular update suffered by the page in recent months. For instance, the account has been inactive since June 18, 2015.

His famous @MBuhari has suffered similar scanty engagements in recent times. The page has not been in use since September 6, 2015 when the President highlighted his achievements in 100 days in office.

With 782 tweets in eight months of governance, not many people will consider @NGRPresident a ‘performing’ Twitter handle, considering the volume of social media requests Nigerians send to him daily.

Again, with 32 days gone in 2016, the Twitter handle has yet to publish anything on its timeline this year. The last post on the page, interestingly, was a call on Nigerians to engage the President on social media during his inaugural presidential media chat.

“Nigerians can participate in the discussion on social media by using the hashtag #PMBMediaChat and by mentioning @MBuhari,” he had posted.


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