By Joseline Byakatonda
The breach of data privacy by Facebook in recent years has raised a debate on the relevance of media considering its challenges; whether media is reliable and worth adapting. Facebook, a social platform with an estimate of 2.2 billion monthly users has faced criticism since 2018 when it publicly emerged that 50 million accounts of its users were hacked into somehow leading to its downfall. In every circumstance, there are sympathizers but also opponents rejoicing. To the extreme end however, are those persons using circumstances resulting into Facebook’s fall to justify their inflexible attitude to embrace digital media with the excuse of fearing their accounts being hacked into. While this may be viewed as wisdom on their side detecting trouble early and staying away from it, ignorance is blinding them. Incidentally, as these justifications roll in mind, the use of media in the World is instead growing with new inventions.
It is speculated that by 2020, 70% of the World’s population will have a Smartphone. Ideally, 7 out of 10 people you see will own a Smartphone. Already, there are more phones in the World than its population but not all are Smartphones. In a Country like Uganda where over 50% of the population is of youth age and the number still growing, six of the seven will be youth. This speaks volumes to the direction of youth engaging interventions. In fact, non digital interventions will most likely not seduce any youth; thus a call for youth for matters to soar ahead of the tide. (7,687,783,109 World Population)
With the current trend, even a child can analyze the influence of digital media and youth on not only politics but social, economic as well as spiritual environment. How did the World know Bobi Wine ‘the favorite of the youth’ had been arrested? Which platforms were used to advocate for his release if not digital media. There is a common joke that if digital were to phase out, many professionals would lose their jobs because uncle Google ‘who is the current super teacher in every field’ would be no more. In universities, phones are no longer allowed in the examination room after discovering that digital media was sitting the exams for the students and not the students themselves, every answer being just a click away.
To seize any opportunity worldwide, digital skills are part of the requirements now and so has it infiltrated classrooms with pupils doing their homework on digital. Digital is ceasing to be a want but a need! Digital influence will continue shaping the trend of affairs among the youth and wider communities at large will wait the digital political arena come 2021 political campaigns in Uganda. Like any other skill or subject, digital compliance calls for a paradigm shift without which one will remain in the status quo. Gone are the days when people would rush home for news hour. A speech, homily or sermon given in America finds way to Uganda in a second and vice versa.
In Uganda, news about the harassment of a traffic officer by Uganda’s Ambassador to Burundi, Rt. Maj. Gen. Matayo Kyaligonza and his bodyguards spread to people’s sitting rooms before it was even aired by media houses thanks to WhatsApp. Cheap and faster opinion polls are done on social media with just a click on the thumb up or down. (66.65 % of the world own a cell phone)
Therefore, digital media has become the opposer (going by opposer-proposer debate terms) of the long traditional methods of communication, mobilization and teaching. With the growing number of those embracing digital media however, winning it to our side as Christian formators, will yield better positive results than fighting it or else faze out of the 21st Century. (8,918,157,500 Mobile Connections)
To play on the digital media arena, the following should be considered. First, set goals and objectives to be achieved.
– Set perimeters or targets.
– Mark out the competitor.
– Choose the media of communication suitable to the audience E.g. You Tube, WhatsApp etc.
– Set the type of content to be shared, the time of posting and the frequency.
– Determine the cost, set a budget and respective resources.
– Assign roles if you are a team on who will do what or else it will never happen.
(5,123,988,900 Unique Mobile Subscribers)
With the digital era going forward and not backward, adapting to the demands of the 21st Century is paramount to remaining relevant or else the environment will automatically faze-out those who can’t.
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