John Mahama, president of Ghana tweets with his PERSONAL account and gets an ‘unfavourabe’ reply from the US embassy’s twitter account. The aftermath is like the bursting of a giant boil. As a social media manager and student of social media, I humbly share my thoughts on what I think happened and what should be done to perhaps prevent or at least limit such occurrences.
The reply as coming from the embassy account makes it look so bad. If it had come from an individual, not much attention would have been paid to it. I do not begrudged the government if they have taken offence. If President Putin tweets something and a US embassy somewhere responds in such a manner, it will be a big deal. So let’s say the government’s beef is justified. The good news however is that the US embassy didn’t stand by the tweet and defend themselves. They apologized to the President and explained what might have happened; That whoever it was had wanted to tweet something personal and mistakenly used the embassy’s account.
The reply in question and as the US embassy explains it will sound familiar to any social media manager who handles multiple accounts including his own. It happened to me on a number of occasions. There was this time that a topic was trending on breast and bras. As a breast cancer awareness campaigner, I felt strongly to contribute. I tweeted about boobs and bra only to realize a few seconds later that I sent the tweet from an official account and not mine. I quickly deleted it. And I guess I was lucky no one retweeted or screen-munched it. From that time, I became more cautious and double-check post/tweets to make sure they were not naked or lethal or coming from a wrong source before sending them.
This brings us back to the case of personal and official accounts. If my mind sets me right, Ghana’s presidency had twitter and facebook accounts. What happened to those? Accounts like these derive more respect than personlised ones most times. And in a situation like ours, where we prefer to use a personal account instead of a more official one which represents the presidency no matter who is in office, we should be mindful of what we post as it is difficult to separate personal tweets from official government positions.
Yeah, our president is tech savvy and is active on social media and wants to be seen as such. It comes with its own risk. That is the very reason why we must have a recognized official account belonging to the Presidency and not John Mahama. To add a little icing to the burnt cake, I seriously think some key government officials have been ‘recklessly reckless’ with their social media activities lately. I guess it’s time provision is made to school our officials who want to be so active on social media on the dos and don’ts. If you continue walking across the muddy soccer pitch recklessly and annoyingly interfering with the game, you do not bark or cry when mud comes flying unto your white shirt.
We have good examples from our own Rwanda to learn from again.