Communication does not only strengthen every aspect of life including relationships, businesses and governance, it is an integral component of it. The advent of social media about a decade ago has not only changed the dynamics of communications, but created opportunities for millions of people all over the globe who are now connect through platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Without question, the evolution witnessed in the digital space over the last decade has contributed to the democratisation of civic voices, allowing the most marginalised groups in society to actively lend their voices to issues that affect them, no matter how little their spaces are. It has also enhanced learning and increased citizens’ participation in governance, among other notable developments.
Digital space has evolved to be an important space for youth development, socialisation, and learning. The 21st century youth are growing up in a more networked, information-flow environment, leveraging on digital tools to articulate their creativity, seek knowledge and attention, garner information and network. Young people also use these platforms to establish and manage relationships, communicating with their peers and mentors.
Currently, over 170 million people in Africa are registered members of diverse social media platforms, specifically Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and WhatsApp , with youth constituting over sixty per cent of registered users . In Ghana, ninety-four per cent of the youth population are registered on one or more social media platforms. Similarly, about ninety-five per cent are in Nigeria also. However, while millions of young people remain active on these platforms, less than five per cent use the space to communicate transformative ideas; engage or drive advocacy activities or mobilise for a just-cause including demanding for accountability, transparency and good governance from leaders across the continent .
This article seeks to provide a few ideas on how the youth can use their access to social media and digital space in general, to actively engage actors and leaders in the political arena, amplify their voices and demand for their rights and sustainable development.