Presidential visit to Africa + social media = new lasting relationships

Barack Obama makes first visit to Africa as president

Barack Obama makes first visit to Africa as president using official social media and mobile messages to increase participation.

One of the world’s most influential leaders visits Africa and social media is extending the buzz created by the trip and maybe something more substantial than hype?

A new lasting relationship between the U.S. and nations in Africa started through social media. The modern version of the pen pal.

In the blog post “From Creating Buzz to Creating Lasting Conversations” the author makes the case that “a company entering the South African market and looking to make a long lasting impression, it is a good idea to first identify and market to, through and with value-added influencers to leverage the full potential of social media marketing.”

The point is the visit of an influential leader President Barack Obama is a flash point to further grow the conversations taking place in the social networks and provides other companies or political candidates to ride the buzz to build their own brands.

The African people are used to foreign leaders coming to their countries promising things and getting no results. Worst of all they may not even have a voice in the matter.

A visit by the president is not just official talks and a parade anymore, it’s a chance for participation with the president taking questions from Africa using Twitter and Facebook. With the growth of social media across South Africa and the continent average citizens have access to these tools and can be part of positive change for Africa.

Mary Deane Conners, Charge d’Affaires of the US Mission in SA praised news organization iol.co.za which had “provided an extraordinary opportunity for South Africans to engage through a social media platform with the White House.” President Obama will reply with answers to the “Questions for Obama” campaign.

What better way to get new Africans interest in social media than when the first black President of the United States visit the continent and for the first time it will involve official U.S. government social media and mobile messages.

People are watching his speech at U.S. embassies in the region, while others participate online via Twitter, Facebook, and the White House blog. According to the blog speech excerpts were sent out to thousands of SMS subscribers in Africa and around the world.

During the presidents visit organizers invited users to pre-send SMS messages via MXit, a South African SMS service with 14 million users worldwide.

During the presidents visit organizers invited users to pre-send SMS messages via MXit, a South African SMS service with 14 million users worldwide.

The U.S. government has set up a site where users can register to receive SMS (Short Message Service) updates about Obama’s visit and send messages and comments. The visit organizers invited users to pre-send SMS messages via MXit, a South African SMS service with 14 million users worldwide.

I know the President is on the ground in Africa for 22 hours and a speech, blog and a few SMS messages will not change the live of millions of Africans. It is to much to ask from centuries of upheaval that social networking and a man who has been in office for six months to change. But, this President has the credibly, Kenya was his father’s birthplace, and equally as important the star power and respect of the African people.

The much-hyped trip is expected to raise the level of local content and access to social media as a communication tool, and just may form new relationships that can improve the lives of millions of Africans.

You know the President’s recent campaign slogan and it can and will work to help Africa through the power of social conversation.

“Yes we can!”

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3 Responses to Presidential visit to Africa + social media = new lasting relationships

  1. It’s interesting that you are the only one this week that focused their post on the Presidential visit to Africa – particularly given how much conversation it generated online. You do a good job of bringing out some of this conversation and pointing to the opportunity that it raises for South Africa to collaborate online and use the online medium in an interesting and impactful way. I’m glad you chose to shine your lens on this topic and talk about it this week – and your premise that this case points to the big opportunities in social media that South Africa has. (4)

  2. Gregg Rapaport says:

    The digital Administration Obama (having redefined online campaigning) is now using social media overseas to create more transparency and informed conversation. Your post raises the idea that the very nature of diplomacy may change as a result. Face-to-face meetings between representatives of governments may be outdated by direct Web 2.0 dialogue between leaders and foreign populations.

  3. Beatriz Perez says:

    Glad to see another example of continued use of social media by our new administration, especially as it strives to establish or maintain ties with other nations. Even if not adopted in the same manner by all countries, this shows an example of the potential possibilities and use for social media in various settings.

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