The Presidency is trending on Twitter following a tweet from the president’s office yesterday calling for suggestions and comments in the run-up to this year’s State of the Nation address (SONA).
Using the Twitter name @PresidencyZA, the Presidency tweeted: “#SONA2011 The president wants our Twitter family’s views, ideas and comments for his State of the Nation address.”
This was followed by another tweet: “#SONA2011 How can we improve the lives of all South Africans? This is your platform, the president is listening.”
The hashtag #SONA2011 then quickly began trending, according to Twitter trend-map services TrendsJoburg and TrendsCapeTown.
While some members of the PresidencyZA’s “twamily” remain sceptical, others have responded enthusiastically with sincere comments and ideas. Some tweets @PresidencyZA so far have included:
“#SONA2011. Not that you’ll do this, but (1) ease labour laws and (2) make skilled Immigration A LOT easier.”
“My idea: How the government plans to engage the private sector to build skills that lead to job creation. #SONA2011.”
“#SONA2011 We need to see more academia/business roundtables to reduce skills shortage.”
“Sure, but first: Will you listen AND take action?”
The Presidency is not new to social media, but this is the first time it appears to be making an active effort to engage with its constituency specifically for the State of the Nation address.
“We first joined the social networks when Kgalema Motlanthe was still president. But our activity has steadily increased since president Zuma has been in office,” says the Presidency.
“We have quite active support on both Twitter and Facebook, and we feel that our followers represent quite a considerable part of our constituency, so we use the platforms to encourage suggestions and engagement.”
The Office of the Presidency also said Twitter offered the opportunity for South African citizens to feel involved in the State of the Nation address.
“We want the people to be able to make a contribution to this year’s SONA, and so far the response has been amazing. We are actually trending on Twitter.”
Tweet, then what?
Responding to what will actually be done with the stream of comments received, the president’s office said they will look at all comments, and will filter and select those that will then be presented to Zuma upon his return from Ethiopia.
“We only have a few days after his return to prepare for the SONA, so the president will not be able to read all of the comments,” said the Presidency.
The deadline for ideas and comments is 3 February. Zuma will present the State of the Nation address on 10 February, at 7pm.