Senegal: Twitter, the anti-Wade platform?

The social network Twitter is mostly a medium for urban youth. I am wondering if Wade, the president of Senegal, is aware of all the severe criticisms expressed against him on Twitter? Does he actually have any friends on the network? Where are the pro-Wade bloggers in Dakar? #kebetu

I “tweet” my question and get immediate reponses. @thiareo: “There are none, the people are fed up with Wade.” @NattySeydi: “pro-Wade bloggers there is none on twitter, #justsaying Pro-Wade but they are rather silent @tafiscoo @claire29”.

One person, @Tafiscoo, reacts. “Yes it’s true I am pro-Wade. I’m here for any discussion, but I am rarely on-line.” And indeed, @Tafiscoo seems to have been offline ever since…

Tweetless politicians

Fortunately, @NattySeydi is ready to meet me in downtown Dakar. He is a 25-year-old web developer, blogger and internet enthusiast. “Since 2009 I am mainly active on Twitter. I had a lot to say and had no other way to express myself.”

There are not many Senegalese politicians on Twitter. According to @NattySeydi, “there is an account for President Abdoulaye Wade at @LeWadaillon but I don’t think it’s him. You are able to find Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, Macky Sall, Ousmane Tanor Dieng, Moustapha Niasse and the Minister of Communication Moustapha Guirassy. But they don’t really post often. And you cannot be sure if it’s actually them or their communications officers. With Barack Obama, you can be sure it’s him.”

Anti-Wade

According to @NattySeydi, it’s unfortunate that there’s an anti-Wade majority on Twitter. “I saw two pro-Wades on Twitter today. I tried to start a discussion with them to find out why they are pro-Wade. But there was no real interaction. If pro-Wade people do not defend the ideas of Wade, than that’s a shame because then the information is only one way. There can be no balance.”

“People tend to say that people on Twitter are anti-Wade. The president should be able to defend his candidacy, and answer all our questions! But we are not seeing him…”

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