Members of Parliament, social media and debates

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Dear Editor,

 

I am personally grateful for the availability of Internet and especially the use of social media in Samoa. I see confidence in many of our local users in voicing their opinions and concerns online, and public debate. 

It is a great tool to get in touch with families and friends and the communities.

We can meet and connect with all sorts of people on social media in a matter of minutes and seconds. What a huge development because it’s something that was impossible in the past 15 to 20 years ago but now everything has changed.

The use of social media is not limited to a generation or a group. All sorts of people in Samoa and everywhere else are active on social media. 

Even M.P.s or politicians are using social media on a daily basis to stay connect with the general public and also their families and friends. I mean we can talk for days about Trumps social media experience who is very much notorious for his questionable Tweeters. 

I have seen some of our own local M.P.s with Facebook pages such as

Faumuina Wayne Fong, Olo Afoa Fiti Vaai, Aumua Isaia Lameko, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, and many more. I applaud them for their open mindedness to use social media as a valuable tool to interact with the citizens and contribute on some of the public discussions of issues relating to Samoa.

I also think it’s a great encouragement for all other M.P.s to stay connected with the people using Facebook. 

I mean if you are not connected with your constituency face to face other than those days before the election, then FB and the social media is there. Especially when more and more people have cellphones nowadays. 

The only tiny little caution or my personal expectation is for our M.P.s to be strong and courageous when taking a stand online. 

I have witnessed some of our M.P.s get easily foiled in when it comes to heated discussions and debates on topics relating to Samoa and the government.

For example I had a few exchanges in the past with a certain M.P. on the topic of L.T.R.A. and the control of the government but he somehow felt offended and deliberately blocked some of us and our comments online. 

He may have his own fair reasons of doing so but I expected a lot more from him.

I realize at that point that some of our M.P.s and politicians do not have the guts to play their game on social media but they are only interested in using the tool for personal reasons and personal attacks. 

They seem to lack the courage to face arguments from the general public or his constituency on public issue. 

My hope is for M.P.s to use social media more often and be more comfortable online and to make sure that when you do go online you must expect opinions from your people whether they disagree or agree with you. 

If you do not have the confidence to handle and discuss public issue on a public forum, then I think you should reconsider the use of social media or consider what you share online. 

Some of the M.P.s throw comments or opinions online but are not interested in the opinion of the citizens. 

That could also reflect ones inability to represent the voice of the citizens in Parliament.

Manuia tele galuega o lenei aso

 

Fale J Galuefa 

(FjG)

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