The emergence of social media has revolutionised the way media transmits information to its audience in Africa, especially Ghana. Media houses now count social media platforms as important channels for distributing news.
In assessing the real usage of social media by news outlets in Ghana, Penplusbytes, a non-profit organisation promoting effective governance using technology in Africa, has released its first Social Media Index (SMI) report on Ghana’s print, radio and television media houses.
According to a press release issued by Penplusbytes, the index examined the media houses’ activity on social media up until February 8, 2016, and how effectively they use social media platforms, especially Twitter and Facebook, to interact with their target audience.The report looked at 37 newspapers found to be in active operation and/or most visible in newsstands. It also looked at 16 out of the 22 TV stations and 309 out of the 390 radio stations currently operating on air.
The report shows low usage of social media by print media. Many of the newspapers in Ghana do not have a strong social media presence as compared to radio and TV stations. According to the report, 20 out of 37 newspaper have active Facebook pages, and only 6 have active Twitter handles.
The radio stations in Ghana, according to the report, use social media more actively to engage their audience than newspapers. Citi FM, one of Ghana's most influential media houses, was identified as the leader in social media presence in Ghana. Citi FM has over 600,000 likes on Facebook and a verified Twitter account (the first media house in Ghana that got a verified account by Twitter) with over 265,000 followers.
Viasat 1, a privately owned TV station, was the television outlet with the strongest Facebook presence — it has over 680,000 likes – while national TV station Ghana Television News has over 191,000 likes Facebook likes.
According to the report, Daily Graphic, the most read newspaper in Ghana, had the highest number of likes on Facebook with over 621,000 likes. Daily Guide, a privately owned newspaper, took the lead with respect to number of Twitter followers – over 12,000.
More and more Ghanaians are looking to social media for up to the minute news, so it's important for the local media houses to satisfy this need or else Ghanaians may end up favouring foreign media houses’ social media accounts.
You can download the full report here.