Be careful of the image you create about our beloved country on social media

 Facebook and the Social Media have swiftly overtaken traditional media –newspapers, TV etc–as the most accessed source for information . Today, more people read FACEBOOK and spend far more time on social media than they do with newspapers. Online media outlets and social media are drying up tradional media faster than you know. In the U.S, for instance, newspapers are folding up or merging with other papers due to plummeting readerships, sales and profits.

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It must not surprise you that because of our two online newspapers and our fast-growing forums on Facebook, with membership now standing at nearly 12, 000 on each forum, COCORIOKO has a far more and better outreach than many print newspapers in Sierra Leone. I am not talking about the thousands more or even millions who read what we put out on Social media. We now have the capacity of reaching far more people and far more outposts, even the most remote regions of Sierra Leone than newspapers. And instantly. When I post any information, I am guaranteed that at least 5, 000 people get instant and immediate access to what I post. Newspapers do not enjoy that speed. We have both local and international clout . But back to the topic.

Facebook and social media are the starting points of all the wrong and false information, perpetuation of damaging stigmas , stereotypes and profiles and the unpatriotic activism that has brought disunity and chaos to certain countries in North Africa. The immense power of social media is underestimated. There is no better place to nourish or reverse the negative perceptions and stigma that serve as catalysts to bring down a nation than the social media. I therefore want to advice Sierra Leoneans to be fully aware of the damage they are doing to their nation when all they post on Social media about their country are false and damaging information and profiles. You are slowly destroying your own motherland. What you are engaged in is KORKOR JOURNALISM ( with apologies to the creator of another popular term –PLAYCOOK POLITICS —Dr. Sylvia Blyden ) . You are slowly sucking the blood and life out of your country.

We live today in a world, where, despite the stunning developments in technology, perception is reality . Perception , left “unaddressed” and unchallenged soon become reality. Public Relations professionals and experts would tell you that the best place to address error and wrong information and false perceptions is the social media where you have the potential to interface with millions in one shake of a rat’s tail.

In case you do not know, there are millions of people on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites . Any information placed on the socIal media is not accessed by people on your friends’ list and forums alone. Millions more are reading and taking note of what you are saying about your President, his officials and the country in general. Let us demonstrate some love for our country by exercising caution in what we post here about our lovable Mother Sierra Leone.

If you think that because your party is not in power you can go ahead and establish all kinds of dangerous and damaging stigmas, stereotypes and profiles about your country in the social media, you are behaving like the proverbial Ghanaian bird called SANKOFA, which fouls its nest and flies away to another country but does not know that one day it will have to return to the same nest. If and when your party ever comes to power, you will have to deal with the destructive stigmas and sterotypes you have created about your country.

We have a great country. God has blessed us with a wonderful country that has tremendous potentials . We have abundant natural resouces and we also have one of the best human resources in the world. The number of educated elite we have working as doctors, lawyers, engineers, professors , teachers, journalists and diplomats for international organizations all over the world attest to this fact. Our best years are also ahead . By the grace of God, Sierra Leone will soon become an oil-producing nation. We depend on aid today but one day some of our donor countries will begin receiving aid from us.

Therefore, let us stop damaging our country’s international image. The challenges we have can be found in other countries. All countries have problems and challenges . Even in the U.S, we have daunting challenges . But as a united nation, we can work together to rebuild our country. Let us throw our weight behind President Ernest Bai Koroma as he strives to develop mother Sierra Leone.

If we do not heed this kind advice and continue our path of destruction, we will learn one day that WE HAVE CUT OUR NOSE TO SPITE OUR FACE

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