“Influence” in the Emerging Ghana (According to Facebook) – by Bright Simons

Religious Leaders, Entertainers and Sportsmen most popular with Ghanaians?

 

It is not clear whether the “digitalisation” of Ghanaian life is impacting in anyway the nature and evolution of the notion of “influence” in Ghanaian society. Has the growing use of social media tools as means of engagement, interaction, patronage and conversation amongst the Middle Classes changed in anyway the modes of influence, persuasion and impact available to such public figures, or have these merely amplified existing patterns of elite behavior in the offline dimension?

 

An even worthier point is that the facebook community in Ghana now transcends the traditional boundaries of the socio-economic middle class, thanks to simple apps on cheap, basic, phones, and may thus be more representative of the mainstream society than we are wont to accept.

 

Using “facebook fanship” as the sole determinant of influence ranking in Ghana yields the following interesting “top 10” results (fan membership as at Jan 1 2011):

 

1. Pastor Mensah Otabil

2. Bishop Dag Heward Mills/Sarkodie

3. Mr. Majid Michel/Okyeame Kwame

4. Agya Koo

5. Wanluv Kubolor

6. Asamoah Gyan

7. Archbishop Duncan Williams

8. Komla Dumor

9. President Jerry John Rawlings

10. MzBel/Kwaw Kesse

 

Honorary Mention 🙂

11. Grandpapa Reggie Rockstone

 

It is interesting that some “obvious” names are missing. There is only one female public figure on the list – MzBel. Not Dr. Joyce Aryee. Not Ms. Elizabeth Villars. Similarly, only one politician made it – Jerry John Rawlings. Since Mr. Kofi Annan has not made Ghana his permanent home, we did not include him. He would have placed third, just above Agya Koo. We were puzzled to see that Peter Cardinal Turkson failed to place at all.

 

Christian religious leaders make up a third of the list. Leaders of other faiths did not even get a look in, Nana Kwaku Bonsam’s aggressive PR posturing notwithstanding. Top media personalities were saved as a category from ignonimity by Komla Dumor, though it should be noted that some like Kwame Sefa Kaye are not on Facebook at all.

 

Business influencers were routed. Not a single business leader in Ghana, who is not also a motivational speaker, has a significant following in Ghanaian cyberspace. Same for public intellectuals, scientists, technologists (Apostle Safo has a grand number of 2 fans), social activists (Kwesi Pratt would not have made it into the top 100) and artists besides film actors and musicians, even though the bottom of the abyss was still reserved for business magnates, security chiefs, and literary giants.

 

Does all this tell us something about the deep structures of our society?

 

In a private conversation with the CEO of the Global Media Alliance, which has undertaken a similar study in Ghana, albeit using a different methodology, he affirmed the patterns obvious in the above list.

 

When it emerged that neither the Asantehene, Otumfou Osei Tutu II, nor the Nayiri, Naa Bohagu Mahami Aboulai Sheriga, would have featured in the “top 5000” based on this “mono-facebook” criterion, it became obvious that the “social media creds” of the relevant public figure’s PR team have, perhaps, more than a small role to play in shaping their influence in the digital age.

 

We are proposing this to the IMANI crew as an interesting subject worthy of further review, subject of course to time constraints.

(Alternative views and rankings are welcome.)

 

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