Malaysiakini Letter

Leaders must be wary when using social media

JD Lovrenciear
Published:

LETTER | Social media has made everyone reporters. Fortunate or unfortunate, leaders need to be wary about the dangers of communicating on social media, particularly on matters of social, political and national significance.

We had the case of a top cop who would use Twiter to call the shots on various matters of significance in the course of executing his official role.

Lately, we are seeing a member of the royal household also making statements that could be deemed as significant to governing a nation, on his social media platform.

Leaders need to be cautioned that social media, in view of its extensive reach cutting across all segments of society, may end up having its Facebook, Twitter or Instagram messaging grossly misinterpreted.

As we know today, in good times and in crisis, social media has been the route to mayhem.

This is the downside of the new media in an increasingly 'networked society' where the 'flow of space and time flows' are changing dramatically.

As such, there must be discernment and restraint in using social media, especially if you have an exemplary and leadership role to play in nation-building by way of your political appointment or royal heritage.

When critical matters of policy, administration of state or national concerns are conveyed via social media platforms, the risk is magnified as the public viralise emotions while trading reactions.

There needs to be prudent restraint in the use of social media by leaders, politicians and royal households.

Reluctance to recognise the innate traps in social media will make the communicator vulnerable to public rebuttals that may even be inflammatory or disrespectful, let alone causing unnecessary speculation and fear in the public domain.

And we cannot blame the public for that.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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