Shawn Nicholas: Use social media wisely

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A political candidate for the country’s main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) is highlighting the significant role the use of social media is playing in the run-up to the March 21 general election.
However, she said that political hopefuls have to be mindful of the language they use to promote the ideals of their respective parties.
Political parties on the island are gravitating to social media to get their messages across to the electorate.
Shawn Nicholas, the UPP candidate for the St. Phillip North Constituency, said that unlike mainstream media, which provides controlled content, social media has no regulator, and users have to be conscious of the messages they are sharing.
“We say as we please, and we do as we please, and everyone is a contributor. What that means is that we don’t think about what we are going to say. We say it, and there is the repercussion that comes after,” Nicholas asserted during an interview on the Voice of the People programme.
Nicholas said it is important for candidates to be aware that the information they distribute is shared, not only with the electorate but also with young people.
“I take myself for example. I have a personal Facebook page, and there are certain things I choose not to share on my page because there are a lot of people who would be reading my page and would want to think I am associated with certain things,” Nicholas said.
Both the UPP and the governing Antigua Barbuda Labour Party use social media to promote political meetings, messages, and other forms of advertisements to circulate their ideas.
The Democratic National Alliance or DNA, a third party that was launched a year ago, has also taken full advantage of Facebook, WhatsApp and other platforms to garner support for its candidates.
Nicholas said that until recently, the UPP was “blocked from using state-owned media.” Social media and opposition-aligned Crusader Radio were the only tools available.

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