By Sylvester Addo

Today, we live in a world where everything is moving online and becoming digital because of the fourth industrial revolution. We shop and sell online, chat and meet with family and friends on social media platforms, have business meetings and attend events virtually. 

The digital landscape has become a necessary component of our lives. This is telling on our reliance on it during the current Covid-19 pandemic, where social distancing, lockdowns and curfews changed the norm. It was also spurred on by the governments laid out Covid-19 protocols. Where sellers prefer mobile money and card payments to cash, most meetings are virtual, and students are having classes online. 

Citizens through the digital landscape can promote oversight of government and advocate for good local governance in their communities. By contributing to conversations on anti-corruption, fairness, transparency, and accountability. Leaders on the other hand can also easily hear the views of the people they represent and serve. 

Let’s look at how we can achieve this and some of the tools to use. 

Digital communication tools such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp can act as collaboration channels where citizens discuss issues affecting them. Being able to freely express their views and opinions on policies introduced by governing authorities. On social media platforms, people can rally around subjects of interest using hashtags. Authorities on the other hand can use these same channels to communicate directly to their citizens. 

At a time where misinformation, disinformation and mal information exist, citizens can be each other’s keeper, fact-checking and sharing right and accurate information. We can flag out the information we identify as fake news and report them so such details can be removed. People can share weblinks to the correct data and story to encourage the spread of the right information. Hootsuite, Buffer and Sprout Social are some of the listening tools that can be used to discover what others are saying on social media platforms. 

Through the digital landscape, leaders can show transparency by creating websites and social channels to inform and receive feedback. With shared details on projects and services, citizens can also hold them accountable.