(#ENDSARS) Role of twitter as a tool for political education a study of the endSars protest
The microblogging site Twitter lets people post quick 140-character updates, or ‘tweets’, to a network of followers. Twitter asks participants ‘What’s happening?’ resulting in a constantly-updated stream of short messages ranging from the mundane to breaking news, shared links, and thoughts on life. In Twitter’s directed model of friendship, users choose others to ‘follow’ in their stream, and each user has his or her own group of ‘followers’. There is neither a technical requirement nor social expectation of reciprocity (particularly with famous people, although this differs by user group). Tweets can be posted and read from the web, SMS, or third-party clients for desktop computers, smartphones, and other devices. This integration allows for instant postings of photos, on-the-ground reports, and quick replies to other users. The site launched in 2006 and broke into the mainstream in 2008–2009, when user accounts and media attention exponentially increased. Twitter had approximately 18.2 million users in May 2009 (Nielsen Company, 2009), increasing to 27.2 million by January 2010 (Quantcast Corporation, 2010). As of 2010, the most-followed Twitter users are well-known organizations like CNN and Whole Foods, very famous people and public figures, from President Barack Obama to actor Ashton Kutcher and pop star Britney Spears. While Twitter can be used as a broadcast medium, the dialogic nature of Twitter and its ability to facilitate conversation has contributed substantially to its popularity.
This popularity has contributed to media fascination with the site. Unlike individuals famous primarily for their affiliation with social media properties, such as Tila Tequila on MySpace or Tay Zonday on YouTube, Twitter attracts actors, pop stars, authors, politicians, and others with established fame, such as Oprah Winfrey, Senator John McCain, Shaquille O’Neal and Weird Al. Although people known primarily for their online presence, like marketer Pistachio and video blogger iJustine, are well-represented on Twitter, the most-followed Twitter users are, for the most part, the conventionally famous.
Given this, we used Twitter to understand how celebrity is practiced through interactions between famous people and fans, friends, and other practitioners on Twitter. Part of the appeal of Twitter, as we will discuss, is the perception of direct access to a famous person, particularly ‘insider’ information, first-person pictures, and opinionated statements. Those celebrities who use Twitter primarily to ‘broadcast’ publicity information are seen as less authentic than those using the tool for dialogue and engagement with fans. One of our first methodological tasks was to work out who authored accounts of famous people.
Background of the Study
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created in Lagos State in 1992, a time when Notorious armed robbers such as Shina Rambo6 were in control of the state (Midenda, 2017).
It was created as a faceless police unit that performs undercover operations against armed robbers. Within almost two decades of its creation, the unit has spread across the various states of the country. The spread of the unit across the nation without a proper structure, accounts for some of it lawless charcteristics.
The current report of police brutality using the #Endsars on Twitter has brought public attention to it. The online campaign about the police brutality is new, however, Nigerian pop stars has over the years expressed their worries, fears and incidents of police brutality.
The Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood has also portrayed cases of brutality and corruption within the Nigeran police force in their productions.Nigerians having been subjected to wanton arrests, extortion and extra judiciary killings, lunched a social media campaign using the hastag #Endsars on Twitter to put an end to police brutality.
The #Endsars campaign started with the publication of a petition by convener Segun Awosanya. It was signed by 10,195 Nigerians and submitted to the Nigerian National Assembly to scrap the police unit. The Twitter campaign started on the 2nd of December 2017, when a footage of police officers attached to the unit shot and killed a man surfaced online. The campaign became a trending topic on Twitter with over 400,000 Tweets8 within twelve hours.
In October 2020, Nigerians turned the online campaign to protest. Nigerians using 280 characters detailing their horrible and harrowing experiences with SARS, the dreaded unit of the police created to fight banditry. Before the campaign, there have been isolated cases of police brutality all over the country. However, it was during the campaign that the damage caused by such brutality was discovered.
The campaign also exposed the level of rot within the police unit according to the convener of the campaign. The campaign further revealed that the police has no recognizable structure with no organized system of operation, officers of the unit act based on self-will with little or no regards for fundamental human right for citizens especially vulnerable youth. This study therefore seek to investigate The role of twitter as a tool for political education a study of the Endsars protest