KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – While social media — such as Facebook and Twitter — is being used to topple governments around the world, some Vincentians use them “to amplify commess (gossip)”, according to this country’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Camillo Gonsalves.
“The social media point is an important point and those who have heard me speaking at other diaspora functions, I feel very strongly about it,” said Gonsalves at a town hall meeting in New York last week.
He was responding to a question about what citizens can do about his March 28 arrest in the lobby of his office building by a New York cop.
The audience member said social networking website Facebook “could be a weapon” and mentioned emails, as well as Twitter, which was instrumental in the unrest that brought down several Arab governments last year.
“I mean, if you look at the news, you will see that social media is toppling governments in some parts of the world but, unfortunately, we are just using it to amplify commess,” Gonsalves said.
“It’s like a megaphone through which we engage in all sorts of things that are not productive and they are not progressive. And I think we are not utilising — separate and apart from this issues — the full potential of social media.”
He noted that many Vincentians have Facebook accounts.
“But what do they use it for? So, hopefully, we can better understand the power of the tools that we have at our disposal now and the ways in which we can use them,” he further stated.
According to socialbakers, which published statistics on Facebook penetration by country, there are 40,280 Facebook users in the St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
This represents a penetration rate of about 39 per cent compared to the country’s population and 53 per cent in relation to number of Internet users.
The largest age group is currently 18– to 24-year-olds with 11,681 users, followed by the users aged 25–34.
There are 47 per cent male users and 53 per cent female users.
Some 1,400 new Facebook accounts were opened in SVG in the last six months with the biggest gain in the last 3 months recorded by 18–24 year olds, according to the website.