Wesley Diphoko.

CAPE TOWN - Recent revelations that Twitter is deleting millions of fake accounts are a clear indication that social media in its current form is a major challenge online.

Currently, social media is the channel through which fake news is distributed; it is the main contributor to distraction.

Lastly, social media has fuelled click-baitism (a practice of creating content primarily to fool people into visiting web pages).

As matters stand, social media is leading society towards a race to the bottom unless a model similar to Global Citizen is adopted.

South African businessperson Patrice Motsepe announced this week that the Global Citizen Festival will be hosted in South Africa as part of celebrations for the Nelson Mandela Centenary.

Global Citizen is a community of passionate and engaged people taking actions to help achieve the vision of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

At the centre of the success of the Global Citizen movement is the use of social media platforms with a difference.

The organisation partners with various international organisations to elicit small actions that contribute to shaping the world by leading to “specific and tangible outcomes that generate real impact.

The organisation follows a process that requires a sufficient number of people to tweet at and e-mail a leader or someone of influence asking them for commitment to eradicate a major societal challenge (such as rape or serious disease).

The strategy becomes a pressure that moves the leader to action.

The secret sauce for the success of Global Citizen seems to be incentivised online campaigns.

To attend an event by the Global Citizen Festival (such as the upcoming one where Beyoncé will be performing), no one is required to pay.

Those interested to attend must set up a profile on the Global Citizen website, take part in an Action Journey (an act of activism, as modest as tweeting for a cause or proactive as calling a government department of leader) and earn enough points to qualify for a raffle.

The Action Journeys are a series of a number of different actions, which give one a chance to win tickets.


The Global Citizen social platform is a great example of how to use social media effectively. In 2019 the Global Citizen Festival will not be around, at least in South Africa, to galvanise people towards doing great things.

The model that it has applied in getting people towards doing something via social media and rewarding them with something they are interested in can remain.

This model should be adopted by social media practitioners, creators and users.

Click-baitism must come to an end. It should be replaced by meaningful ways that encourage people to focus on matters that make a difference.

Current social media platforms are under siege due to vanity that is built into these platforms.

This leaves a gap for African developers to create a social media platform with a difference that can truly make an impact in society.

In South Africa, there's an opportunity to tackle the National Development Plan (NDP) through creative ways.

The NDP offers a long-term perspective. It aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.

According to the plan, South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.

One way of achieving the NDP goals may be through the use of social media in a similar manner as the Global Citizen organisation.

An event of interest to most people can be used to drive people to contribute towards a change by using social media.

Currently there's no social media platform in Africa that encourages people to make a difference by using social and matching their good interests.

The Motsepe Foundation should be commended for this innovative initiative.

By investing in this event it may help to unleash a process of developing solutions through the use of technology platforms creatively.

Beyond the Global Citizen Festival event, the Motsepe Foundation should consider investing in an African social media platform that can contribute towards solving some of the challenges that will remain beyond the festival.

It's time that African business leaders invest in technologies that solve real challenges in society.

This approach may show Silicon Valley how to invest in what really matters.

Wesley Diphoko is the founder of Kaya Labs. He is also the chief executive and editor-in-chief of The Infonomist. You can get more of his insights about the information economy via: www.theinfonomist.com

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.