After 35 years of Independence the people of Vanuatu have united to celebrate. Well they united through social media to celebrate the 35th Independence anniversary. It became a historic day for Vanuatu when all activities inside the three Municipalities were uploaded as they happened and at that moment Vanuatu was seen celebrating united around the world through social media.
About three weeks ago the Prime Minister’s Office made a statement against Social Media group Yumi Toktok Stret. Whilst the PM’s Office made very strong statements against YTS, the Independent celebrations were seen around the world through the biggest social media group in Vanuatu and YTS has provided better coverage for the Independence celebrations than VBTC, the Government owned broadcaster.
Whilst some political aides inside the PMs Office have created separate groups because they were kicked out of Vanuatu’s biggest forum notably saying “it is time for YTS to appreciate that they are not the only kids on the block regardless of their 18,000 members. There are a lot of clever people out there with a lot of good things to say who should be given the chance to share for the potential benefit of others without fear of being digitally abused and ridiculed” YTS admins have congratulated them as they have taken part in building social media in Vanuatu.
It took commitment and a time span of over 10 years to build YTS so we do not think we are clever but we know we are committed and we do know where we are going. Social Media is not about competition to see who does this the best and who loses. Social media is about interaction and connection. Social Media is about sharing. Youths in Vanuatu know what sharing is like and that is why they relate a lot better to social media than the old politicians.
The interesting thing about YTS is it was built by self taught youths who use the internet in an unconventional way. The internet has become their playground and they do know how to find and how to hide in the internet. A lot of IT’s and media people go to University’s. For YTS the University they attend is the internet. It is a big classroom.
Daily Post blames all the issues on media regulation on YTS, as they say the administrators have not done a good job to moderate the forum and have allowed too many fakes freedoms to say what they want. Despite the sentiments from DP they now share links to YTS a lot. So it has come to their attention that they do need YTS as it is where everyone is.
YTS have created about 60% of content for Social Media in Vanuatu which basically means YTS do have a strong hold on social media. TVL has attached itself to YTS and so did Wantok. YTS is going into provinces to help province set up their pages and train Provincial Media Officers how to use the internet and provide information to people around Vanuatu and the world on what is happening around their province.
Social Media has become the biggest marketing tool for tourism in Vanuatu. And the biggest users are members of Yumi Toktok Stret. We let other people carry the titles of being the first in news and being indigenous as we do not think along that line as social media is first in everything around the world.
In YTS you have freedom of expression, though a lot of people say expression has a limit, there is no Internet law in Vanuatu. The principles of Jurisdiction apply to our laws so we need to ensure there is an Internet Law as we are now 35 years old and the internet has reached our shores about 20 years ago. Yes it reached Vanuatu before the current PM became an MP.
The biggest question though is what will we do to the internet? It is our duty to support our Government to find ways to resolve our issues but at times the Government acts as if they know everything so we rest our case. A bit ironic.
In YTS everyone will have a say, share your views, and say an opinion.