Willans: Grassroots talk back on social media

Fiona Willans, a Language/Linguistics lecturer at the University of the South Pacific, says the debates on Yumi Toktok Stret do provide evidence that social media is a new mediated ‘think tank’ through which new policies can be democratically debated.

The Lecturer at the University of the South Pacific has analyzed the discussions on YTS and say’s ‘the Facebook group Yumi Toktok Stret (YTS) shows that the Government, its international development partners and technical advisors would be well advised to pay attention to such debates, and engage with social media as a new mediated ‘think tank’ through which new policies can be democratically debated.

We can consider YTS as a new mediated and inclusive think tank that more accurately represents the people that the Vanuatu government aims to serve.

The analysis is based on language, however the reports also provides a lot of insights to how Vanuatu is adapting to social media and how it be beneficial.

Willans wrote, “comments made on Facebook may not seem worthy of the attention of policy-makers. Social media tends to be dismissed as an informal domain that provides light entertainment and a distraction from serious work.”

“We can consider YTS as a new mediated and inclusive think tank that more accurately represents the people that the Vanuatu government aims to serve.”

One important aspect of social media recognized by Willans is the critical engagement of a public who want to understand the policies that affect them and their children, and a genuine desire to participate as active citizens in national affairs.

You can read the full analysis here: www.tandfonline.com


Fiona Willans is a PhD Educational Linguistics, MA Applied Linguistics (King’s College London, UK), Diploma Pacific Language Studies (USP), BA Linguistics (University of Durham, UK), Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (King’s College London, UK), CELTA (University of Durham, UK)

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Yumi Toktok Stret

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