Archive for March 22nd, 2013


e-Diplomacy, Facebook Twitterati et al – Yanukovych to go on-line

March 22, 2013

There is a lot said about e-diplomacy these days.

It is a constant theme emanating from William Hague, Carl Bildt, Stefan Fule, Sergey Lazarov, Ann-Marie Slaughter and numerous other high-flying politicians and diplomats who follow me on twitter and vice versa.

The same can be said for Facebook and in the case of Russia and Ukraine, VK also. – To some lesser extent,  LinkedIn.

Quite right – why wait for the media to misquote you when you can write yourself in real time and reach your dedicated audience.

However, it is not my intention to discuss e-diplomacy or e-politics per se – at least not on an international scale.

With respect to Ukraine, the e-political and e-diplomacy world is dominated by the opposition.  My twitter is followed by Oleh Tyahnybok, Anatoli Grytsenko amongst numerous other opposition members and my Facebook is followed by close to 100 MPs – mostly opposition.

That said, there are also Party Regions MPs who follow me on twitter and Facebook – some of which are very active in the social media realm – like Sergey Tigipko and Yuri Miroshnychenko.

What is noticeable about them all – including the international personalities I mentioned at the start – is that they all write their own tweets, entries and comments on other peoples pages.


Well it seems that President Yanukovych is going to enter twitter and Facebook according to his press people.  Jolly good!  It doesn’t take long to write a 140 character message on twitter – in fact it takes some thought to keep within the character limit.

The question is, will President Yanukovych write his own Facebook entries and tweets?  If not there really is little point.

When I tweet Carl Bildt and @carlbildt replies – I know it is Carl Bildt who did reply.  When I tweet Sergey Tigipko or Ann-Marie Slaughter, I know it is they who reply.

Likewise, given some of the banal and inane (but obviously insider) exchanges on Facebook between Ukrainian politicians, it is quite clear that the RADA people write their own entries there too.

The point is on these media sites, you expect to talk to those named as holding the accounts – not a hireling who will keep comments, statements and replies politically correct and squeaky clean.  Errors, misspellings and the occasional gaff/faux pas are not the exclusive domain of the hoy polloy.  Everybody makes them.

Public media “gaffs” are not restricted to President Yanukovych in the public realm – as many Ukrainian politicians Facebook time lines and twitter histories will display.  But that to me is OK.  It is in fact human, and not something resembling a “ministry approved” generic statement.

So, when it comes to public speaking, a gaff-prone President is likely to write at the very least, misspelled and occasionally erroneous things – if his accounts are to be written by him.  If they are perfect in content and grammar each and every time, it is highly unlikely that they are being written personally – and therefore what is the point?  It would be just as easy to continue to read the carefully written, edited and politically correct official website entries.

Thus I am actually hoping to see a few spelling errors and the occasional factual mishap – not so I can deride him for being uneducated, or a lair or generally intellectually retarded (he doesn’t need to be on Facebook or twitter for that to happen) – but because given his history of gaffs, the occasional err on twitter and Facebook would provide far more faith it is indeed him, personally, writing the words I read – and that is the entire point of me following anyone.

As the President is not somebody I necessarily associate with cognitive speed or incisiveness (though I don’t think him stupid either) – it will be the substance and not the form or grammar that will be of interest in any move into a fast moving e-diplomacy/e-political world – though I suspect many will castrate the form and ignore the substance – given form over substance is not only a philosophy, but a way of life for many in Ukraine.

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