At a time of scandals and uncertainty, citizens become engaged in active debates. So it is that live-blogging about politics and current affairs has become normal in Italy in these turbulent times.
While it’s difficult to find space on TV for ordinary people and even for journalists – social platforms allow a free exchange of opinions and allow communities to share perspectives and angles.
Surfing social network to get a grasp of what people think and their feelings around a topic is also a good exercise to discover the potential of those social platforms. The citizens’ indignation is growing online: it’s a mixture of anger, sarcasm and hope.
Real plazas and virtual plazas both have an impact. Right now, virtual plazas are becoming even more important. There is a social value on social platforms, and perhaps there are some good points in being there and using them, expecially for analysts.
Let’s take these convulsive days in Italy – a time of crisis with the long-awaited resignation of the premier – and let’s analyse the use of social networks.
On the question of press freedom in Italy, lively discussions can be found on social media networks such as Facebook. Twitter hash-tags identify key themes:
#aeyou – quickly became the viral trending topic. It echoes the popular Brazilian song used for parties, a sign that people are waiting for the tipping point of the Italian government.
#moka – Michele Serra’s article in La Repubblica on Thursday 3rd November advises Italians to get distracted by Berlusconi by using the moka (coffee maker) law as a metaphor: if you stare at the machine waiting for the coffee, it won’t come out. While if you get distracted and think to something else, so the coffee comes out. That’s a clear similarity with Italians and their current premier, as La Repubblica explains.
#acasa – this means ‘at home’, and that’s clearly a sign of what most Italians want.
#laresadeiconti – the hashtag after the vote.
#opencamera – the hidden cost of politics revealed.
#dimissioni – resignation is a key theme on Twitter comments.
#dopolaleggedistabilità – Berlusconi said he will step down as soon as the budget law passes. That’s the next awaited step.
#elezioni – an urgent call for elections runs on Twitter, tweet by tweet.
The bunga-bunga scandal has damaged the image of Italy, and companies like Ryanair are now using this to gain cheap publicity. Another company Intimissimi used the bunga-bunga scandal as a selling point for one of its products. Certainly it’s all about marketing, but the ethics should be taken into account.
While the foreign press urges his resignation, the Financial Times published a story that stands out of the crowd, ‘In the name of God, please go!’. For once, the press and the public seem to be taking the same view.
The fictional reality represented by Mr Berlusconi and used for his political propaganda has been revealed as a sham. It’s a Photoshop society with bad story-telling. But he seems to be master of his destiny until the end.
Patience must be a virtue for Italian citizens, but it’s not everlasting. Meanwhile a financial crisis and youth people unemployment is just around the corner.
But hopefully, as Bill Emmott explained in Forza, Italia, “after Berlusconi the Good Italy can be released and make the country a lot better for its 150th anniversary”. The advice for Italians is to change Italy by themselves – working collectively but also in their communities.