Dimitri C. Tsitos
(Author – Negotiations Consultant)
Following the recent events and activities, and the highly significant outcomes, in the Arab –for the most part- world a very interesting question arises in reference with “what is happening in Greek politics and what is going to happen, and how can be the situation by the social media”.
Firstly we will try to give a very concise idea of what social media is:"Social media essentially is a category of online media where people are talking, participating, sharing, networking, and bookmarking online."
There is a wide variety of social media, ranging from social sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr through social networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook.
In other words by effectively using social media one can form, schedule, cultivate, transform, twist, -or whatever else- attitudes, dispositions and behaviors -being them individual, group, professional, etc.
And it is very important not to forget that social media work and operate upon the basic platform of the communication procedure and process: sender/ originator – message – medium – recipient/ addressee – feedback. What must be added here with more emphasis is the lightning speed in which communication with the social media is carried out.
In my opinion, social media has shot to the forefront of people's attention because –primarily and firstly- it’s fun. Thanks to social media, it's easy to share your ideas, photos, videos, likes and dislikes, with the world at large - and find out what they think of them. You can find friends, business contacts and become part of a community or a bunch of different communities. Social media gives you what TV never could - a chance to be engaged and engage others.
Because of this, social media is of particular interest to politics. Currently, political parties, movements, politicians, and many others entangled in the “political powers to be entities” of all sizes are experimenting with social media implementation grappling with the question of how to get in on what appears to be an especially viral way to get their message (and their “products”) out there.
Considering all those above as givens I will try to offer to you some of my ideas for further examination and appraisal.
I start with a plain question: Will ever the social media will be in position to influence and have a significant effect on Greek politics?
My answer to this is: Maybe in the long distanced future.
The reason is –always in my opinion- that the movement with the social media has to do with individuals who have the proper education in communicating (especially to express and present their ideas), know how to use contemporary technology, have the time and will to invest in such an endeavor and have sound knowledge about strategy and tactics.
Additionally they must have a pressing need –being emotionally propelled or oblige by circumstances- to manifest in a global manner their needs and wishes.
In the Greek reality nowadays those who could exploit the social media might be all the people who suffer from the –traditional and for long years- mismanagement of the politicians who drove the country to dire straights –I hope that they do not believe in the dictum “you cannot rule a country where the people are happy”- and this means that everybody has reasons to manifest their notions through the social media!
The answer is a flat no.
The pensioners are not familiar with the technology – they belong in another era, they foster ideas fixed years ago and they just curse the situation. They also cannot access information which is offered by social media remaining transfixed at the TV screens.
The employees in the public sector mainly belong to the old systems –the notorious public bureaucracy- and they try by using their unions to maintain exorbitant privileges granted in the past for many strange reasons.
The employees in the private sector –who are the most eligible to deal with contemporary technology- are under siege and threats of dismissal for economic –real or not reasons- and try to entertain their fears by working harder, longer and trying to please the boss without asking more than their job.
Other people who are not productive but they are offering “supporting services” (e.g. housewives, very old persons, par timers, legal and illegal foreign immigrants, etc) cannot participate in the social media movement for many reasons – even if they know that there is something like that.
The only part of the Greek society which can deal with the social media movement is the younger generation with extremely eligible and well furnished youngsters and those who are still in the universities or have conclude their studies –professional and other- and are seeking employment!
These persons can deal effectively with the social media movement. But they are rather well off –due to their parents’ contributions and family shelter- so that their needs and wishes are not very pressing (still). Anyway they think that they have the right and the duty –observing and conforming to the main stream- to advertise their views either for reasons created by an inflated ego, let the steam off or not to be left apart, or just playing the game everybody plays these days. I am not sure that they will continue to use the social media for a long time and they will adopt some new games when they will be fed up because they will notice that results are not to be expected by such endeavors.
Of course the party – apparatchiks (I mean in all parties, even those who do not officially exist,) will continue to use the social media –in no avail of course and only for those who already belong, and they will be happy with what they transmit and not being interested in what feedback they receive –if they receive anything!
In conclusion, the Greek society is not going to use extensively the social media. The Greeks are not pressed by the situation to find other means and mediums for pressing the politicians to adopt and implement the right measures for the well being of the country. Still there is enough “fat” to those who cry out that they suffer. The country is not, yet, at the threshold of a social upheaval –it will come later maybe.
Nowadays the Greeks prefer to demonstrate, cultivate strikes, bulling the politicians, throwing the tourists out of the country by mean behavior and use their unions –e.g. taxi drivers- to inflict harm to the governments by harassing the common folks and creating temporary problems and abominable annoyances.
This is Greece today and the social media can do absolutely nothing to better or worsen the situation.
And of course the politicians know it and I suspect that they laugh in private when they hear about the social media and act accordingly orchestrating accordingly at the same time the whole governing system.