Roberta Carlini

Giornalista, si occupa (quasi) di tutto a partire dall'economia

The social media populist

Mercoledì, 23 Maggio 2018

How Salvini and Di Maio Leveraged the Internet

Contribute to the Italian Chapter of "Disrupting Democracy", a project by Bertelsmann Foundation Us

"We thank God for the net. We thank God for social networks. We thank God for Facebook.” - Matteo Salvini, Leader, Lega Thank you, Mark On the morning of March 5, 2018, the day after the elections, Matteo Salvini was the first politician to give a press conference. Dressed in a blue suit without a tie, his thumbs up, and showing a radiant smile, the 45-year-old leader of the League (Lega) solemnly thanked the Internet, social networks and Facebook. He spoke to journalists, who reported his speech to press agencies, on websites, to TV and radio broadcasting stations, and in dailies the day after, as well as – in real time – to viewers connected to the Facebook live stream. The video of the press conference garnered 4.1 million views. Salvini’s final campaign rally, which took place in Piazza Duomo in Milan, was followed by 1.7 million people through the Facebook live stream. These figures can be compared only with the other major social media event of the election campaign, whose protagonist was Luigi Di Maio, the prime ministerial candidate of the Five Star Movement (Movimento Cinque Stelle, M5S). Three days before the elections, in an unconventional move with no basis in the Italian constitutional order, Di Maio posted a list of ministers he would appoint if M5S were to win; the live stream of that announcement was followed by 1.5 million people. What happened? Was the 2018 Italian election campaign the first to be won on the web and social media, by the party that was best at using these tools, Lega, and by the one that was created by them, M5S? Is it possible that, in the country where TV became part of government – with the birth and rise of Berlusconi’s political party as a business enterprise model – the scepter of political communication and election campaign spin has been passed to a new king? Or is it that social media prowess is a sign (rather than a cause) of electoral success? These are questions we can try to answer by focusing on facts and figures of the election campaign, both in virtual and real environments.

Full text here, from pag. 25

Italian translation attached reportcarlini.pdf

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