Politics moved by tweets

The democratic potential of social media has been talked about quite a lot, maybe even too much. But today the maturity of the phenomenon requires new thinking and new reflections. We are starting our reasoning with some indisputable data and the keyword that shuffles the cards on the table: hybridization

26 million members were registered on Facebook in Italy in early 2014, and as it was noticed during the last Social Media Week, in which Pomilio Blumm participated in the panel on "social politics", if a referendum will be organized today on this platform, the quorum problem would probably be solved, once and for all.

This is a paradox, no doubt, and even a provocation. But only to a certain point. Not only the quantity of contacts and conversations that pass through social media has increased tremendously and exceeded the critical mass necessary to create intrinsically political movements of opinion. At the same time the nature and quality of this communication has changed, the umpteenth time.

It is in fact the language that has changed, but above all the logic by which ideas and shared values are formed, spread, and become stronger. After the initial phase, in which the themes were born online could use the web as a simple, yet powerful, tool of amplification, we have practically arrived to exhaust the next phase, in which the virtual world acted as humus making grow any opinion, leaving to the real world the task to confirm or sanction the digital dynamics.

Today the separation between the two spheres has become even more tenuous: everything is created in this terrain, shared between real and virtual worlds, and from this ambiguity the projects draw their true strength. So the crowdsourcing becomes an essential means of financing very real and concrete work, such as the Domus Aurea restauration in Rome. Now it’s even the decision-makers of the government that use the online consultations to test not only the sentiment, but also the expert judgment of the citizens concerning the validity of the projects and development strategies underway.

These are great possibilities, where communication plays a more crucial role than ever, especially at transnational level. The 26 million Italians registered on Facebook sound less impressive if compared to the 250 million Facebook users in India: a real "parallel country," which, according to Vikas Bagri, social media consultant of the Indian government, can stimulate citizens’ participation. For the countries of new democracy this is, of course, very true, but perhaps even more so for those countries that have an ancient republican and democratic vocation, that may need to be revitalized or at least to restrict its wear limit.



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