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Politicians (on Facebook) do not communicate with the citizens

The other day I spoke to Marija Dragić, a reporter from Tanjug, on the topic of on-line activities of domestic political parties.

I would have a couple of remarks in the part of interpretation, but given that I was talking too fast, being focused on some other topics as well, I do consider the interview below authentic enough. As far as I heard, this interview was also published in the daily newspapers Večernje novosti and Blic.


‘The parties in Serbia use the new media in the old-fashioned way and are not ready to use all the potentials the Internet carries, since almost 80% of them use Facebook the wrong way. This is not good for the on-line community who got speakers from the politics, but not the way they wanted’, says Mrs Đermanović, the author of ‘Strategy for the use of the social media’.

‘Political parties should, with the help of the Internet and Facebook, enter an open dialogue with the interested citizens and show their readiness to hear what people have to say about their work’, she suggested. ‘This possibility of interaction’, Đermanović added, ‘is what makes the new media different from the classic ones since it gives the opportunity of more diverse and modern forms of communication.’

Although most of the pages are being regularly updated, they all look alike and contain mainly the same information about the parties and their leaders, showing them in the media, on photos from the partys’ events, actions they take… However, the sole existence of profiles and pages on Facebook is not enough for citizens who want to communicate with their representatives.

‘The new media, which implies the interaction and dynamics and quite transparent relationship with the user, is being used in a traditional, old-fashioned way by the parties. They simply ‘throw’ in the information refusing to involve themselves in the dialogue. What’s more, they do not want to hear what the users have to say to them.’, says Đermanović.

Nevertheless, she did point out that it is a good thing that politicians realized just how great a number of 2.200.000 users of Facebook in Serbia is, which was confirmed to Tanjug by the vice-president of Nova Srbija (the New Serbia), Dubravka Filipovski and the spokesman of Demokratska stranka Srbije (The Democratic Party of Serbia), Petar Petković.

‘It is normal for the politics to be represented through Facebook as the most numerous and widest social network on-line’, Petković said and added that the youth of DSS (Demokratska stranka Srbije) maintains the party‘s pages and that he himself at times uses his personal profile to show significant party activities.

Filipovski too uses her personal profile for the promotion of party’s activities and her profile is being updated by the people from the party. “I hold nothing against the use of Facebook as a contemporary means of communication with our electors and interested citizens. Let me remind you that Obama won the elections thanks to this social network and good organization.”, she concluded.

However, it is hard to determine just how much the politicians are actually present in this social community, since some of them have more than one profile, most of them, as they say, being fake. In that manner, you can find the President of Serbia, Boris Tadić, on Facebook, the leader of the Party of the United Pensioners of Serbia (PUPS), Milan Krkobabić, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader, Čedomir Jovanović, Tomislav Nikolić from SNS (Srpska napredna stranka- Serbian Advancement Party), Vojislav Koštunica from DSS, Velimir Ilić from NS, etc.

There are also some of the ministers, like Ivica Dačić, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Dragan Šutanovac, the Minister of Defense, Žarko Obradović- Education, Rasim Ljajić- Work and Social Politics, Jasna Matić- Telecommunications, and so on.

As you can see, the situation is still ‘confusing’ since the pages and groups are being formed by the party members, fans, sometimes even opponents. Besides the official ones, all parties on the most visited social network have also the pages of their civil and municipal boards and their number is increasing with each day.

Our president has most ‘fans’ on Facebook- 43.775 and it is interesting to note that more likes than the president goes to the former, at his time life-long, president off the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito- 47.066.

The speakers from Tanjug believe that during the information era, the Internet represents a welcome and legitimate means in the promotion of political parties, their beliefs and actions, and that in the future parties will turn to Facebook and its potentials even more, especially when taking into account the current political situation.

‘Since we are in the year of pre-elections, it is expected that all political parties will dynamically use the Internet for communication, and this is something that the internet community in Serbia, now counting almost half of the total number of inhabitants, expects from them.’, Đermanović concluded.

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A century for the good things – the future of business

A very important thing is being neglected by more and more experts from various communication and management areas . You can’t see it, perhaps.

Nevertheless, the entire story about the Internet revolution does not stop to surprise us (pleasantly- unpleasantly, depending on which side of the ring we are standing). Each day there is something new… In December 2009, Facebook overcame Yahoo by a number of individual visits, and is coming close to Google as well. Google News had more individual posts than any on-line editions and variables of the New York Times… Then, there is the social gaming… games on social networks – 55% of the players are women and the average age of the gamers is 43 years. The baby boomers (those born between the years 1943 and 1960) as a demographical group marked the biggest growth in profile management and maintenance on the social networks years back.

The conversational trends manifesting in a more frequent on-line connecting between people among the demographic categories are closely connected to the desire for people to create the long tail. More precisely, to make us all together, all 2 billion of us, influence small and big things…

When we act apart, our goals are different. When we act together- even for a day -> WE ARE MAKING THE (WHOLE) WORLD A BETTER PLACE!

For example, according to Edelman Trust Barometer for 2010, the most important thing to people when it comes to companies is NOT the financial power; what’s more, it is in the last place. People CARE THE MOST about the transparency and trust in the company and its well-being vision! Yup.

Individuals around the world have expressed their attitude in numerous studies -> that they are willing to change even the hardcore habits in the name of the companies (organizations) and their products (services) if those companies are willing to change the world for better!

Now… when companies start to do their business thinking BETTER is (as a consequence, sooner or later) MORE, and not MORE is BETTER (the XX century doctrine – short-term) they begin to make substantially better financial and overall business results. To be more precise, in the last 30 years, as many as 80 academic studies were made and even 53% of them noted a significant financial success of the companies who were truly socially responsible and changing the world with their strategic decisions.

We can now play ping-pong with this… say blah-blah… this and that… hen & egg and similar empty phrases, but one thing we cannot neglect:

  • the business models of the XX century-> meaningless in the XXI century!
  • the cultural models of the XX century-> meaningless in the XXI century!
  • the educational models of the XX century-> meaningless in the XXI century!- kids can no longer stand the passiveness and boredom in classes! A condition they have no control of and no active participation in…

and (ONLY) then can we come to the theory of the Internet, well-known (let’s say) to everyone:

  • COMMUNICATION models of the XX century -> meaningless in the XXI century! These changes in communication were a trigger… even if everybody accepts them and opens to the public via all-mighty channels -> nothing will be done on the middle or long-run! That was the first round! The first task! It has to be accompanied by a true wish of the companies to create products and services which are valuable and good; to make strategies which fit into the vision of well-being for everyone (not only for shareholders); that in the process of collaboration with us who make the added or any other value they clean after the shit they (by themselves) accumulated for centuries back. Or there will be no more of them… We’ll see and read about it in 10, 20 years from now… then discuss business models…

Clay Shirky said: When we change the way we communicate-> we change the society!

Who’s up for it? Who? Everybody but the companies!

The time of the people is coming… It has come.

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