Gibraltarian politicians embrace social media
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Leader of the Opposition Daniel Feetham have defended the manner in which they put their arguments to one another over social media, insisting platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become a key part of their political toolkit.
Both men have at times taken to social media to put across their views on specific issues and in-turn drawn a response from the other.
At one level the exchanges provide an immediate and direct means for voters to analyse contrasting messages. Politicians lay out their ideas and reactions in a format that is immediately accessible, even if not necessarily to everyone’s taste.
But while some people might recoil at politicians’ growing use of social media, Mr Picardo and Mr Feetham agree that it provides an effective communications tool that is here to stay.
“The GSLP/Liberals in my view won the 2011 general election by such a small margin that our nascent use of social media must have been one of the things that propelled us over the line,” Mr Picardo told the Chronicle.
“People expect the issues that matter to them to be presented to them on their tablets, which is the way that many of us now consume media.”
He added: “Your newspaper and other media, our parliamentary debates, all these are read and watched now more because they are more accessible on tablets.”
“I think that if the Leader of the Opposition and I are able to put contrary arguments to each other on that platform in a way that is easier for [voters] to consume, then I’m not going to get ‘hoity-toity’ and say that I shouldn’t be doing so. I think that’s the future and I think we have to accept it.”
“I think we have to accept that, whether we like it or not, social media is here. Social media is about communication.”
Similar sentiments were expressed by Mr Feetham, who said he found social media an effective tool through which to get across the Opposition’s message.
Asked if social media is an appropriate platform by which he and Mr Picardo should put arguments to one another, Mr Feetham said: “First of all I have only done it on one occasion and secondly, why not?”
“If ordinary people engage in that way on social media and it’s the way that people chose to put their point of view across on Twitter or alternatively on Facebook, why should politicians be any different?” Mr Feetham told the Chronicle.
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