Happy Friday, everybody! It has been a pretty busy week. And finally I am beginning to be convinced that summer is just around the corner. Time to put away those heavy sweaters…and start doing some exercise!
There is a great story over at Smudge.com about this old man who seems to do everything in excess, but has reached the ripe old age of 112 in one piece. Richard Overton also happens to be the oldest living WW2 veteran (!).
Anyway, at the age of 112 Richard smokes 12 cigars a day, drinks lots of rum and even more coffee! Not sure if there is a winning formula there for the rest of us, but atleast we now have a great story to counter with when ever someone tries to tell us that if we drink too much coffee we are likely to damage our health.
Makro joins twitter!
Some would say better late than never. Yesterday the 64 year old Makropoulos let the chess world know that he is now on twitter. As of this moment, the FIDE presidential candidate has 140 followers and 16 likes, not bad after less than 24 hours!
FIDE 2018 :The Social Media Election?
Can Twitter, email and FaceBook substitute the ‘normal’ tradition of hitting the campaign trail for weeks on end, meeting thousands of people and giving speeches? With less than 5 months to go before the October 3 vote, there might not be a practical alternative for Makro and Short.
People will recall that Kasparov started his campaign for the 2014 FIDE presidency almost a full year before the actual vote. It seemed that he was living in a suitcase for that entire period! He met tens of thousands of chess players, shaking as many hands and giving all manner of interviews. In person. On request. Such are the sacrifices that one must make…and Gary really wanted to win.
Almost immediately after Makropoulos announced his candidature for the FIDE presidency last month (April 11), ”an email was sent to all Federations requesting links to Facebook pages, twitter accounts and other social media addresses of the Federation, President and Delegate. It included the somewhat ominous line: ”We would like to share with you FIDE news and also check and promote chess related news which is published by your federation and officials.” (LINK)
I don’t think there is anything ‘ominous’ about it, or 1984-ish, and no doubt Makro & Co. probably just want to have some head’s up over ‘fake news’ that might possibly be argued to be able to potentially swing some votes. Hopefully, they will use good judgement, not fall into a self-constructed trap and then find that they are accused by their opponents of themselves spreading ‘fake news’ ! It can play both ways…and often does!
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov is the real champion of social media, as I have noted numerous times here on this blog. On April 2, 2017 I wrote:
One of the reasons for Kirsan’s incredible longevity as FIDE president has been his almost daily stream of social media content that he puts out via twitter, blogs and chess media outlets.
Since the coup, Kirsan has been very busy showing the rest of the chess community that he is alive and well. More than that: he is meeting with heads of state and visiting international tournaments. Kirsan is showing us that he is still FIDE’s president. FIDE’s legitimate president, regardless of what one might think of the man.
It is not evident to me that Makro will gain any kind of an advantage over Kirsan by using the social media. Certainly not with respect to spreading propaganda. Kirsan has used it primarily for establishing a daily presence. It was never intended as a substitute for hitting the campaign trail, which is something he actually likes to do, meeting people.
And it could very likely backfire and explode in their (Makro & Co.) own face if they are careless. Case in point is Donald Trump: even though his tweets are a big part of the political landscape in Washington, they have probably only succeeded in losing votes back in the US and infuriating everyone else, including his supporters!
All that being said, we will just have to wait and see how successful Makro & Co. are with this. Campaigning is about letting your electorate see you, know what you think and what you stand for. In this sense, the social media is useful.
If any politician tried to use the social media, however, to manipulate a voter the way a politician invariably does in a town hall (and gets away with) then this could result in a nasty backlash. We are still struggling to understand how the social media works, why it works, and how to avoid its traps. Social media communication does not have the same, identical rules of engagement as face to face communication.
The recent scandal involving FaceBook and Cambridge Analytica demonstrates that the social media plays a growing and very important part in all of our lives. Especially in how we vote!
With all three candidates using the social media in this election campaign, we will be able to compare the different styles, different messages and different strategies that are used. And we will also be able to judge their relative success.
My understanding is that Nigel will do a bit of travelling, but how many countries can he visit without a big team behind him? And how much of a difference will it make in the end? He is clearly the underdog right out of the starting gate.
Kirsan seems to constantly be on the road, and has been since last March’s coup (2017). That in itself must be a pretty tiring undertaking, and the question is how much energy he has left for the final 4 months till the election?
We will just have to wait and see…it should be interesting to watch from the peanut gallery! One thing is clear to me, however, the social media will be used much more in the 2018 election than ever before.