Sunday, March 31, 2013

Twitter and IR Theory

A big story on Twitter this weekend, which then made its way into the press--Spanish-language at least, as I haven't yet seen mention in English-language MSM--was the Twitter war between Nicolás Maduro and Alvaro Uribe. They hate each other, and made that very clear.

Twitter should soon get into IR research. Bear with me, I'm not joking. What I wondered--let's call it "hypothesized" to make it sound better--is that dialogue on Twitter is a way for leaders (and in this case an influential ex-leader) to express raw views without the same backlash as a formal media event. We see it on Twitter and chuckle (or get annoyed, depending on your views) but it stays low level.

A counterargument is that Maduro for sure, and probably Uribe these days too, makes plenty of aggressive arguments in formal settings that don't get taken all that seriously. But still, Twitter seems to be perceived differently. It's not "leaders are arguing" but rather "leaders are tweeting at each other."

Twitter is not used uniformly by Latin American presidents, and in some cases not at all. But those that do are communicating in new and creative ways, 140 characters at a time.


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