Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Venezuela Presidential Twitter

The Atlantic Council takes a look at the social media connections of Nicolás Maduro versus Juan Guaidó. One main conclusion is that Maduro had more followers but Guaidó had more interactions. But what does this mean? My hunch is not much.

At various times I've looked at presidential Twitter, which can be entertaining and yields some insights into the leaders. As an independent variable, however, presidential Twitter falls flat. No one has found causal links anywhere between, say, interactions and policy effectiveness.

In the case of Venezuela, it also appears that over the year, people paid less attention to both of them.

This makes sense as protests and coup attempts failed to dislodge Maduro or achieve much of anything. That works to Maduro's advantage, of course, and at least one study found that in the past, he tried to defuse protests by tweeting a lot about things unrelated to the protesters' concerns. How much that mattered is impossible to say.

For now, looking at presidential Twitter is occasionally interesting but not terribly enlightening, and comparing Twitter sizes, so to speak, doesn't accomplish much.


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