In post-Soviet Russia, President blogs you

9:51 pm - May 5th 2009

by MatGB    

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Dear Gordon,

Look, it’s fairly simple. Social Media? You don’t get it. Your video on YouTube has been resoundingly ridiculed due to your terrible performance and complete lack of content. The person who did the production for it? Send them off to the Kremlin for some lessons, there’s a good chap.

Why? Have a look at this. Yes, that’s the President of Russia contributing to his regularly updated blog. I don’t speak Russian, but diplomat Nicholas Whyte, who does, describes it as “an impressive performance“, and even without understanding a word, he comes across as genuine and engaging.

Politicians can, if they put the effort in, use social media like blogs, twitter and YouTube effectively. But if they don’t put the effort in? It’s probably better not to bother than to do something badly.

But then Gordon Brown does everything badly.

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About the author
Mat Bowles is an occasional contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He's mostly a house-husband working part-time at a local school, and is based in Calderdale, Yorkshire. A member of the Liberal Democrats, he is 35 and lives with Jennie Rigg. His general interest blog is currently hosted on Dreamwidth and his old political blog is at Not Little England.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Foreign affairs ,Humour ,Media

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Reader comments

Wow there! he does a mean Adolf H impression… so you know, might be a laugh at dinner parties….

Ye gods, that’s a bad broadcast. It’s the European elections, and Brown has the worst rating ever.

Dear Labour campaign team—perfect opportunity to use your MEP talent to talk about the issues in this election, but instead you’re running the campaign based on the economy?

Well, if you want us to vote based on your record in office over here…

I suspect that 99% of people are getting this issue dead wrong. Yes, Brown looks like a bit of a tit to us, people who spend every waking moment plugged in to blogs, Twitter, YouTube or whatever media outlet you care to think of. But we’re a minority and not even a particularly relevant minority.

All of the coverage of Brown’s YouTube appearances has served one overriding purpose: to cause people to watch Brown’s videos. Unlike normal TV interviews or press conferences, those videos are pure, unadulterated straight-from-number-10 propaganda – I don’t mean that in a bad way, I just mean that these videos are an opportunity for Brown to put his message across without interruption, questioning or disagreement. And by making a fuss about them, we’re driving traffic to them. This is one of the first and most elementary lessons of social media; it doesn’t really matter if the people linking to you say you’re shit, what matters is how many people watch your video.

Since we’re all political junkies, we’re all in posession of the various talking points necessary to rebut everything Brown is saying. But normal people just following a link from a BBC story probably aren’t. They might watch 10 minutes of full-on political coverage in a month, and thanks to the link a solid 3 minutes of that is coming direct from the PM, bypassing any criticism or challenge. Despite all of the negative publicity in the blogs (which only people like us read), this might still be a net gain (boom-boom) for Brown.


You don’t need to be an internet adict like us lot to be totally creeped out by Brown’s video.

That’s why it made it onto Have I Got News For You, wih much hilarity.

Rob, I was ignoring the story. But it actually came up as a topic of conversation in the pub the other day. People who are normal, apolitical, non news junkies types.

Virtually all of them had watched the video. None of them had a good word to say about it or him, they were all taking the piss and laughing at him.

You’re right that it could benefit, and it is a small sample of fairly drunk people (gotta love beer festivals), but in this case I think it’s a massive loss for Brown.

The english version of the Medvedeveblog is here:

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