When Italian politicians block you on Twitter: the story of Maurizio Gasparri


Mr. Maurizio Gasparri is not a new name in the Italian political scene when it comes to insulting citizens publicly and displaying detrimental social media management skills. A few months ago I expressed on Twitter my disapproval to (Senator) Gasparri’s behaviour online.

As a result (I presume) I noticed that a few days ago Mr. Gasparri has blocked me on Twitter. This was again a bad move. By blocking me I can simply not follow him but that does not prevent me from actually looking at his tweets, replying or still mentioning him in my tweets. So, why blocking me?

Already in September, the Senator got back to a tenacious follower in a quite “colourful” way. Mr. Gasparri literally asked publicly on Twitter if the “follower’s mom had come back from working the streets yet.”  maurizio-gasparri-insulto-marciapiedeSuch action would lead to the immediate resignation of any political figure in any normal country. Also, the media would be covering this issue relentlessly. But not in Italy. In Italy, the caste system is well more integrated than in India and having politicians behaving disgracefully to private citizens is just not news any more. Whoever holds minimal political authority feels entitled, or blessed by God himself, to be above any other citizen and not to be at the service of the citizens. Gasparri’s case is just one out of thousands but I’m quoting his case because he embodies the typical attitude of the Italian politician type towards the people combined with very poor management of his digital presence. Continue reading “When Italian politicians block you on Twitter: the story of Maurizio Gasparri”

Civil rights in Italy? Only for MPs


In Italy there is no such thing as civil unions. You can either be married, by a recognized religious institution or by your municipality, or just not be married. There is no way in between. If you have had a partner for the past 20 years and you are not legally married to him/her there is no way the two of them can be recognized as one nuclear family whatsoever.  When it comes to tax declaration, death, injury etc.. these people will be always recognized by the state as two separate legal entities. This applies to all citizens…or, wait a moment, it actually does not! Members of the Parliament have the right to declare their partners as more uxorio couples so that they can benefit from state benefits as if they were married.

images Continue reading “Civil rights in Italy? Only for MPs”

Why Pope Francis I will need to face social media

A version of this article was also published in The Expositor

The picture below is quite eloquent. The historic moment of Pope Francis I’s election was commented and shared widely around all social media platforms. In fact, social media brings new challenges for a Catholic church in desperate need of innovation and rediscovery of real closure with its disciples. The way communication has changed in the past 7 years cannot be neglected if a step forward towards a new approach to the people is to be made.

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The hashtags#pope and #conclave were mentioned respectively 233787 and 153695 times on Twitter on 13th March 2013.

Capture

Frankly, it seemed that when the account @Pontifex was launched on Twitter, the people in charge of the Vatican’s media activity didn’t think it through. Firstly, it didn’t make any sense to have a 10 days gap between the opening of the account and the first actual tweet. This resulted in a massive collection of insults by thousands of people directly to the Church. Insults and accusations that were all visible in one big Twitter feed. It was liked they prepared an actual gigantic container of verbal abuses all addressed to them.

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Besides, now all previous tweet have been cancelled and you can now only see the “annunciation’s tweet” almost to demonstrate a net cut with the past. After all Benedict XVI was not a beloved Pope. He made some clear U turns in comparison to his predecessor and his eraly departure as a Pope (the first in Catholic church history) still remains highly controversial. Francis I seems to already display a completely different approach in which he expresses closure to the people and humility towards the role that has been thrust upon him. Will this reflect into his communication strategy? Will he be as close to the people as savvy in handling new communication channel? Of course in this case I’m referring more to his media/PR people rather than the 76-year-old Pope himself.

So what if , God forbid, Pope Bergoglio will leave us soon again? Will his tweets be removed AGAIN? What kind of strategy is that?

The opening of a papal account represented and still represents an incredible opportunity to get closer to the people and should not be considered as a mere newsfeed for the press. It is scary to open up especially when you pave the way to open direct commenting. This, however, should not brake the communication potentials of an institution that has long lost credibility and is going through a dark time of its millennial history.