Doe eens normaal man!Posted: 28/09/2011
Nowadays, it seems a modern and engaged politician can not go without a Twitter account. This holds true for Dutch politician of the Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV), Geert Wilders. However, how active is mister Wilders and what is he tweeting?
I was actually following Geert Wilders a long time before this assignment came along, because my Twitter account is one of the few that predates this course. This of course is very convenient, but it also allows for an evaluation over a longer period of time. To find Wilders on social media is not that hard. Although there is an impressive amount of accounts that imitate him, the official PVV website shows that the actual account is @geertwilderspvv. But even without a mention you can definitely see it’s this account that is his. This shows in his tweets which follow his political style: quick and to the point.
Wilders tweets on a regular basis. Not always daily, but at least two or three times a week. His tweets are exclusively political and sometimes include a link to an article he’s referring to in the tweet. This comes across very professional and perhaps a little distant. But the question I ask myself is do I follow him because I am interested in his personal life, or in his political viewpoint? I think we’d all like to know what mister Wilders does when he’s not out there harassing other politicians (“Doe eens normaal man!”), but for a politician I think it’s better to keep the personal life out of it. Wilders never struck me as the kind of person who would tweet personal information, let alone add a picture or a video.
One thing where Wilders does lack is his interaction. Twitter is such a great medium to interact with your followers, and closely examining his timeline, Wilders never does it. Maybe this is because a lot of people aren’t exactly favourable to his cause, or maybe in his busy life as a politician he just doesn’t have time to do it. If you look at it from that perspective, it’s admirable that politicians even tweet at all. Still, it’s a nice way to keep in touch with your voters but I wouldn’t mind seeing a little bit more of a human side to Wilders in his tweets, as most of them are just his business as usual.
This is mostly in line with the Web 1.0 described by Jackson & Lilleker (2009). According to their definition of Web 1.0, the web is just a place to share information, whereas Web 2.0 encourages interaction. Wilders, on Twitter, definitely fits the Web 1.0 profile, just sharing his information and never interacting with his audience. Using a Web 2.0 medium in this way can leave much to be desired, so I say Wilders: “Doe eens normaal tweeten man!”