The 19 Tweets of an EU Tweetchat
Here’s how it works.
Word gets down to the commissioner in charge of Inland Waterways and Catering that it’s his turn to do a Tweetchat.
It’s the way Topcrats aim to show they’re in touch with the citizen and on top of their dossier.
In fact it serves only to satiate the social-media twitch of a handful of lobbyists, leaving both them and the commission with the impression that some job has in some way been done with some degree of satisfaction.
1. The Official Announcement It starts with an uninspiring invitation from the European Commission.
2. The Commissioner mis-tweets
The commissioner in charge – or rather his cabinet member entrusted with his twitter account – then gets prompted into action.
The tweet goes out late at night on a Friday, and gets the hashtag wrong.
3. The Social-Media Acolyte
On the Monday morning, two days before the big day, some over-eager young social-media comms lackey gets in on the act.
He says he’s excited.
He probably is.
4. The False Starters
At this stage a number of lobbyists jump the gun, and start tweeting the #AskBertie hashtag WAY too early.
5. The Social Media Acolyte has a friend. He’s also excited.
A day later, Frederik is still excited. He and his colleague Piet have been collating inland-waterway statistics for the commissioner. This, they feel, must be brought to everyone’s attention.
6. The Flak Attack
On the day itself, Frederik and Piet tweet selfies, and the spokeswoman finally gets involved. Depictions of the bustling Tweetchat Command Centre give the illusion of dynamism. Exclamation marks seek to underscore youthful enthusiasm for the social medium. When this tweet doesn’t get the required pick-up, the head of the spokes service tries to add momentum with a tweet of his own.
7. The Man’s a Natural
The commissioner himself dutifully christens the Tweetchat too, with a picture of him sitting by a computer equipped with Tweetdeck, as if to say “Hey, kids, I can use this”.
Nor has he ever used the phrase “Fire away!”.
8. The Industry Twobby
At this point the assorted twakeholders unleash their unimaginative twobbying.
The catering industry association has another punt.
9. The NGO Twobby.
The swan-huggers make the most of the moment.
10. The PR Twobby.
Some PR person with a big hotellier client tries to capitalise.
11. The NGO Twobby Again.
And the swan people have another go with a more emotive line.
12. The Snarks Wake Up: Me.
The retweets will have been enough (barely, but enough) to bring the Tweetchat to the attention of others in the EU twattosphere.
At this point I’ll probably have a snark.
13. The Snarks Wake Up: Parody accounts.
The better of the two commissioner parody accounts (yes, there’s more than one) also tries to crowbar some semblance of humour from the twituation.
14. The Replies: Type A) Platitude
The commissioner’s replies live up to the extremely low expectations.
They range from the platitudinous:
15. The Replies: Type B) Platitude
To the platitudinous again:
16. The Replies: Type C) ‘I’m a Human Too’
To the ‘look-I’ve-got-a-personality’ replies, possibly drawing on the fact that he has a family, or something extraordinary like that:
17. The Replies: Type D) The Inveterate Joker
And the ‘look-I’ve-got-a-sense-of-humour’ ones.
Then after all that edification, there’s the obligatory sign-off:
18. The Closing Selfie
19. The Post-Match Analysis.
And after it’s all over, some freelance social-media ‘guru’ who can’t get a proper job will tweet an ‘engagement matrix’ graphic for the Tweetchat, purporting to prove something or other.
The world continues inexorably and unaltered on its axis.