Was it social media that made Iohannis president?

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‘Social media helped Klaus Iohannis win the presidential elections’. This sentence seems to be in the pipeline these days. Iohannis’ rivals are claiming it, part of Romanian media do and even the international press seems to share this groundswell. But is it really that simple? Did Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms help Iohannis to overthrow the first round result and eventually pip his Social Democrat rival? Or was social media just the engine triggering old but real social frustrations among Romanians wherever they were, in the country or abroad?

As it is quite handy “to blame it on the boogie”, as an old song used to say, only this time social media played the boogie’s part. But the real reasons are placed far more in depth than on a virtual page using “like” and “share” press keys.

Undoubtedly internet played its part, acting like a snowball rolling over and gaining impressive size, getting people together and sharing their views on a joint platform, but that happened on a default background, on some pre-existent values, believes and, most of all, on a pre-existent general spirit of grief.

Everybody knows how social media is acting. It is all about marketing and money after all. You came either with an original content, or you invest money, or both, and maybe you will get your sharing overdose that you long for. If we follow this pattern, we can easily apply it to Iohannis’ rival, Victor Ponta. If we think better, social media would have exclusively fit him and his party, as PSD is a sort of champion of buying stuff. If it could buy media, journalists, voters and votes, why couldn’t it buy some shares and likes? On top of it all, the ruling party and his prime minister presidential contender have also kept a tight hand on the reins of the official communication channels, it has already mastered the content at all levels. So, having the money and the content (more or less original, but still strong enough to persuade), why didn’t social media ultimately help Victor Ponta win the presidential race?

For, it’s more than pushing some buttons and splashing one’s money about. You can buy everything, even “likes” and “shares”, but you can truly succeed if these “shares” are really shared and these “likes” are really liked. And only some similar convictions, opinions, pursuits, concerns or discontents can strongly support that. They were all there for the runoff, just waiting to play out, social media has just given them a push.




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