I love political communication. It appeals to the idealist in me. The social engineering part of me thrives on twisting messages to fit into mediums that will best influence people. And right now, Greece is the place to be. The old media is crumbling. Based on funding from business people that used television and newspapers to influence public spending (ie get the tenders for big projects through blackmail!) the whole model crashed. Social media rides in and …everyone is confused! An ex US ambassador to Greece does a great summary of what led us here on his Facebook page. (In English, the original is here.)
So in order to get involved with a political party, first I had to pick one that is actually not corrupt. Athena Drakou explains it all (in English) here from that perspective in this excellent introductory article of hers. And then, a few weeks before the elections, we have to take a party that 99% of Greece hadn’t even heard about a month ago and get it into Parliament. With zero budget!
As we look at highly dubious poll results and await the exit polls, there is a major upturn in Greek politics. A. Apostolakis – eshop.gr founder and entrepreneur does it here . A.Doxiadis – famous author and mathematician does it here . G.Tziralis – the Greek start up man does it here. N.Moraitakis does it here. 53 other Greeks from abroad do it here. What we have is a pandemic of famous and important Greeks who have never before stated their political affiliations publically doing it now. Why?
Sure it is an amazing bunch of people. Within the party and around it, most major Greek intellectuals have gone public in support of “Drasi“ or Stefanos Manos personally. It was part of our strategy (for lack of budget) but it has spiralled almost like a viral social media campaign. Sure the party is on very solid ground through wise long term planning. It is a loosely knit group of very clever people, each somehow pulling in the same direction without the need for a big central structure.
In the last week before elections we have witnessed a unique development as one after another, major public figures from business and culture take a stance in support of “Drasi”, either through online articles (mainly online, as the party is shut out of most media). Even vocal supporters from “the Left” and a communist party figurehead have decided that something important needs to change in Greece. Until now everyone kept there political affiliations a secret for fear of losing a job, a deal or a position in the civil service. Now they are publically supporting this party for fear of there being no jobs left to get!
But ultimately, especially for a region like Greece which resembles a volcano ready to erupt, good communications will be the deciding factor. Especially if (when) the May elections do not produce a useful government, there will be 11 million even more disappointed Greeks to kick into action.
(Full disclosure: I am in charge of the social media campaigning of “Drassi”. For more information visit www.drassi.gr or – in English the links provided above. For the latest guesstimates on possible outcomes you will be really hard pressed to find any authoritative account – I have put a summary of polls here.)