In his analysis of the results of the local elections of 3 and 4 October last, Ilvio Diamanti, for Repubblica, writes that “the Party of Mayors has become the Party of a Leader which governs the party, often far from society. From the cities. Today, therefore, we are faced with digital parties and leaders, rather than territorial ones “. Concluding that “for this reason it is difficult to find a design, draw a profile, to reconstruct and summarize these administrative elections. Because they contain and propose many stories, many situations. Local and personal. Too many to give them a precise (political) face. And recognizable “.
If it is certain that the participation rate in this election round was on average 7 percentage points less than 5 years ago, highlighting the detachment of citizens from politics even at the local level, as indeed also certifies the 17th Censis Communication Report indicating civic sense / citizen participation in sharp decline online in 2021, what were the communication strategies of the main candidates for mayors?
A good summary of this provides it Riccardo Luna, Italian Tech’s own director, who wrote in recent days that “one cannot fail to observe that the winners, but also the challengers of the recent elections have stayed away from Facebook and Twitter or have used them little, belatedly or clumsily”.
If this is the general landscape, after analyzing the presence on Facebook and Instagram of the two challengers to the chair of mayor of the capital, we decided to investigate further with the analysis of the presence of two candidates for mayor of Turin. Of the two, we analyzed the presence on the two social platforms with the highest number of daily users in Italy from 1 July to 10 October.
Before going into the details of our analysis, we point out that the center-right candidate, Paolo Damilano, invested until 6 October last year. just under 16 thousand euros in advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. A minimal fraction of the estimated cost of his election campaign, which still is ranks among the top spenders. Instead, the candidate of the center left, was attested to less than 3 thousand euros of investment.
Both, both on Facebook and on Instagram, have a number of followers that to define low is an understatement. And after being chosen by the Turinese (at least by those who did not abstain) the number of followers, both of one and the other, had a laughable, absolutely marginal growth. The number of posts, especially on Instagram, is also very low. As is the number of interactions, and therefore the involvement generated.
The two social platforms are used only and only as a megaphone, as a one-way message propagation tool. No question. No response to comments. And no interaction with the target audience. Is in the case of Damilano, to whom an advocate gives advice common sense, both in that of Lo Russo. In short, even with the run-off next weekend approaching, communication is poor and dull, insipid.
The problem, not only of the two candidates in question, is not that social networks do not work, or that the so-called Draghi style, rather than the pandemic, have imposed sobriety on everyone else. The problem is that in 2021 the vast majority of politicians have not yet understood, or do not want to understand, how to use the different social platforms in the right way, starting with listening to the Net, and therefore to the requests that are dear to citizens, practiced by a small minority of subjects despite the much mythized Beast of the Morisi-Salvini duo.