The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, put the finishing touch to the ninth edition of Talking About Twitter, organized by the newspaper ‘Ideal’ of Granada. The event, the largest in the world dedicated to the platform, achieved a reach of 11 million users and more than 10,000 interactions with the tweets generated during the two days of presentations, which made #TATGranada21 a national trend. 4,700 people followed the broadcast of the interventions of 30 international experts and influential profiles on social networks, who reflected on the use of the network during the pandemic and its future challenges, such as the fight against misinformation or hate speech.
Albares referred to this during his speech in the Science Park auditorium. The minister defended the use of Twitter by democratic public representatives to “combat populism.” He has been a user of the social network since 2019. From his profile he reports on his cabinet’s activities that go beyond the public agenda: meetings such as the one held with the Secretary of State of the United States, the decoration of the embassy staff in Kabul or the trips to Qatar and Afghanistan to coordinate the departure of Spaniards and collaborators from Afghanistan before the closure of the Kabul airport.
The minister stressed that networks must be “at the service of society and progress.” In Foreign Affairs they are useful tools for communication with citizens, who until the emergence of the Internet could only learn about institutional activity through specialized publications. They are also the same for the Ministry’s own workers, who are capable of identifying threats to electoral processes or delegitimization campaigns against Spain. “Especially thanks to Twitter, we are informed about hate speech,” he noted.
Another of the morning’s presentations featured the Vox representative for Granada, Macarena Olona. In her interview with the deputy director of IDEAL, Quico Chirino, she opened the door to being a candidate for her party in the Andalusian elections. She also sent a message in a national key: «Who wouldn’t feel like an honor to choose to lead Andalusia? Of course she would be honored. And she would enter Andalusia with clean hands and a heart full of love. And let it be clear: The government, in Moncloa or San Telmo, will be with VOX or it will not be.
In his speech, Olona criticized the “energy terror” that the country is experiencing. «I said in Congress what is the only solution that the Government leaves them: euthanasia. Does it seem hard to you? It’s hard. Is a lie? That’s where we have to meet. For those who practice goodism, they shouted to the heavens. But that same thing, about euthanasia, was tweeted by a patient with ALS. Literally that.”
Twitter and freedom
Freedom and the use of Twitter as a tool for freedom in Latin America was one of the issues discussed during the second session of Talking About Twitter, hosted by Iñaki Cano. The president of Prisoners Defenders, Javier Larrondo, debated with the Venezuelan businessman, activist and nationalized Spanish politician Leopoldo López Gil, father of the Venezuelan leader. Larrondo explained what happened on July 11 in Cuba: «Some people took to the streets asking for freedom. He jumped to social networks, to Twitter. We all started tweeting what was happening, and fifty cities rose up. “It was unthinkable how it happened in such perfect harmony in just two or three hours.” Leopoldo López wanted to clarify that Twitter is not a substitution, but rather an instrument that facilitates communication, as happened with the printing press in past centuries.
Entrepreneurs were also represented on Talking About Twitter. The vice president of Banco Santander in Spain, also general director of communication, Corporate Marketing and Studies of the entity, Juan Manuel Cendoya, analyzed the relevance of digital platforms in the financial sector. “For companies, it is key to be on social networks, you cannot not be there,” he said. The presence, under his criteria, must be “ordered”, following a communication strategy that is “segmented, modern and that tries to solve people’s problems.”
For his part, Raúl Berdonés, executive president of Grupo Secuoya, highlighted the symbiosis between social networks and audiovisual productions. The content of the series has jumped to Twitter, to the point that there are specialists in charge of analyzing conversations on the network to convey opinions about their episodes to the producers.
Canal Sur, a contributor to Talking About Twitter, showed its commitment to “Andalusian talent that breaks with all stereotypes”, also through social platforms. The director of Canal Sur Media, Juanma Blanco Poley, explained that “Twitter is not the most populous network at the moment, it does not have the numbers of Facebook, Instagram or Tik Tok, but it is the most influential because it channels the event live.” Blanco Poley explained the success story of ‘Tierra de Talent’ with his presenter, the comedian, director and producer Manu Sánchez. The program is, every Saturday, a source of ‘memes’ and tweets that go viral.
The same thing happens every night with El Chiringuito de Jugones, a sports television phenomenon that has a life beyond the small screen. Fermín Canas, Álex Silvestre, Cristóbal Soria and José Damián González, part of the team led by Josep Pedrerol, analyzed in Talking About Twitter the importance of live interaction with viewers: “El Chiringuito cannot be understood without Twitter.”