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The Romanian Government in social media – how active are the new ministers online?

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Recent developments in Romania show how individuals with similar ideas have coalesced through social networks in order to bring forth change. People mobilized online to respond to the Colectiv tragedy: they distributed messages with victims’ needs, carried fundraising campaigns, donated blood, sent messages of solidarity and expressed their dissatisfaction and anger with the manner in which the situation was handled by the authorities. The latter has resulted in mobilizing people on Facebook to participate in the protests that led to the fall of the Ponta government. During the discussions and negotiations to establish the new government, social network users have continued to be active by forming discussion groups, reacting to statements made by politicians or by creating open lists of proposals for the new cabinet. Once proposed for Prime Minister, Mr. Cioloş has intensely used social networks to convey his message. For instance, the quick decision to withdraw Ms. Guseth after the hearings in the specialized committees was posted on Facebook at 01:30 AM.

Therefore, social networks are an useful tool for the active citizen in his/her quest to get involved further on. It is important for the new cabinet to realize the power of this tool and use it. It is therefore important for the government to be visible online and open to dialogue. The following is a brief presentation of Romania’s new cabinet members’ visibility and activity on social networks.

In this brief analysis we intend to track online presence and activity of the new cabinet. Thus we monitored for three days (end of November) their presence on social networks and how active they were. If the search results showed that behind a concerned profile there was someone else (coincidence of names with insufficient information or profiles) that account was disregarded. Personal accounts and, especially, those set in this fashion were only mentioned because we consider that such an account does not necessarily imply interaction.

Out of 22 ministers, 9 have a personal account on Facebook, 5 have pages on this network, 8 are present on Twitter and 6 on LinkedIn. Meanwhile, 6 cabinet members are not present in the online at all.

Dacian Cioloș

  • Mr Cioloş appears in searches with three Facebook pages, but only two of them seem to belong to him. On the first page (34,759 likes) in About section still states that he is still a Commissioner at EC (Member of the European Commission Responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development), but the official website is indicated to be www.gov.ro, while on Timeline he communicates as prime minister. His latest posts are about recent or upcoming interviews and about projects the Government has been developing recently. His posts are entirely assumed by the media, even without mentioning the source. We are happy to notice that Mr Ciolos answers to messages on this channel both from the position of PM and of European Commissioner. The second page (93 likes) came about in early November, and the last post was on 17th November which gave details about government formation – it was not clear whether this page is part of the official communication and today it is no longer accessible.
  • On Twitter the Prime Minister appears to have three accounts: @CiolosRomania (353 followers), @CiolosDacian (93 followers), @DacianCiolos (366 followers). The first two accounts are recent, from this November. Although the first account is described as the official account of the Prime Minister of Romania, the lack of activity puts to question its authenticity. The second account is the most active and seems to be correlated Facebook’s activity. Last account, although it has the largest number of followers has no tweet. Also, the Twitter account of government @guv_ro (5572 followers) is active since 2009 and provides information about the work of members of government, official meetings, events or announces streaming of government meetings.

 

Raluca Prună, Ministry of Justice

  • Ms. Pruna has a personal Facebook account but she appears to live in Brussels. On Twitter, @PrunaRaluca has 7 follower-eri but no activity.

 

Vasile Dîncu, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration

  • Mr Dîncu has since 17 November, an official Facebook page (1530 likes) which reflects his work as Deputy Prime Minister. On this page there are recent interviews that appeared on television and radio or notifications of official meetings that took place.
  • On Twitter Mr Dîncu is not present.

 

Costin Borc, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, Trade and Relations with the Business Environment

 

Achim Irimescu, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

 

Mihnea Ioan Motoc, Minister of National Defence

  • On Twitter, @MihneaMm (4 followers) there is an outdated profile of which can not that confirmed it belongs to the minister.

 

Vlad Alexandrescu, Minister of Culture

  • On Facebook, Mr Alexandrescu has a personal account, but also a page (1065 likes) where he announces future interventions in television, the appointments of  councilor at the ministry, thank you message or press articles. Also, on this page the minister offered an institutional email address “for comprehensive communication.”
  • LinkedkIn: outdated account.

 

Adrian Curaj,  Minister for Education and Research

  • Mr Curaj seems to have multiple accounts on LinkedIn which are fragmentary.
  • Later edit: Mr Curaj set up a Facebook page on 3rd November that is already followed by 2500 users.

 

Victor Vlad Grigorescu, Minister of Energy

  • In Facebook searches, Mr. Grigorescu appears to have a personal profile, which mention the position of Minister of Energy, and a public page (91 likes), which is incomplete and less active but has a message of gratitude to those who support his new function.
  • LinkedkIn: outdated account.

 

Anca Dana Dragu, Minister of Public Finance

  • Facebook: personal profile with no activity.
  • LinkedkIn: outdated account that does not mention the position of minister, but the position from the European Commission.

 

Aura Carmen Răducu, Minister for EU Funds

  • Facebook: personal account.

 

Cristiana Pașca Palmer, Minister for Environment, Water and Forests

 

Marius-Raul Bostan, Minister of Communications and Information Society

  • LinkedIn: outdated account that does not mention the position of minister, but that from a private company.
  • On Twitter, even there are no clear indications @marius0791 seems to belong to Mr Bostan. On About section bostan.net redirects to the official webiste of the Ministry of Communications and Information Society. The activity on this account consists mostly in retweeting newsites like Fox News, În Linie Dreaptă,România Liberă or US missions to NATO.

 

Victoria-Violeta Alexandru, Ministry for Public Consultation and Civic Dialogue

  • On Facebook, Madam Minister has a personal account specifying the position at the Institute for Public Policy Director. On this account she posts information about the work at the government, after her appointment at the ministry.

 

Ciprian Bucur, Delegate Minister, Department for Relations with the Parliament

 

Dan Stoenescu, Minister for Relations with Romanians Abroad

  • Mr Stoenescu has an official page on Facebook since his appointment at the ministry.
  • On Twitter @danstoenescu is being followed by 17 users. His account is active and offers information about his new position and a link to official website.

 

As I mentioned, there are six ministers who are not present on social networks: Elisabeta Lipă – Minister of Youth and Sports, Lazăr Comănescu – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Petre Tobă – Minister of Interior, Mr. Marian Dan Costescu – Minister of Transport, Patriciu Achimaş-Cadariu – Minister of Health and Claudia-Ana Costea – Minister of Labour, Family and Social Protection for the Elderly. Likewise, neither Ioan Dragos Tudorache – Head of PM Chancellery is not present on any social network.

 

Why did we do this brief analysis? We wanted to know how communicative the new government is and how fast they are when it comes to updating social accounts in order to reflect in a consistent manner institutional branding. As you can see, we have shortcomings in terms of new ministers updating personal accounts. For a professional communication and for a better  social accounts management for the members of our Government, I think these online presences should be harmonized and verified – it is absolutely fine to keep their personal accounts for personal use but it would be suited for them to mention this in the relevant section (About/Despre). Should these personal accounts be converted into official accounts, institutional ones, it would be advisable that this, again, be mentioned.

According to the ministers’ work, I hope to also see interaction on their part – questions or comments finding an answer, comments being addressed etc. I noted with satisfaction, as I said earlier, Mr Cioloş’ interactions and I think this is a step toward normalcy and towards transparency. Agreed, it will not be possible in terms of logistics to reply to all comments, but it would be nice if interactivity  won’t be forgotten or left aside.
Hereafter were are going to check Ministries’ improvements (if any) on their official pages and online institutional activities compared to our analysis made last year.

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Andreea Hanganu

Peste 6 ani de experienta in comunicare si relatii publice, organizare de evenimente si comunicare online. Timp de 4 ani am coordonat strategia de comunicare in social media pentru una dintre cele mai mari reprezentante diplomatice din Romania, Ambasada Marii Britanii la Bucuresti.

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