DeSantis, Musk and Twitter Spaces: chronicle of a disaster waiting to happen

DeSantis, Musk and Twitter Spaces: chronicle of a disaster waiting to happen

“DeSaster”. This is the new nickname of Ron DeSantis after the disastrous announcement of his run for the White House. The Republican candidate bet on Twitter and its owner, Elon Musk, who is also the most followed user with more than 140 million followers. But the expected announcement of Twitter Spaces, a feature of the social network that allows you to organize and listen to live audio conversations, was an ordeal due to ongoing technical problems. For the New York Times it was “a flop”. Politic he called it “the portrait of chaos”. For Elon Musk, on the other hand, we can speak of a "great attention" to what has become "the most read story on Earth". Points of view.

The importance of the live broadcast - DeSantis would have been the first politician in history to run for president on a social network - brought down the social media servers, complicating an announcement that for many was "a disaster waiting to happen". Not only due to the technical limitations of Twitter, a company that has had to deal with numerous cuts and layoffs in recent months. For the Pew Research Center, in fact, only one in five (adult) Americans use the platform. Of these, the majority have Democrat sympathy. The numbers say it wasn't the right showcase. Furthermore, by focusing solely on the voice and on a model that has decreed the rise (but also the rapid decline) of a popular app like Clubhouse, DeSantis has failed in the first rule of a candidate: to put his face on it.

As he had Barack Obama in 2007 in front of the crowd gathered at the Old State Capitol in Springfield. "I am here before you today - Obama said on that occasion, suddenly raising the tone of his voice - to announce my candidacy for the presidency of the United States". The same thing he did, in 2016, Donald Trump, descending a golden escalator and taking the stage set up in the iconic Trump Tower, under the eyes of reporters, photographers and TV. And with his family on display, sideways. “I'm going to be the greatest president God ever made,” Trump told his fans. Three years after Joe Biden, for his announcement, he didn't use a rally but he still focused on his image, producing a video with his face always in the foreground, alternating with exciting archive images: from the Statue of Liberty to Martin Luther King. "Our democracy is at risk - said Biden referring to Trump - and for this I am running for President".

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by our correspondent Federico Rampini

On each of these occasions, words certainly had weight, but gestures, expressions, visual details, even pauses also contributed to shaping public opinion. Mario Nawfal, the entrepreneur who hosted Musk and DeSantis in the Twitter Space that should have made the history of the social network, argues that the conversation, in the end, it reached 5 million listeners. But how many of these were Americans and eligible to vote? In fact, the live broadcast could be accessed from all over the world. Ron DeSantis, the man who complains about Big Tech's "censorship" of conservatives, faced the largest audience who knows where, forced into awkward technical silences, with a malfunctioning megaphone that he had no control over. Along with a man who managed to land rockets vertically but who, months after buying it, still hasn't figured out how to operate his favorite toy: Twitter.

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