As I write this post, my home country Bulgaria is in crisis. Ways of describing, labeling, and trying to put reasons behind it are flowing in left and right. Some are absurd, others less so. But I am not going to put a name on this situation, mainly because I don’t know of any word that encompasses the degradation of both government and belief in the sociopolitical system.
After more than two decades of “democracy” and “free market,” the Bulgarian people decided to express their discontent with the politicians, the government, and in general with how things work in the country. What started as a protest against the inability to pay electricity bills, turned into a full spread manifestation of public detest, disapproval, and demand for change. The government has handed its resignation. And almost none of the parties in opposition are willing to even participate in a President-assigned interim cabinet before a new parliament is elected on May 12, 2013.
However, in the midst of political fear and thousands of demands in the offline world, a new Bulgarian Cabinet was elected… on Twitter.
What started as a joke on the day the Bulgarian Prime Minister, Mr. Boyko Borisov, declared his government’s resignation (February 20, 2013), now looks more and more serious. In the beginning there was a tweet, then another and afterwards even more. Naturally a hashtag #всянка (#intheshadow) was born. Then there was the SurveyMonkey list of suggested Shadow Cabinet posts, empty fields for tweeps to suggest ministers and finally a website to feature all related information and the idea itself – www.vsianka.com. (Use Google Translate to get the basic information, even in a grammatically flawed form).
All nominated candidates were asked to tweet their platform, steps, approaches, and so on. And in between the jokes and bickering, one couldn’t help but notice serious ideas and suggestions. Reflections that actually make sense, but never became real during the 23 years since Bulgaria said NO to Communism.
Yesterday, February 27, 2013 at 16:00 pm, the voting for Cabinet Ministers was concluded. Bulgaria has its first Shadow Cabinet on Twitter. It features a prominent Bulgarian journalist (Prime Minister), a world-renowned tennis player (Minister of Sports) and many young and able individuals with serious accomplishments on and offline. Well, when I say “able” I do mean in other fields that politics. They still have to prove themselves .
The next step will be to create a Shadow Parliament. But that will come, too.
I leave to you, my dear reader, to decided whether to follow #всянка on Twitter or through the website.
140 characters at a time, this is all it takes to make a difference, to try to change the world around or to be Somebody. Twitter was long regarded as the social network for geeks (or the people who complain a lot). But voicing an opinion represents the de facto an attempt to change the status quo, to move mountains, and hopefully create new opportunities. And there are millions of opinions shared on Twitter, not just #всянка ones.
What do you think? Will this Shadow Cabinet exist for long? Will it be listened to? Will it make a difference?
Copyright © 2013 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.