Interviewer’s Note: I have a basic list of questions that I ask many of my interview subjects. But sometimes my favorite interviews are with people who necessitate that I toss the list and give them something new, because they’re doing something so different with social media. Iveta Cherneva was one of those people, and she was gracious enough to talk with me about how social media is being used in political and civic use.
Hi Iveta! Welcome to the Pluggio Blog! So I met you on Twitter and read your wide-ranging bio, so my first question is: what do you do at the moment?
Good question! The most recent thing is that I was selected as a member of the Young Atlanticist Working Group at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC, participating in a program “dedicated to identifying and connecting the next generation of leaders in the Atlantic community”.
So what are you working on in that role?
We are preparing to participate in parallel to the NATO and G-8 Summits in Chicago this year. And what a social media wiz like you might be interested to know, is that in the Working Group we interact with each other using a private, off-the-record social media platform.
In your view, what is the value-added of using a social media format in a network of up-and-coming political and security leaders?
It’s informal. You can say what you have to say. You don’t have to draft a speech and run it through the press office. You can just fire a one-line comment.
What kinds of benefits do you see in that?
Anyone who’s been in diplomacy would tell you that nothing ever gets decided in a formal setting. In this sense, learning to operate and communicate in an informal, off-the-record peer group is key – and this is exactly the type of interaction a social media platform can provide. It’s not just fun – it’s a preparation for the real deal.
Sounds like Twitter and other networks could use something like that, couldn’t they?
The question should rather be: why ISN’T this type of Working Group platform more wide-spread? Credit here is due to the management behind the program.
What role does Twitter play in your work as a writer and commentator on politics, security and human rights?
Twitter is the platform where I test ideas: is it retweeted? Is it ignored? Is it perceived as far off? Boring? Does it get anyone angry? If I am writing a niche book/article which would only interest legal specialists and the idea doesn’t resonate with Twitter followers, that’s fine. But if it’s supposed to be a mainstream news piece/commentary and it doesn’t receive interest, then something is off and I need to go back, or find a more interesting angle.
What impact or change do you want to achieve, and how does Twitter/social marketing factor into that?
I want to inform; I want to stir people. I want people to care about others, as cliché as this may sound. It’s so easy to be selfish – too easy. Twitter is a way to reach people and shake them up a bit.
Are there any social marketing accomplishments that you are particularly proud of?
President Obama just followed me on Twitter. No, he didn’t. But that’d be nice.
LOL, very funny. How did you build your following? What kinds of people/businesses are they?
People are starved for news and commentary about what’s going on and they’d rather receive it faster.
How do you choose whom to follow? What do you look for in a follower?
A follower needs to be “tall, dark and handsome”.
Byronesque, a man of few words, that sort of thing? ;)
I look at whether the account seems like a real person. Is there a photo? Do they tweet? Most importantly – does it look like a marketing only/shout out account – I avoid those, they clog my feed.
If you could go back to when you first began using social media, what is one thing you would have done differently?
When I started using social media I used to take everything very personally – even from strangers. It’s so easy to reach (and yes, get to!) people on Twitter – you just need to mention them with the @ sign and you can reach them instantaneously. To try to have mean comments not get to me is what I would’ve done differently.
What does Twitter do for you that nothing else can?
The instantaneous reach and the shortening of distance. I just interviewed the US Ambassador to Bulgaria, Ambassador James Warlick, in the context of my Young Atlanticist Network activities, and yes – I met him on Twitter!
No kidding? Very cool!
And of course , Twitter also made possible our meeting and this interview for which I’d like to thank you.
No, thank you, Iveta!
You can find Iveta on:
Goodreads Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4592965.Iveta_Cherneva
The Young Atlanticist Network: www.youngatlanticist.org/
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