Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Hugo Chavez had a staff of 200 to help run his Twitter account

"It is known mainly for transmitting celebrity trivia and narcissism, but in the hands of Hugo Chávez Twitter has become something else: a tool of government.
Venezuela's president has harnessed the social networking and microblogging service for his socialist revolution by encouraging the population to tweet him its concerns.
Chávez's Twitter account, @chavezcandanga, has exceeded 720,000 followers after gaining a reputation as a way to bypass bureaucracy and appeal directly to the president. It gains about 2,000 followers daily.
The leftist leader ordered the establishment of a 200-strong team to process and respond to the avalanche of messages complaining about government services and requesting help.
"This telephone is close to melting. Now I am aware of many things going on here," said Chávez, brandishing his BlackBerry, during a recent televised meeting with police officials.
Sometimes Twitter bites back. Earlier this week Colombia's former president Alvaro Uribe, a regular Chávez target, tweeted from @AlvaroUribeVel: "I ask President Hugo Chávez to stop being a coward hurling insults remotely."
Since signing on to the service in April, Venezuela's leader has routinely ordered ministers to attend to specific tweets. Told of an apparent mugging and kidnapping, he tweeted: "I'm telling [interior] minister Tarek [El Aissami] to investigate!! Good luck friend."
Chávez said some pleas for medical help haunted him. "These things stay with you. Sometimes I can't sleep because I think 'Oh my God!' and I start to reply and I call the ministers: 'Help me here. Locate this person.'"
The president said he has received more than 287,921 pleas for help, including 19,000 for a job, 17,000 for a house, 12,000 for credit and 7,000 for legal aid."
Source:  The Guardian, 10th August 2010
Note - Hugo Chavez Frias had 4.1m followers when he died, so it's likely the staff numbers had to grow

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