Smoke on the (social media) Water

You gotta love Russian President Dimitry Medvedev (or maybe not!).  He’s the world’s most powerful Deep Purple fan.  And it seems as if he updates his own Twitter account — at least the Russian-language version.

Of course, it’s easy to assume that heads of state have teams of handlers who do their direct online communication for them.  For instance, I’ve gone back and forth on whether Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s now-hacked blog broadcasted his personal musings direct-to-the-people.  But judging by the personal voice of Medvedev’s Twitter feed (i.e. “My father taught a lot of graduate students from Vietnam. It was very nice to meet some of them today“), I’m thinking that he probably writes his own tweets, but maybe gets help uploading the photos from his SLR.

Such as this Twitpic from November 1st, replete with status update:

It’s a seemingly innocent post from a head-of-state on a public relations tour of the Kuril Islands.  But the Soviet Union seized this territory immediately after Japan’s surrender in 1945, and they’ve been disputed ever since.  So I think it’s pretty cheeky that Medvedev would use the informality — and directness — of social media to twist the knife, so-to-speak.  Regardless of your position on this issue, you should see it as a unique passive-aggressive approach to diplomatic communications, which at the very least, isn’t couched in the usual double-speak of bureaucratic foreign policy.  Rather, it aims for the jugular, not unlike a timeless, instantly-recognizable guitar riff.  You know the one I’m talking about Mr. President!

[Note: I’ll discuss this, and more tales of adventure from the world of storytelling and social media at my Silicon Valley Storyteller Uprising talk on Tuesday, November 16th at the Menlo Country Club. RSVP link]