The mixer

This week we just can’t igno­re the most dis­cus­sed new ger­man twit­ter user: It’s the Secretary-General of the ger­man par­ty SPD, Huber­tus Heil. He used twit­ter during his visit in the United Sta­tes, whe­re he atten­ded the Oba­ma show in Den­ver. The­re are qui­te inte­res­ting nega­ti­ve and posi­ti­ve reac­tions to this new hob­by of Mr. Heil. You can find the­se reac­tions in twit­ter and in an arti­cle of the ger­man life­style maga­zi­ne
Der Spie­gel.

It’s a cor­rect esti­ma­ti­on to say that some­ti­mes you’ll be cri­ti­ci­zed imme­dia­te­ly if you do some­thing for get­ting publi­ci­ty. You can see the arti­cle in Der Spie­gel qui­te easy­ily as that of kind of cri­ti­cism. But not every cri­ti­cism that comes up quick­ly is intrin­si­cal­ly wrong.

We don’t mind poli­ti­ci­ans doing things that nor­mal citi­zens do as well. We do mind if they’re just pre­ten­ding to do so. It’s one cha­rac­te­ris­tic of the poli­ti­cal stra­te­gy of Oba­ma, Heil’s idol and rea­son to come to Den­ver, to make clear he’s not that kind of faker. Belie­ve it or not. In Ame­ri­ca the media don’t belie­ve that com­ple­te­ly and the­re­for they’re tal­king about play­ing cards.

One thing that is crys­tal clear is that Heil’s sho­wing up on twit­ter was plan­ned as a part of his poli­ti­cal actions. You can see that in one of the dele­ted tweets of his account:

Most irri­ta­ting this plan did not result in pre­sen­ting any own poli­ti­cal idea. It also sounds like this who­le action wasn’t his own idea. And though twit­ter is much about pre­ten­ding and the idea that the­re is no non­con­for­mi­ty of tweets, becau­se the­se belong to the sub­jec­tive man­ner to descri­be rea­li­ty, Heil is defi­ni­te­ly a can­di­da­te for TMI to us.

This is so becau­se Heil con­ti­nuous­ly mixes pri­va­te, jour­na­listic and polit­cal stuff in his tweets. It’s not clear if he wants to be on twit­ter as a pri­va­te man, a poli­ti­ci­an or a jour­na­list. Actual­ly the­re are enough jour­na­lists and Heil’s pri­va­te life does not attract many peop­le.

In this week’s tweet this mixing is inherent:

Heil tells us that the mem­bers of the ger­man Bun­des­tag Rolf Müt­zenich and Niels Annen bought a skate­board and shoes during their visit and that they now can get back to work all toge­ther.

Is this a poli­ti­cal infor­ma­ti­on or a pri­va­te one? We do think it deals with pri­va­te mat­ters of Müt­zenich and Annen. And for sure the­re will be jour­na­lists to see this in a poli­ti­cal con­text. Anyhow, Heil does not make clear what rele­van­ce his tweets have and how they should be seen as.

Perhaps we should read Heil’s state­ments as the fol­lo­wing tweet should be read, whe­re he tells us how Oba­ma should call his wife:

Bull­shit. [1]

So final­ly it turns out that the twit­ter ques­ti­on to Mr. Heil has to be posed more exact­ly: “What the fuck are you doing?”


[1] fol­lo­wing Har­ry Frank­furt On bull­shit, Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2005

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  1. Das stimmt schon irgend­wie. Aber ande­rer­seits hat er die Lat­te für twit­tern­de Poli­ti­ker in Deutsch­land schon mal etwas ange­ho­ben. Wenn ich mir da so die Jungs von der FDP anse­he, da kommt ja gar nichts rüber.

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