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Aldo Matteucci October 12, 2012

The facts on the ground provided in this interview are that the function of Twitter/Facebook at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing “is rarely about problems and controversial issues”; it deals with matters like “such as business updates, visa issues and immigration concerns, discussions about food, information about studying in Canada, ways Canada measures air pollution, etc.” It would appear that such communication is mostly “point-to-point” and limited in scope (1000+ comments/feedbacks etc. in a country of over one billion); “significant savings - in advertising and travel, for instance” – for the Embassy budget might be what can be documented. Another honorable but modest benefit is “to flatten out peak demand periods for visa applications, or to market education fairs more effectively and efficiently” – administrative issues all. No example is provided of autonomous “spreading effect” beyond the original exchange – which is what “social” media is about. In particular there is no indication that such tools can be “empowering”, “opinion-shaping” let alone “opinion-making” – or that “social media [as used in this context] has become a very powerful force to break big news stories, and to shape the narrative of events”. The analogies with telegraph and electricity are clear instances of “confirmation bias” – there were untold “inventions” have failed

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