Brendan O’Connor: An Taoiseach, mindfulness and the Politics of ‘Likes’

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Brendan O’Connor: An Taoiseach, mindfulness and the Politics of ‘Likes’

Leo Varadkar prefers new media to old media, but he should remember that he who lives by social media, dies by social media, says Brendan O’Connor


LIKE IT, OR LUMP IT: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar sees new media as the future and is firmly on its side. Photo: Getty Images
LIKE IT, OR LUMP IT: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar sees new media as the future and is firmly on its side. Photo: Getty Images

It’s easy to see why Leo likes new media more than he likes the pesky old media. He has said as much himself. The old media is obsessed with the story over the truth; even the political hacks are more interested in titbits of gossip. Whereas new media, like Facebook and Twitter, does what it is told, largely. If you want to put out a message – anything from a picture of you filling a dishwasher to a statement on something less important, like politics – you can put it out directly on social media, where it won’t be mediated or distorted by mischievous journalists.

New media is very much the dream in some ways. You can communicate directly with people, in your own words. Yes, there’s all that ‘fake news’ business. But the benefits of new media far outweigh the downsides for most politicians.

Leo also sees new media as the future. And he’s firmly on its side. He thinks that old media is only critical of new media because they’ve taken all our ads away. In his heart, Leo is a Silicon Valley-style libertarian, who believes that governments shouldn’t meddle with the tech companies.

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