… And we have hard evidence to prove it!
If you were on Twitter yesterday around 15:00 GMT and you had switched to world-wide trends, you would have noticed the most peculiar word fairly up on your top ten trends countdown: Μάκης Ψωμιάδης.
What is Μάκης Ψωμιάδης (Makis Psomiadis) you may ask. Well, he is a notorious sports personality, also known as Big Mac. He was eventually apprehended in a neighbouring country and is expected to be extradited soon. He is the personification of a generation of morally bankrupted and cocky Greeks: a cigar lover whose match-fixing activities would have made Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif blush. Specifically, there was a European warrant issued for his arrest due to accusations for participation in a criminal organisation that was committing blackmailing, frauds, bribing and alteration of football matches’ results.
Such a distinguished personality could not be ignored by the Greeks who were eagerly awaiting for a happy ending to the Odyssey also known as the selection process for the new Prime Minister. When the news first broke, many even suggested that he should become the Prime Minister (truth to be told, it would have been quite a punishment…).
On a serious note, this is an indication of the growing use of Twitter in the country once seen as technologically behind in comparison to other European countries. From the third quarter of 2010 to date there has been a 150% augmentation in the traffic of Twitter from Greece, according to Google trends. Due to the population, the Μάκης Ψωμιάδης phenomenon is most likely a rare one. However, what can be noted is the social circumstances which coincided with the augmentation of traffic from Greeks. With no researches to back up my opinion, I could tentatively suggest that the political turmoil has made internet users seek a space to express and share opinions.
Can Twitter play the role of a digital public sphere for Greek users? Big Mac shaved his signature moustache. Everything is possible. However, more research should be conducted before drawing any safe conclusion.