Social Networks and Adaptive Capacity: Future Trends in Political Communication
With just under a month to go until the municipal and regional elections on 28 May, and in the framework of the tenth anniversary of the Master in Political and Institutional Communication (MCPI) of the UPF Barcelona School of Management, the school recently organized an “electoral debate without candidates”, a six-way dialogue between political advisors who were trained on the MCPI at the UPF-BSM.
The participants were the consultant Jordi Crisol; head of social networks at Valents, Claudia Chueca; the first deputy mayor of El Vendrell for the PSC, Christian Soriano; the journalist Berta Soler; the communication technician for the campaign Cuidem BCN, Maria Moreno; and the technician for the Department of Communication and Image for the ERC, Pep Descals, who together unveiled much of the background of a political campaign, and the essential aspects to take into account during an electoral period such as the one that is approaching. The academic directors of the Master, journalists Toni Aira and Carles Pont welcomed and coordinated the event.
Asked what concepts and techniques they had learned during the Master that had been most useful during an electoral campaign, Jordi Crisol highlighted the way to “invest time in analysis in order to segment messages and political actions correctly,” and to which he added that the true success of a campaign is “to impact the daily life of people”; meanwhile, half seriously and half joking, Claudia Chueca replied that it was the trips that she could not take, given that she studied the program in 2020, as well as the use of social networks.
Christian Soriano remembered the practical application of the UPF-BSM Master’s Degree, and how it taught him to “create perceptions to build a favourable environment to get votes,” because (quoting Henry Kissinger), “things are not as they are, but as people perceive them to be.” In the opinion of Berta Soler, “the teachers” and “the two most important elements, strategy and message” are what stayed with her most after leaving the classrooms. For Maria Moreno it would be more “planning and knowing how to adapt speech to the people we are addressing,” while for Pep Descals, “everyday things” are most important.
With respect to future trends in political communication, social networks were most mentioned, each of them having a different audience; in this regard, some of the recent initiatives that were cited were WhatsApp channels or the accounts on TikTok that some candidates have opened, which are no longer only aimed at the young, but at everyone. Jordi Crisol added to these trends, “the ability to be versatile and adapt,” something with which Christian Soriano not only agreed, but illustrated with a counterexample: that of the candidates Abel Caballero and Xavier García Albiol, who “swept to victory in the municipalities” in their respective cities of Vigo and Badalona, but failed when they ran for regional elections due to their “mostly local profile.”
Pep Descals added that a very important element is that “the team is fully cohesive and supportive, that there is a good atmosphere, in order to know how to react, you can't reach everywhere on your own.”
The six guests actually constitute only a small part of the more than 150 participants who have taken the Master’s Degree in Political and Institutional Communication at the UPF-BSM throughout its ten years of existence. As could be seen during the debate, the program has a robust theoretical base, with great practical applicability, and support that goes far beyond the classrooms. In short, a master’s degree that seeks to professionalize the art of political communication. Because, as Josep Tarradellas said and as was mentioned at the end of the debate: “in politics you can do anything but ridicule.”