SPD leader Lars Klingbeil does. Co-Chair Saskia Esken does it more often. And Chancellor Olaf Scholz will probably do it: tweet. The Twitter king in the SPD is General Secretary Kevin Kühnert. Or rather: it was him.
It has become pretty quiet around Kühnert, the once loud Juso boss and Scholz fright, and now he has also logged off on Twitter. Like the Green politician Robert Habeck before him. For extroverted, communicative and permanently young-at-heart politicians like Kühnert or Habeck, it must be almost like taking a vow of silence – and going into a monastery.
According to Kühnert, he finds that the discussion culture on Twitter “leads to false conclusions and errors in political decisions”. So before making decisions, was Kühnert also guided by the tweets of the constantly agitated and over-excited community?
Even more thoughtful is the point at which Kühnert announces that he will take his finger off the Twitter trigger. That he is now deleting his account with around 370,000 followers, when his party with Chancellor Scholz bears the highest government responsibility, the country is going through difficult times, the polls for the SPD are getting worse and the Twitter community is not sparing with criticism. He is obviously concerned with blocking out critical voices for himself.
When Kühnert was still head of Juso, not part of the government apparatus and not having to answer to the public for his political actions as he is today, the shitstorms that raged again and again through the Internet apparently did not bother him. Now they are a nuisance to him.
The tone on Twitter is undoubtedly often difficult to bear. The portal is increasingly mutating into a dumping ground for the spite of anonymous angry citizens who are looking for an outlet for their world pain. If you want to start your day really badly, go to Twitter in the morning.
In the case of Kevin Kühnert, however, it would not be bad to face this wall of anger. Because politicians in his league live in a bubble, it can be helpful to see what is thought of in other bubbles – some of which are unsightly but have a wide reach. Blocking out social media portals is a denial of reality in 2022. It's as if Martin Luther had said: I won't go along with this newfangled book printing. Running from social media is like running from the internet.
"Kick-off Politics" is WELT's daily news podcast. The most important topic analyzed by WELT editors and the dates of the day. Subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, among others, or directly via RSS feed.