The Optics of Leadership: A Comparative Exploration of Uzbek and Tajik Presidential Posing on Instagram Open Access Deposited
How might a leader in Central Asia take a selfie? This paper explores the Instagram accounts of the presidents of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – two countries with authori- tarian regimes and varying information and communications technology – in order to reach conclusions on the evolving role of social media in governance. Instagram offers a forum where the two presidents can project their personal leadership style, draw attention to official events, potentially interact with (or received interaction from) other accounts, and use national identity images as a part of their leadership role. These activities cater to domestic audiences as well as feed into the dynamics within the wider social media sphere. This paper explores how, even though the style and substance of the two leaders’ posts differs greatly, Instagram use opens a door to posturing for a virtual audience.
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