Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF director who hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the Sofitel sexual assault case, made a big comeback on Twitter recently.
Basically, within the space of two tweets, Strauss-Kahn set himself up for a political return in the near future.
The first episode of the story will probably be taught in political communication schools for the next twenty years.
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Strauss-Kahn's first tweet was a masterpiece. On the 21st of June, "Music Day" in France, Strauss-Kahn tweeted, in English, the following:
Thousands of journalists played the DSK game, trying their best to explain Strauss-Kahn's mysterious tweet - was it a reference to Jack Lang, the creator of Music Day? Or something less obvious?
In terms of share of voice, while some angry commenters on social media re-affirmed their disgust regarding Strauss-Kahn's past offenses, most of them reacted in a relatively amused way. In a media loop where online newsrooms need nuggets to publish, Strauss-Kahn used this thirst for content to his advantage, providing scarce information for months, then providing only 140 characters and a picture for them to fill their articles.
Amidst this thirst for information, Strauss-Kahn generated buzz, not through some new scandal, but through a gimmick, an intellectual game designed to soften his bad reputation and bring focus to new traits of his media persona. The strategy was not to revert his bad reputation overnight, but to progressively bring new information segments to the fore, effectively hiding the less negative ones in the process.
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Strauss-Khan, despite his numerous scandals, has always been held in high regard for his academic skills and intellectual capabilities as an economist.
During hia various trials, Strauss-Kahn was invited to conferences all over the world, offering him a means to escape the core media heat, while keeping an eye, and a hand, on former networks.
Strauss-Kahn made his economic come-back in a very timely manner - with the Greece "Grexit" being discussed in every corner, Strauss-Kahn published a comprehensive report on the story, detailing how the IMF also carries some burden of responsibility and guilt. This was another nugget that journalists lusted after, which again, generated buzz within online media and online conversations. Probably less powerful than expected but still.
Strauss-Kahn's third act will likely continue on the same path: a distant and scarce DSK launching rockets here and there via tweet, until... A political come-back? That would be another story, but the French do seem to forget things pretty quickly - according to a recent opinion poll, DSK wouldn't be that bad as a Presidential election candidate compared to the other Parti Socialiste "elephants".