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News: In your book, everyone takes according to their rank, citizen, mass media, and political figures. Should we stop using social media?
Francois Belley: I point with my finger to the partners of the play. My enemy is the great measure of society. Any information becomes an information alert. In our society, the form does not allow a substance to appear. This whole great system with social networks and news channels, what I call social media, emphasizes the news, not the news.
I also point to the era of orality translated by videos, as if it were a forced transition. But it enters the screen first of all with punch lines, and we find ourselves in a spoof.
I became interested in social networks because we are living in its golden age. We are 15 years after the birth of Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. With enough time to observe, we can have a real analytical approach. In my opinion, we have reached the maturity stage and are heading towards the low stage of the crop.
In this book I ask myself three questions. How is the show new in the age of social networks? How new are the goods? So how is the political star system new?
With social networks, we have a new form of politics, one of buzz light and a very short-lived social presence.
Today, everyone can access social networks.
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You mention controversy and the ease with which lynching is condoned or even encouraged on social media. Are you in favor of a stricter framework for user registration in this media?
FB: First, there is a mutation: we have moved from consensus to conflict selling. What is sold is an argument. And for this, the actors, producers and publishers of the platforms are not interested in legislation related to this. It’s the hate, the very voyeuristic side that makes the show.
As we know, the product will mutate. We will likely move forward with legislation.
Children must be protected when it comes to content. But we haven’t seen the arrival of digital, no social network is French. I have the impression that we are chasing and three times behind. This requires more pedagogy towards children.
It should be noted that the attitude towards the screen is opposed to two things: reflex and reflection, that is, for a long time. Everything is done with emotion, including bad behavior.
We will have to take more responsibility.
In Ivelin, our politicians, especially our deputies, have a lot on social networks. They find their audience there. How do you analyze it?
FB: Carl Olive’s skylight free kick is usually a hit on the Internet, seeking participation and intimacy to create a spectacular dimension.
At the national level, politicians make very poor use of social networks, vectors of ego trips and self-promotion. There is communication with pictures and videos to demonstrate their activities. On the other hand, some will look for the punchline to be present. They’ve put together bad noise because they know we’re going to talk about them.
But it would be great to use social networks to connect with citizens at the local level. I don’t see a lot of feedback, requests for specific issues to fix the problem. A local elected official talks little about himself and works long hours.
Our Yvelinois MPs reflect our very connected times. In my book I condemn the constant look and the constant word. I would advise these politicians to shut up and get back to action.
Elon Musk just bought Twitter. “Comedy has gone legit on Twitter,” he said. What inspires you?
FB: We are witnessing a conflict between professional politics and neo-politics. On the one hand, we have the professional politician, potentially embodied by Macron, Obama or Von der Leyen, who wants media outlets and regulated social networks. On the other hand, an unelected neo-politic like Musk or then Donald Trump wants absolutist social networks.
There is a struggle between two ideologies, but both sides agree on greatness.
Elon Musk bought Twitter and announced the possibility of paid subscriptions for official accounts. Are Internet users willing to pay to use social networks?
FB: People have associated the Internet with a free culture. It is very difficult to pay even one euro. On the other hand, if the user has 15 years of education, he can work. If you cut their audience, social influence, especially for influencers, people will be willing to pay.
Francois Belli, The New Political Spectacle, Ed. Nice
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