I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when it comes to social media, the rule of our policies is “do as I tell you, not as I do”.
Take the case of TikTok: to listen to most Western governments, this Chinese app is only there to steal our digital data for the benefit of the Chinese Communist Party. Therefore, neither one nor two, in the United States, in Canada, at the European Commission, in Belgium or even in France to name but a few countries, it is required, not even requested, required, on the part of the civil servants of these countries to stop using TikTok and even remove the app from their smartphones. But meanwhile, the politicians continue to use it… But be careful, not on their company laptop, but on their private laptop.
To get out of this doublespeak, which has neither head nor tail, these same politicians tell us that they have no choice, they must be where their voters are. Yesterday, these politicians went to meet them in the morning markets, now they go to meet them on TikTok since it is the favorite app for young people in particular.
Beyond the hypocrisy of the discourse, what must also be understood is that thanks to social media, politicians can also have their own media. They no longer depend on national or local media to get their message across, they also know, with supporting figures, that they sometimes have more success, followers as they say now, on social networks, than in passing a few seconds or a few minutes on such a general news channel. And the advantage of social networks is that you cannot be contradicted by a journalist or an expert who knows the subject.
The real concern today is that politics is all about capturing the attention of voters. From their point of view, they are right, because the attention market is the real business of the media and social networks today. Advertisers fight to capture it and politicians do exactly the same.
Except that politicians, when they are not playing clowns, to make themselves sympathetic in the eyes of young video consumers, like TikTok, often play on fear. Part of the media, and most social networks unfortunately also play on this marketing of fear. This is the reason why, you have the impression that the good news is chased away by the bad. Normal, our reptilian brain loves bad news as I explained recently. It’s normal, as Pierre Bentata explains in his book “De l’esprit de servitude au XXIe siècle”, our Sapiens ancestors had to remain vigilant to avoid wild animals, harmful plants or attacks from neighboring tribes. Times have changed, these dangers no longer exist, but we have kept these reflexes from our ancestors, which is normal, because the ancient Sapiens who did not have these fear reflexes did not survive. It’s as stupid as that!
As there are therefore no more wild beasts to fear, our reptilian brain has turned to substitute drugs, this is how we inject ourselves every day, through the media and social networks interposed, our dose of violent videos, conspiratorial documentaries and apocalyptic information. As Pierre Bentata subtly writes, “on social networks, speed of reaction and anonymity helping, everyone simultaneously becomes a consumer and dealer of fear”. This is fear marketing. The media business has changed – at least for certain media, because I wouldn’t want to put them all under the same roof – but it’s true that by going from the long time of paper to the immediacy of digital, our society facilitated the dissemination of fears. By replacing the written word with images, our society has reinforced the stunning power of bad news, and this causes, as Pierre Bentata still writes, catastrophic traffic jams in a brain whose processing speed has not changed. , while negative information circulates at the speed of fiber optics.
I mention it because fear contaminates the future by making it less desirable, and this is one of the dangers of this attention market that the media field has become, but the citizen – contrary to what he thinks – is not doomed to be flabbergasted, he has the power to turn off his television or his smartphone.