In the new chapter of the Twitter saga… Elon Musk’s arrival has sparked comments and fears… Everyone – and above all his most bewitched users who have dreams of greatness to challenge the new owner – react, overreact.. A minister, in response to Musk’s outburst, “suspending all activity on Twitter until further notice”…
We want to demonstrate with satire that the government doesn’t exist, we wouldn’t go about it any other way. We care more about the life of the social network than if martial law was foreseen for our country. The 2.0 in politics had the function of organizing online local communities take action offline. In short, using screens to drive field campaigns. With Twitter, the situation has become the opposite. The exhibition of himself, of his opinions, leads to a kind of isolation under the gaze of an ever-growing audience.
Addicted to Twitter?
Addiction is always the meeting between an individual, a personal and social context and a product. Here, the product is not a molecule, but a microblogging site. An addiction is a harmful attachment to a molecule or activity. In this case, let us assume that the damage is also harmful to public debate and democracy.
Now, addictive disorders in video games are monitored medically. The same has long been the case for gambling addiction.Twitter addiction has met a hugely interesting topic with Donald J. Trump. Journalists and political scientists have reproduced the context of his tweets, often in spades. In particular, we know that he tweets a lot in the morning, after getting up and in front of the TV. Exile from the social network is experienced as a serious attack on everyone’s freedom.
We remember the “crisis” (with many quotation marks) related to the banishment of Jean Messiha from this network. Exile, in the minds of many, more or less amounts to an attempt at social annihilation. Proof that Twitter is addictive, Jean Messiha rushed back as soon as things allowed!
How to live without tweeting?
Twitter is therefore not a “normal” medium. It is neither a newspaper nor a television. It is not an Instagram-type social network (where pictures are posted), in short a “normal” 2.0. Twitter is separate. It pushes for immediate reaction, “before reflection”. There is an obvious kind of brutality inherent in Twitter. Alain Bauer, the famous criminologist, said of stabbings: “From now on, we plant as we tweet.” A rapture, a flash, a dazzling opinion and – presto! – a tweet.
The sending of a tweet – in any context – is (in the mind of the tweeter more than in the mind of the reader) proof of one’s social existence. All day and even night, the political tweeter needs material to soothe his own existential angst. Any topic is good to communicate. Obviously, an attack (#JeSuisPetaouchnok) or the death of a personality (#RIPJohnny) allows you to exist in the stream of tweets. Adding some originality to it to stand out is a must and sometimes a dislike expressed within an hour can separate the tweet from the rest. Twitter addiction breaks down the self-esteem immune system.
During the 2011-2012 primary campaign, the “twittos” imposed themselves on the political scene. Often anonymous, although they rarely need to fear professionally from their obligations, very often without a picture of them on their profile, although not all were affected by an excessively ugly appearance, some had become real personalities. Each team was excited to produce a maximum of tweets to defend their candidate in front of an audience composed almost entirely of the newsrooms of the Parisian press.
We comment on an elected official’s opinion at the moment, very rarely on his balance sheet or his political vision. The ridiculous becomes a scorched earth of political life.
If Twitter is an addictive, highly addictive and highly destructive application, it has some features similar to a product, crack. As quickly as the latter desocializes an individual, Twitter, which excessively socializes everyone’s facts, words, gestures and ulterior motives, paradoxically tears its victim away from the real social bond. A parallel existence consisting of seeking media coverage, recognition by “twittering” harms the person concerned and, by replication in the political and social fabric, democracy.
Twitter succeeds in making the user believe that it exists media-wise, politically; it is a powerful existential booster of everyday life and especially of everyday life that seeks meaning. That said, there is a Twitter community, and it actually has an apparent upfront cost to leave.
The inventory of tweets from our parliamentarians (all trends combined) is striking: a bric-en-brac of condolences, warm reactions during the session, signs of solidarity with the cause of the day, reflections or unlikely comparisons. Those who try to stop a politician or a journalist from tweeting too much break their teeth encountering an abuser’s speech (for the sports lottery or for anything else).
There is an existential need for the twitto to tweet to make his point: how many congratulate Joe Biden on his election or write 280 bombastic characters to send their condolences to the Windsors? Intervention topics on Twitter follow trends. What politician can respond to a human disaster with a 200-character tweet without seeming bordering on obscenity? Most actually.
Twitter believes that the number of subscribers is a capital. To give up 10,000 followers would be to give up a political assembly. Expressing himself in 280 characters or in 140 on any subject reveals an inner journey towards the abandonment of nuance and the progressive brutalization of his writings and his thoughts. It is also a form of political alienation and abdication before the march of the world.
Bullying on Twitter is online but can only suck it offline. Impossible to make our pleasures in the cage understand: the snarky twitts (“So and so in PLS” and so on) or abusive harassment would never translate physically. If Twitter were a simple re-release of the Tamagotchi, one might consider that nothing bad is coming. Two realities therefore coexist on Twitter: on the one hand the growing insignificance of its coercive implications, on the other its tendency to move towards ever more brutality in its expressions.
Leaving Twitter when you have 10,000 or 20,000 followers is not a survival test. Life doesn’t change. It is enough to realize that its public action (if it should be) is more solid by writing texts than by attacking the whole earth with imperative, inept and poorly written statements. Even for an elected official, there is no “obligation to be on Twitter”. To think that you have to be on Twitter at all costs to play politics is a mistake.
What Twitter induces in the minds of our politicians leads them to compulsive and destructive use. Democracy would benefit from addressing the topic of Twitter and not Musk-at-head-of-Twitter. The height of the sandman’s deception: to provoke a referendum on the direction of Twitter and make the user believe that he is in power.