Twitch, Clubhouse… Why Politicians are Launching on These “New” Social Networks

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Twitch, Clubhouse… Why politicians are launching on these “new” social networks

DIGITAL: To reach a younger audience, or more targeted, politicians invest these social networks, like Jean Castex, who will be interviewed on Twitch on Sunday

  • One year before the presidential election, more and more politicians are launching into new social networks.
  • Prime Minister Jean Castex will give an interview on Sunday on the Twitch streaming platform, where government spokesman Gabriel Attal launched his weekly show on February 24. Jean-Luc Mélenchon has been registered there since May. The objective is to reach a younger audience, a priori less interested in politics.
  • As for the Clubhouse app, still elitist and based on audio, it allows elected officials to target audiences by theme.

“You have not finished seeing all politicians reapply,” said Jean-Luc Mélenchon in May 2020 when he arrived on Twitch. A year later, is the prediction of the boss of the France Insoumise being confirmed? Former President François Hollande was the guest on Tuesday of journalist Samuel Etienne on this broadcasting platform initially dedicated to video games . Sunday, Prime Minister Jean Castex will make his first appearance on the same channel .

At the same time, several politicians have recently invested in the new social network Clubhouse, based solely on audio. One year before the presidential election, these digital platforms are attracting politicians looking for new audiences.

“During confinement, we thought about a tool to exchange with people”

This conquest of platforms is not recent. After several video broadcasts in 2017, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, keen on new technologies, launched his own channel, “Twitchons”. “During confinement, we thought about a tool to exchange with people. We were looking for a new format with a lot of interactions. With the central place of its chat, Twitch allows this horizontality, ”says Antoine Léaument, head of digital communication for the rebellious presidential candidate. On this streaming service, any Internet user can write live, and see their comment or question appear on the video.

The rebels are not the only ones to have invested the platform. In February 2019, several ministers took turns on Twitch for 11 hours to answer questions from Internet users as part of the Great National Debate. Two weeks ago, the spokesperson and youngest of the government Gabriel Attal launched his program “Without filter”, to debrief the Council of Ministers every week with influencers.

Good audiences attract politicians

Launched in 2011 and bought by Amazon in 2014, the platform remains mainly intended for the broadcasting of video games, with live commentary. But these large audiences, growing during periods of confinement, are attracting more and more interest from politicians. In France, Twitch recorded 5 million monthly visitors in 2020 (+ 40%), half of whom are between 18 and 35 years old . And politics seem to interest them. The passage of François Hollande in “The meeting is yours”, the Twitch show of Samuel Etienne , peaked at 84,000 spectators, at the top of the global Twitch audiences on Tuesday evening.

What makes Jean Castex want to come in turn on Twitch? “We followed the passage of François Hollande with attention but the contacts were prior”, replies Matignon. “We want to reach a different target and Twitch brings together a younger audience, perhaps less politicized,” we add. “The hearings of the interview with Holland validate something”, underlines a ministerial adviser. “Some people no longer get information in a classic way, via traditional media. The health crisis has accelerated the use of digital technology by politicians. ”

The rebels make the same observation: “We try to be present everywhere to reach those who are not initially interested in politics. We simply adapt our speech to each social network which has its own grammar, its own codes, ”indicates Antoine Léaument.

Clubhouse, “sort of open radio”

These platforms also allow politicians to target their audience more specifically: young people on Twitch, senior executives on Clubhouse. The policies are a little more numerous each week on this latest app, launched a year ago in the United States. It allows you to exchange in audio, by joining thematic discussions (“rooms”, in English), limited to 5,000 participants. Several ministers are registered, including the Secretary of State for digital Cédric O, who is launching this Wednesday “Digital Conversations”, a bimonthly meeting.

“Clubhouse offers a lot of interactivity, it is a kind of open radio”, explains the UDI senator of Orne Nathalie Goulet, before saying that she was able in particular to ask a question to the boss of Free Xavier Niel, or lead a debate on “everything you ever wanted to know about the Senate”. “I’m not making it a campaign tool, it’s more of a way to meet people,” she continues.

Spaces not without controversy

Unlike Twitch, Clubhouse is still restricted, since it is only available for iPhones, and you have to be co-opted to open your account. “Risk-taking is low for politicians because there is a kind of self-esteem, with many bosses, journalists, politicians among the members”, observes a ministerial adviser. “It’s more about reaching more qualified audiences, opinion leaders, than expanding its audience. ”

Once registered, any member can join the discussion he wishes and challenge the participants, ministers or bosses of the Cac 40. There is no organized moderation, and audio exchanges are not available for replay, which opens the way to a form of spontaneity, but also to certain excesses. Nathalie Goulet experienced this recently. “It’s not recorded, it’s more convenient when you say bullshit!” But it can also go wrong very quickly, I myself had to close a discussion because there were too many insults. ”

Twitch is not immune to controversy either. Samuel Etienne sparked the anger of elected representatives of the National Rally on Wednesday, declaring that he would not receive them on his show.

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