TechnologyThe new 'columnists': this is how the 'influencers' who talk about politics...

    The new ‘columnists’: this is how the ‘influencers’ who talk about politics grow

    “I would define my channel as a place for information, entertainment, and debate,” says Anujbost, the nickname of Juan Hernandez, a 23-year-old from the Canary Islands who comments on political news on Twitch every noon, often while eating. Hundreds of people see him, and with them he talks live. “My chat has a political tendency to the left, but I know that approximately 30% are completely opposite and come to listen to opposing arguments to debate,” he explained to EL PAIS.

    Anuj is just one example of a trend among influencers: talk about politics. A swampy terrain such as public debate is added more and more to the usual network issues. Every day a handful of content creators on YouTube, TikTok and Twitch spread sociopolitical views with different tones. They are a disparate mix and have a bit of four traditional trades in the world of communication: columnists, talk show hosts, stand-up comedians and night radio hosts. They stand alone in front of the camera and give their opinion: some do more activism, others try to laugh and still others chat as if they were having a beer. They know that their words carry weight with their communities, even if it is difficult to measure how much. Its success is another example of the disintegration of audiences that social networks have brought.

    Isaac Parejo, 36, known as Infovlogger, was one of the first to open a YouTube channel to talk about politics. It was not so long ago, in 2017: “I have always been told that I was the first,” he says by phone. “Then Mariano Rajoy governed and I came out against the boom of Podemos and the media system”, he adds. He decided to focus on defending conservative theses: “People come to YouTube to find what they can’t find on TV,” she explains. “He comes to my channel to listen to things that a commentator does not say, to look for a way of information that is not in the mass media,” he adds.

    It is not surprising that politics relatively recently entered the world of influencers. The big stars of streaming and YouTube, which started earlier, are politically aseptic. They rarely think about thorny or topical issues. His success is elsewhere: “Neither Ibai, Auron, IlloJuan, TheGrefg or elRubius pronounce themselves on politics,” says Antonio Cuartero, a researcher at the University of Malaga. “It is curious because one of the characteristics of content creators is the total exposure of their privacy. There is continuous talk about issues of sex or, for example, how much they earn, but hardly anything about politics, ”he adds.

    These influencers Politicians have slightly different definitions of their work, but almost all agree that their work is at odds with traditional media. Facu Diaz, 30, is a comedian and streamer who made a previous career in other media. Diaz sees this characteristic as essential in his channel: “People don’t come so much looking for my opinion, but they flee from the traditional media,” he says. “I have worked in both worlds and television basically does a lot because it seems that everything was planned, under control, that no seam can be seen. On the other hand, people who are on the Internet tend to learn as they go. I’m not going to pretend that I knew this was going to happen, that I knew a lot about it. Seeing the seams on the internet is a sign of honesty and reality, ”he adds.

    Are they more columnists or tertullians?

    This natural separation from television makes it difficult to baptize these new opinion-makers as, for example, commentators: “It is inevitable that in their ability to prescribe ideas or opinions they can have the same influence as commentators, but there is a differentiating element,” he says. Juan Francisco Gutierrez Lozano, professor at the University of Malaga. “The following public is usually more faithful to their figures, the fandom it is much more obvious. There are commentators who set trends, but the most direct contact makes the streamers more persuasive or incisive, perhaps more “influential”. The profile would be more similar, saving the distances, to that of opinion columnists or monologists of political opinion,” he adds.

    Carla Galeote downloaded TikTok because she could not go to 8-M in 2020, days before the confinement due to the covid pandemic. After a few days she posted a video about freedom of expression. Since then she has become one of the most prominent voices of feminism in that network: “I do activism,” says Galeote, 22, and a law student. She wants it to be clear that she does not report or aspire to be a journalist, but also that it is a tough task: “She has her good and bad things. It’s a lot of repercussion and it’s not always so pretty. There is a lot of violence and you have to know how to keep your head. It comes together that I am a woman, I am very young and I am a feminist, which seems to be everything that a part of society hates the most: left-wing women who are raising their voices and doing politics, something reserved for men.

    Perhaps for this reason, or because of the possible expiration of his work on the networks, Galeote does not see a future for his work on TikTok: “Yes, we are like social gatherings, but not because I gave it to me, but because some people have decided to give it to me. But it is a role that will never cross over to mainstream media. We are many young people expressing opinions in networks and very few, if not any, transfer to the media. We have had to create our space because the media did not leave space for young people. They leave us in networks; I would like to transfer to the media”, explains Galeote.

    His videos have hundreds of thousands or millions of views. Everyone has their style, but it is difficult to delimit their impact in influence. “These profiles deal with topics or approaches that interest young people and that traditional media don’t deal with, such as video games or phenomena like La Velada de Ibai,” says Cuartero, adding a handful of new features that most of them contribute: “The codes they use, a natural and close language, the continuous use of memes, the aesthetics gamerThey are not afraid of making mistakes, and they continually rectify, retract, or change their minds. And their audience doesn’t punish them for it. Also, as content creators who broadcast only from home, they are not associated with ideological issues as they are in traditional media,” he adds.

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    But are they right wing?

    One of the great debates since the municipal elections is whether the influence of the Internet on young people has made them more conservative. It is impossible to know for sure, especially when Internet culture is predominant among the youngest. Once inside the political bubble of the internet it is even more complex to clarify. Not only because the voices are varied and disparate, but also because they create their own codes that escape the dynamics of the traditional press.

    “It is difficult to say if in general terms there are more conservatives than progress but I can say that it is a question of trend”, says Anujbost. “The progressive discourse was groundbreaking and reached a huge audience that wanted to break away from the old dynamics. Now that it’s settled punk the opposite occurs: those advances are protested. Internet experiences polarization as a phenomenon of personal enrichment. This implies that the creators will tend to adapt the speeches and pursue certain ideas if they see that they can achieve benefits ”, he adds.

    His idea that the dynamics of the Internet favor controversy is not new, but applied to politics it makes it more obvious: “Discourse becomes more advanced than in other environments and the battle of ideas becomes more arduous. Since 2018, the anti-feminist discourse led many people towards liberalism and, once there, many towards reactionary. Many streamers Outside of politics, they have seen these ideas reflected, which they have ended up accepting: taxes are robbery, feminism is inequality, voting is useless, forced centrism and the fictitious use of science as a political justification. This profile is met by many people who were trained on the Internet as a result of content in English arriving here and being replicated, creating a new profile that did not exist before”.

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    This perception of the internet as something of the right is above all, according to Anuj, a response to what came before. Because on the internet it works better to go against the current. It is where there are new audiences and where you can find a place to grow. When started Infovlogger the boom of Podemos opened a space to defend opposing ideas. Now that space is filled: “Now there are more youtubers and streamers right-wing but only for lack of options. It’s not that we do an extraordinary job, that too, but that people come to YouTube to find what they can’t find on TV”, he says.

    Galeote, younger and on TikTok, sees it differently: “From the left it is said that one fault for the extreme right winning is how they have been implemented on social networks. I have a dissenting opinion: I don’t think there is more presence of right-wing people. I would say that it is the opposite, because the speech in favor of rights is better seen than that of the right. The networks are progressive in a higher percentage. There are a lot of far-right and misogynist men who create content and have a big speaker, but I think that’s four compared to feminists,” he explains.

    Unlike the traditional system, where the media retained their editorial position beyond political waves, the internet has the flexibility to change as the wind blows. There will be those who see today that the right wing wins, but that victory may only be cyclical, or not even that. Meanwhile, the irruption of the streamers, youtubers and tiktokers As opinion makers, as was the case before from other traditional pulpits, it is undeniable: “Little by little these creators are becoming the opinion leaders of the new generations,” says Cuartero. and adds: “We know that the opinion genres of the press or the general media are not consumed by young people, so that space for critical reflection of certain ‘intellectuals’ that is traditional in the press and the media on politics, sports , literature or life is being occupied by profiles”.

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    Source: EL PAIS

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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