Olivier Niquet studied urban planning before becoming Radio-Canada’s radio host in 2009 on Le Sportnographe and La soiree est (encore) jeune. He is also a columnist, author, speaker, screenwriter and many other things. He is particularly interested in the media, but considers himself an expert in universality.
It is interesting to see, as we mark the 10th anniversary of the 2012 student crisis, how the protagonists of that time have changed on the media and political scenes. This seems to be a turning point in the careers of many public figures.
This period will become for them a kind of golden age. Division policy (wedge politics), which corresponds to the new era of social networks. Of course, it was at this time that we met Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the current spokesman for Québec Solidaire. But it was at this time that Eric Duhem, the current leader of the Quebec Conservative Party, began to be talked about because of his stance against the red squares movement.
I will not compare them in essence. They represent legitimate ideas. As for the form, let’s say there is one whose processes I value less. Anyway, I can’t be objective since I have a mutual friend with Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois and we already played a board game together in 2015. I have never played backgammon with Eric Duhem.
The fact remains that these two probably realized in 2012 that social media is perfect for capturing the moment and mobilizing troops. Since then, they have chosen a strategy to be present on these platforms and, above all, not to be flat. Subtlety doesn’t pay off online. Better to throw grenades. Filming a wok video when Francois Legault calls you woke uplike GND did, or chat live with MP Claire Samson about the delivery of her mare, like Eric Duhem did.
In contrast, another student spring actor, Jean Charest, never followed the parade, perhaps hoping that the internet fad would pass quickly. His lack of social media positioning could cost him the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.
The same goes for reviewers. We remember Richard Martineau’s famous tweet about sangria: “On the terrace in Outremont: 5 students with red squares eating, drinking sangria and talking on a cell phone. Good life ! He recently said that a tweet changed his life, turning him from a badass columnist to public enemy number one. Like the politicians mentioned earlier, he may have realized at this point that pushing the right public opinion buttons can generate a lot of reactions, promote his fame, and ultimately be quite intoxicating.
I know what I mean. In 2012, the radio show I’m on was starting its first season, and the media coverage of the red squares blunders was our bread and butter. If since then I have not completely succumbed to the intoxication of reaction to the accumulation of social capital, the temptation is permanent.
I’m noticing (you might say it was about time) that a little more caustic advertising can pay off in terms of notoriety. I recently hacked a few posts that, while not being particularly brilliant, had a big impact on social media. I talked about pushing the right buttons for public opinion: mission accomplished. My readership has grown significantly as a result of these shocking statements. Statements that were ultimately accurate rather than shocking in the sense that they appealed to a specific audience.
All this to the point that I understand a little better the growth of some public figures who do not keep their tongues in their pockets. But there’s a big step between wanting to grab attention and becoming the postmodern Elvis Gratton on social media.
It reminds me of a letter published a year ago by former Huntingdon mayor and ex-radio host Stéphane Gendron, who has long been involved in the controversy when he joined the Freedom from Oppression information campaign. There he explained that he was pulled into some kind of spiral. “For a long time I sang in this ominous choir with dubious quarter tones and slight dissonances embellished with bad taste and sometimes destructive curlicues. During my years as a TV and radio commentator, I got stuck in trash and instant opinion. The discovery of power and influence hit me in the head. It was unhealthy, it got me into a spiral of verbal abuse that hurt the debate. »
I have always dreamed of going inside the head of a professional debater to understand the proportion of what he really believes compared to what he says in order to show off and get attention. My mark? 25% beliefs and 85% performance (the polemicist always gives out his 110%).
Since public opinion is divided, the task of the politicians is to mobilize the base. “Make news”, whatever it is, inspire your followers. This is where the enticing tweets of our political and media figures come in. Because even if there is only a small part of the population on Twitter, the media elite lives there permanently and will seep your content into traditional media. It was in the spring of 2012 that many first caught fire with this “dizzying influence.” For them it was a red-hot spring.