Thank you internet!

Though I may be slightly disillusioned by politics lately, there are some things I have really enjoyed during the latest round of French Presidential elections, and most if not all of them, are related to the internet.

1. Twitter
On the first round of voting, the hashtag #radiolondres was widely used around twitter to announce results before the official time of 20h. French TV and media were  obliged to respect an embargo that prevented them from publishing any results before 8pm, but the Swiss and Belgians weren’t. People stared using #radiolondres, a reference to the time when De Gaulle was in London during WW2, to announce preliminary results in coded form, and start launching speculation. Some of the code messages were real, using rugby scores for example (Netherlands vs. Hungary), and others were completely ridiculous (the chihuahua is on the plane). Nevertheless it was hilarious to read, and also exciting to be finding out results before they had been made official. You can read articles about #radiolondres here and here.

I also fully watching the TV debate whilst following people’s comments on twitter, sometimes posting my own about quotes I found particularly funny or shocking, and general impressions about the debate. It’s great to be able to follow simultaneously what people’s reactions are to such a key moment in the elections. Finally, following many links to articles, blog posts and more about the elections, meant I was constantly aware of the latest developments, and reading people’s opinions and analysis. 

2. Facebook
In a different way from twitter, people still share their views about the election on facebook. Thankfully, this makes for a nice break from the usual “I just took my dog for a walk” and “Yesterday I had a sandwich for lunch”.  People tend to write longer posts on facebook, giving lengthy opinions about the debate or about candidates. The commenting system allows people to have miniature debates with each other via facebook, creating a different atmosphere than pure information sharing as can be found on twitter.

I was pleased to see friends posting “have voted” comments, proud of having done their duty as citizens and thereby encouraging others to do so (or so I feel). I enjoyed engaging in debates with some people and watching others unfold. I was surprised to discover a fair amount of Sarkozy supporters amongst my friends, all of whom are threatening to move to Switzerland.

3. People’s reactions to the results
Once again mostly gathered through facebook, some of which made me laugh, others that seemed to have some truth

– “France has shown – once again – that it is “against” it. Against what? Doesn’t matter. Just against. Well done dear neighbors! You just caused another doom’s day for Europe and the modern, globalised world.”

– “Pour des passages clandestins vers la Suisse, merci de me contacter.”

– “RIP La France !” (bit of an exaggeration but still…)

– “Il faut qu’un président de gauche soit élu en France pour que les Suisses ose affirmer leurs choix politique de droite et même sur Facebook…. Ben bravo!!!”

– “Ma femme (qui je le rapelle est russe) m’a demandé, alors quels sont les résultats ?? Je lui réponds FH élu avec environ 51,7% des voix. Elle me regarde et fait une mine inquiète en me demandant si quelque chose n’a pas marché? 50-50, vous ne pouvez pas vous imaginer comme c’est inconcevable pour des personnes privées de démocratie réelle ! Je n’arrête pas de le dire partout sur FB, je trouve extrêmement important que la France se choisisse un président progressiste plutôt qu’un président intégriste-de-droite … mais la vraie victoire s’est celle de la démocratie républicaine et c’est définitivement ce qui marche le mieux en France depuis 2 siècles ! Vive la démocratie, vive la république!”

– “Pour éviter l’engorgement des bureaux de vote, notez les changements suivants : les électeurs de F. Hollande devront se rendre aux urnes dimanche 6 mai, ceux de N. Sarkozy le lundi 7 mai. Merci de faire suivre…”

– “Libe n’a rien compris avec son gros titre sur le “peuple de gauche” – c’est a la France entiere qu’il faut s’adresser et tres vite… Si le point d’equilibre de la France avait ete a gauche, Hollande aurait obtenu au moins 55%. Maintenant le PS soit fideliser ces nouvelles bonnes volontes”

 

And many more… That’s also without counting all the humouristic pictures that have been circulating. Thank you internet for making the french presidential elections much more fun and enjoyable!

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