Friday, July 8, 2011

Clueless Aubry

Really, now: it was not even two weeks ago that Martine Aubry launched her manifesto on digital policy, but now here she is revealing herself to be totally clueless about the Internet:

"Facebook et Twitter, j'ai horreur de ça... C'est typique de cette société où chacun pense à son nombril... Et puis tous ces faux amis... Ce n'est pas mon truc d'expliquer mes états d'âme. La vie, c'est aussi être libre de regarder autour de soi..." (h/t Guy Birenbaum)
If only she had said something about Facebook's privacy issues or about Internet security--something that showed she had the slightest idea what she was talking about. And then, to make matters worse, she repeats the conventional wisdom of the "social media revolution":

Pour autant, Aubry promet qu'elle sait que les réseaux sociaux ont "pu être utiles, pendant les révolutions arabes, par exemple"
But she evidently hasn't been keeping up with the news:

Mais les choses se gâtent dans la phase II de la révolution. Là, le parti va l'emporter sur le portable. Très vite, "les réseaux verticaux vont reprendre le dessus sur les réseaux horizontaux", dit Alain Navarro, ancien chef du bureau de l'Agence France-Presse au Caire et l'un des journalistes français les plus pertinents sur le Proche-Orient.
Le tyran renversé, il faut aller aux élections, avoir un programme, des chefs, des candidats, des locaux, des journaux, etc. L'organisation reprend ses droits. Les vieilles structures de la militance, celles du parti traditionnel, du syndicat, bref les "réseaux verticaux", en jargon sociologique, retrouvent leur pertinence.
A president really should have a more catholic curiosity about the world we live in.


FrédéricLN said...

Hm. Curiosity. Likely a weak point of Mrs Aubry. Well, no one is perfect. The minimal prerequisites to be a decent Head of State are well over the maximal accomplishments of any human being.

But if you are no visionary, if yu do not feel great interest for the change in the world, you should care about having such people around you… I'm unsure it's Ms Aubry mindset.

Alex Price said...

This seems a remarkably harsh and tendentious take on Aubry’s comments. Obviously Facebook and Twitter have their uses for a politician, which Aubry recognizes, since she has accounts with both, but here she is just expressing her personal reaction to them, one that many people, including some who are anything but clueless about the internet, would agree with. Does everything a politician says have to be about policy? Had Aubry said something about privacy or security, as you suggest, what competence would she be displaying other than the ability to express the same banalities as everyone else? Her comments seem to me a pleasant departure from the one-dimensional discourse politicians typically emit. Criticizing her conventional take on social networks and the Arab spring seems unfair as well; the comment that you quote about “phase II” of the revolution, which is nothing but the elegant formulation of what commentators have been saying for months, doesn’t dispute the importance of those networks for “phase I” (indeed it explicitly acknowledges it), which is, presumably, what she is referring to (as an event now in the past, to be referred to in the passé composé).

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Cincinna said...

Someone who wants to be head of state of a great modern nation like France should have knowledge of the surrounding culture. Being a Luddite in the 21st c is pathetic.
Again, Aubry has shown how out of touch she and the whole lot of Socialists are with the "little people".
The arrogance of these ruling elites is astonishing.

And not only in France. Obama has stated multiple times that schools need more "internets".
I don't personally use Facebook or Twitter for privacy reasons. My husband and I prefer to stay in touch with family & friends in person, by phone, or e-mail. That is a personal choice. There are excesses in everything. As parents we need to supervise & control children's use.
Aubry is apparantly unaware that Facebook and Twitter are also great resources for cultural organizations like museums, non-profits and small businesses. To be so dismissive of what has become a reality in our culture is just dumb.

Alex Price said...

Romain Pigenel’s exegesis seems to me unfair and rather silly. If one is disposed to seeing Aubry as old-fashioned and out of touch with new technologies and the people who use them, so be it. But that she doesn’t like using Facebook and Twitter seems to me a pretty slender basis for such an indictment. Pigenel’s pedantic explanation of why Facebook is about so much more than mere navel-gazing is meant to demonstrate the first secretary’s fatal ignorance. But Aubry’s criticism is perfectly legitimate, even if it doesn't come from her own experience.

I read Aubry’s comments more as a statement about herself than about social network technology, which is just a foil here. She is saying that she’s modest, serious, and not trendy.

Anonymous said...

THe issue -as Pigenel must be well-aware due to his position within the PS -is that the well-learned article wasn't written by Aubry herself and that her statements made it sound as if she hadn't read what was signed in her name. She's a well-known luddite, which explains Pigenel's apparent harshness - when Le Lab was established, it didn't even have a computer and internet connection... (Le Lab was/is supposed to be the research lab for the PS.)
Le Mulot refers to Chirac, who hadn't heard of 'une souris' in the computer sense... in 1997.
HOllande and Royal seem to write their own tweets (Royal even attempted a twitinterview) and Montebourg both uses and enjoys social media.