Archive for December, 2009

December 29th, 2009

Sarkozy vs Camus: towards a communication & identity danger

by Laurent François


There’s been a huge debate in France as President Sarkozy wants to put Albert Camus in the Pantheon.
So first what’s the Pantheon? First & foremost a nationwide symbol, that aims to go far beyond political divides (at least on the paper):

“The absence of a verb in French emphasizes that the implicit notion of honour is given from the homeland to the great men. By burying its great men in the Panthéon, the Nation wants to acknowledge the honour it received from them. As such, interment here is severely restricted and is allowed only by a parliamentary act for “National Heroes”. Similar high honours exist in Les Invalides for historical military leaders such as Napoléon, Turenne and Vauban.”

So as it mustn’t be the decision of a single man but a kind of nation move.

Eric Ehrmann wrote a brilliant article in the Huffington post and asked my point of view. Here’s his conclusion:

Albert Camus is part of the French cultural patrimony and he belongs in the Pantheon. Sarkozy would be remiss if, as president, he does not redouble his efforts to put him there. As for the French left, they ought to realize it’s time to tone down the culture of complaint. The next time they gain power they can start a Twitter campaign to put Sartre in the Pantheon and see if it goes viral…

And guess what: to my mind, there are great & true statements…and some partially wrong.

Let’s go!

First, Eric is damn right concerning our left-wing: there’s a total mess. At the moment, it’s easier to tell why you’re more right-wing than explaining why you’re socialist. There’s also a kind of proudness to be an UMP member than a socialist one. And that’s an incredible change in our political landscape. Eric is (again) right when he writes that socialists may appear living in another century: the only common views are most of the time some kinds of stereotypes against capitalism. But here’s the big thing: Sarkozy is living now, and already engaged his campaign for 2012. Albert Camus is not an event that is out of the blue with his strategy.

Sarkozy is not a man who’s trying to embody the whole nation. His strategy has always been to draw a line between what’s his camp and who the opponents are. And obviously manages to always get a majority de facto. We’ve hardly had so arrogant ministers. It’s not a coincidence: Sarkozy always claimed a break-down. He wants Camus to be in his camp.

President Sarkozy always tried to make left-wing figures his. During his 2005 campaign, he used Blum & Jaurès to tentatively demonstrate why French needed to work more to earn more (travailler plus pour gagner plus). Sarkozy poached Eric Besson (former socialist), and tries to multiply commissions in which socialists are engaged. This overture is also a mean to unsettle opponents: what to say to someone using your own resources?

France is also experiencing a stupid debate, engaged by Sarkozy & Besson around our national identity. French nation is based on a “vivre ensemble”, on a common desire to achieve things together, whatever your skin color is or your origins are. It’s an inclusive model, very demanding but very rich. Instead of defining our nationality as an opposition against something, it’s a will. It’s the “and…and” approach instead of “or…or” one. But now the debate is around symbols, values, rituals. All that things that exclude. And you don’t have to be paranoid to see that Camus is another tactics. It’s utterly dangerous to list French identity around 10 or 20 bullet points. Because our nationality is not about them.

Sarkozy made it right: everybody’s discussing why Camus would be a left-wing person or not; if Camus would fit with Sarkozy positions. And that’s great for Sarkozy, but it’s a non-sense in this case. You don’t make dead people vote. Of course Camus chef d’oeuvre belongs to French; the only question is: why putting him now in Panthéon?

Camus did not want to enter French nation institutions after his death. He was buried in Loumarin, where he was born. He wanted to be away from Paris, and from its elites. Moreover, Camus wanted to rest in peace away from spotlights: his books will survive, anyway.

The debates that are now systematically rising when Sarkozy suggests anything are not a proof of the deep nature of French people for fighting or groaning. It’s an illustration that the nation is now very doubtful with its leader. And that if there’s no structured opposition, there’s nonetheless a strong frustration. And here’s the big danger.

December 22nd, 2009

Facebook Memology 2009: Me-content

by Laurent François

Citizens !

Facebook has just released its top Status Trends of 2009.

About the methodology:

“To generate the list, we started by looking at how many times each phrase with length from one-to-four words occurred in U.S. Facebook status updates, then we computed the rate at which each phrase occurred in 2009 compared to 2008. Using some data-mining methods detailed here, we analyzed important bursts in activity around words and series of words to find the key trends for the year. All personally identifiable information was removed from the status updates to conduct this analysis, and no one at Facebook read the individual status updates.”

It’s interesting to see that API get the first rank (and that means they are a major element of our personal walls), it opens impressive marketing paths. Health, entertaitnment, religion are also at stake. Nonetheless no indicator about politics or citizenship…

December 21st, 2009

My only prediction for 2010

by Laurent François


Joe asked to join our efforst for some interesting predictions for 2010. I usually don’t really like prediction but hey! you know how we are…

So here’s mine:

There’ll be more & more Social Media and content strategies at the hyper-local level; citizen consumers interested in their neighborhood are already keen to ask Google what they’ve seen in their preferred shop or street. There’ll be a greater “loop” between daily discoveries & online journey. Brand marketers will try to reach their consumers in this new interactive dimension

And I’m glad Matthew picked my opinion!

You can find 100+contributions right here. Here’s a summary by Joe Pulizzi:

    1. Video will be big in 2010
    2. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
    3. More companies will need to outsource content to expert publishers
    4. Quality content trumps frequent crappy content
    5. Don’t say it – more offline content in 2010???
December 20th, 2009

Social media magics with Homeless Mustard

by Laurent François


Opie & Anthony show brodcast this cover of Radiohead “Creep” famous song. It traveled all over the social web.

Here’s a quick summary:

“It’s demeaning and horrible and cruel and exploitative, although any of those words can generally be used to describe any segment of Opie and Anthony’s radio show as a whole. But sometimes good things come out of squicky things, and this clip is an odd moment of joy in an otherwise abhorrent publicity stunt. One of the contestants in this years upcoming “Homeless Shopping Spree,” a man known simply as “Mustard,” was given a guitar to play a song (he doesn’t own one, being homeless and all.) The man did a simple, bluesy-gruff cover of Radiohead’s “Creep,” and it’s been getting passed around since because it’s pretty amazing.”

The performance is now going viral, even in France, thanks to Gonzague.

This case demonstrates that the things that happen in the long-tail can be brought back to a wider coverage. It won’t change misery, poverty, but it’d give a nice fairy tale before Christmas’ eve.

December 17th, 2009

Social Media: What’s Going On? Presentation December 2009

by Laurent François


I update on a regular basis this presentation that aims to give an overview of what’s going on in social media. It’s fully shareable, please comment, add advice. You’ll find:

  • some hot trends about citizenship,
  • participation,
  • decision making process,
  • identity, real life,
  • amplification,
  • e-government,
  • PR & e-PR
  • reputation democracy

The last one traveled a lot, so as I am very pleased to diffuse it!

To follow me on Twitter : @lilzeon