Political interviews: the urgent need to move to Social TV


Yesterday evening, the French President, François Hollande, appeared on France 2 to explain and share his vision after 10 months of mandate. A highly expected event, but in the end, a very traditional and conventional format.

One journalist, no audience onsite, 1 hour and a half long, “L’entretien” gave us the impression that we were back in the 60s, when De Gaulle was addressing the French people… This almost confidential setting gave the impression that viewers were bound to silence and be passive observers of a show that they could not influence.

Behind the scene however, people engaged on Twitter quite massively. Obviously both the ruling party (the Parti socialiste) and the opposition (the UMP) prepared their teams for a heavy Live Tweeting exercise. As a matter of fact, hashtags to use during the show were displayed on big panels in each headquarter to ensure a good spread of the word: #AvecHollande on the socialist side, #StopHollande or #SansHollande on the opposition side.

Vigiglobe analysis shows that more than 105,000 tweets were exchanged during the two hours span of the show, meaning an average of at least 20 tweets per second. Our infographic below also indicates the high level of engagement of Twitterers during the show, with an average of 4 tweets per user. Another example of the increasing use of Twitter in France to comment and interact on Politics.

The purpose of this post is not to analyse the performance of the French President in detail during his TV intervention. Our infographic summarizes the main conclusions that one can draw from our coverage of the show:

  • Negative comments clearly outnumbered positive ones,
  • Main topics discussed and relayed by twitterers included amongst others “growth” and the current economic “crisis”, Hollande’s proposal to simplify red tape for businesses, the “unemployment” issue, the “75%” tax for CEOs earning more than 1 million euros per year and the “gay marriage” legislation.

Moreover, 7.6m TV viewers watched the event yesterday. Imagine what this would generate if a TV channel like France 2 was to implement a real Social TV experience for its audience?

Instead of having a journalist asking questions that sometimes do not entirely correspond to people’s expectations, we could curate and broadcast in real time questions from Twitterers and feedback from “fact-checkers” in real-time. This would open the door to new types of interactions between a politician and the citizens. It would create a new form of democratic experience.

Comments and reactions, welcome!