New “columnists”: this is how the “influencers” who talk about politics grow | 23rd general elections | Spain



says Anugpost, which is the nickname of Juan Hernandez, a 23-year-old from the Canary Islands who comments on political news on Twitch every afternoon, often while eating. Hundreds see him, talk to them and live with them. “My chat is left-wing political, but I know that about 30% of them are exactly the opposite and come to hear arguments opposite to the debate,” he explained to EL PAÍS.

Anuj is just one example of the trend in between influencers: talk about politics. Swampy terrain such as public debate is being added more and more to the usual network problems. Every day, a few more content creators on YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch post social and political viewpoints in different colors. They’re a heterogeneous mix with a bit of the four traditional telecoms trades: columnists, talk-show hosts, comedians and nightly radio hosts. They stand alone in front of the camera and give their opinion: some are doing more activity, others are trying to laugh and still others are talking as if they are having a beer. They know their words carry weight in their communities, even if it can be difficult to measure how much. Its success is another example of the disintegration of audiences that social networks have brought on.

Isaac Parejo, 36, better known as Infovlogger, was one of the first to open a YouTube channel to talk about politics. Not long ago, in 2017: “I was always told I was the first,” he says over the phone. Then the referee Mariano Rajoy came out against bubble Podemos and the media system, ”he adds. He decided to focus on defending conservative theses: “People come to YouTube to find what they cannot find on TV,” he explains. “They come to my channel to listen to things that the commentator does not say, to look for a means Information not found in the media.

It is not surprising that politics has entered the world relatively recently influencers. Big stars flow And YouTube, which started earlier, is politically sterile. They rarely think about thorny or topical issues. His success is elsewhere: “Neither Ibai, Auron, IlloJuan, TheGrefg or ElRubius have declared themselves in politics,” says Antonio Quarteiro, a researcher at the University of Malaga. “It’s curious because one of the characteristics of content creators is the full exposure of their privacy. There is constant talk about issues of sex or, say, how much they earn, but hardly anything about politics,” he adds.

these influencers Politicians have slightly different definitions of their work, but almost all agree that their work is in opposition to traditional media. Vaco Diaz, 30, is a comedian and streamer who previously worked in other media. Diaz finds this quality essential in his channel: “People don’t come often looking for my opinion, but they flee traditional media,” he says. “I’ve worked in both worlds and television basically does so much because everything seems so planned, under control, that no line can be seen. On the other hand, people on the Internet tend to learn as they go. I’m not going to pretend I knew that.” This will happen, and that I knew a lot about it. Seeing seams on the Internet is a sign of honesty and reality, ”he adds.

Are they more columnists or followers of Tertelli?

This natural separation from television makes it difficult to christen these new opinion-makers as, say, the commentators: “It is inevitable that in their ability to describe ideas or opinions they can have the same effect as the commentators, but there is a different element,” he says. Juan Francisco Gutierrez Lozano, Professor at the University of Malaga. The next audience is usually more loyal to their characters, who they are fandom It’s clearer. There are commentators that set trends, but it’s direct communication that makes streamers More persuasive or consistent, perhaps more “impact”. The profile will be more similar, save for spacing, to that of opinion columnists or Monologues for political opinion.

Carla Galeote downloaded TikTok because she couldn’t go to 8-M in 2020, days before being locked up due to the Covid pandemic. A few days later, he posted a video about freedom of expression. Since then, she’s become one of that network’s leading feminist voices: “I’m actively engaged,” says Galliot, 22, and the law student. He wants to be clear that he doesn’t know or aspire to be a journalist, but also that it’s a difficult job: “It has its good and bad points. It has many implications and it’s not always pretty. There’s a lot of violence and you have to know how to keep your sanity. It comes together that I’m a woman, and I Very young and feminists, which seems to be the thing that part of society hates the most: left-wing women raising their voices and doing politics, something reserved for men.

Perhaps for this reason, or because of the possible expiration of his work on networks, Galeote does not see a future for his work on TikTok: “Yes, we are like social gatherings, but not because I gave it to me, but because some people decided to give it to me. But it is a role that will never pass to means Mainstream media. We are a lot of young people expressing their opinions in the networks and very few, if not any, go to the media. We had to create our space because the media did not leave space for the youth. They leave us in the networks. I would like to convey to the media ” Galliot explains.

His videos have hundreds of thousands or millions of views. Everyone has their own style, but it’s hard to pinpoint their influence. “These profiles address topics or approaches that interest young people that traditional media does not, like video games or phenomena like La Velada de Ibai,” says Quarteiro, adding a few new features that most of them contribute: “the icons they use , natural and close language, constant use of memes, aesthetics playerThey are not afraid of being wrong, and are constantly reforming, backtracking, or changing their minds. And their fans don’t punish them for that. Also, as home-only content creators, they are not tied down to ideological issues as they are in traditional media.”

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But are they right-wing?

One of the biggest debates since the municipal elections is whether the influence of the Internet on young people has made them more conservative. It’s impossible to know for sure, especially when internet culture is so prevalent among young people. Once inside the Internet’s political bubble, the explanation becomes more complicated. Not only because the voices are so diverse and disparate, but also because they create their own symbols that escape the dynamics of traditional journalism.

“It is difficult to say whether there are more conservatives in general progress “But I would say it’s a matter of direction,” says Anugpost. It pioneered progressive discourse and reached a large audience that wanted to break away from the old dynamics. Now that is settled punk The opposite happens: these developments are protested. The Internet experiences polarization as a phenomenon of personal enrichment. This means that creators will tend to adapt speeches and pursue certain ideas if they see that they can gain benefits,” he adds.

His idea that internet dynamics favor debate is not new, but when applied to politics it makes it even clearer: “The discourse becomes more advanced than in other environments and the battle of ideas becomes more difficult. Since 2018, anti-feminist rhetoric has led many people towards liberalism, And once they arrived, many turned to retro streamers Outside of politics, they saw these ideas reflected, and ended up accepting them: taxation is theft, feminism is inequality, voting is useless, forced mediocrity and the delusional use of science as a political justification. This profile meets many people who have been trained online as a result of English content getting here and being duplicated, creating a new profile that didn’t exist before.”

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This perception of the Internet as something right is above all, according to Anuj, a response to what came before. Because on the Internet it works better with the flow. It is where new audiences are found and where you can find a place to grow. When I started Infovlogger, the bubble Podemos opened up a space for defending opposing ideas. Now that space is full: “Now there is more YouTubers And streamers My right but only because of the lack of options. It’s not that we’re doing extraordinary, that too, but people are coming to YouTube to find what they can’t find on TV,” he says.

Galeote, younger and on TikTok, sees it differently: “From the left it is said that one of the mistakes of the far-right victory is how it is carried out on social networks. I have the opposite opinion: I do not think there is more presence of the right-wingers. In favor of rights is better than right-wing rhetoric. Networks are more progressive. There are a lot of misogynistic far-right men who create content and have a great speaker, but I think it’s four compared to feminists,” she explains.

Unlike the traditional system, where the media kept their editorial position away from political waves, the Internet has the flexibility to change with the wind. There will be those today who see the right winning, but that victory may only be periodic, or even not. Meanwhile, detachment streamersAnd YouTubers And tiktokers As opinion makers, as before from other traditional platforms, this is undeniable: “Little by little, these creators are becoming the opinion leaders of new generations,” says Quartero. He adds, “We know that the types of opinion in the press or the general media are not consumed by young people, so that there is space for the critical thinking of some traditional ‘intellectuals’ in journalism and media in politics, sports, literature, or life occupied by personal files.”

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