"Selfie": the new essential weapon in politics

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Much is made of the persistent habit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take "selfies" with the various people he meets. Many are questioning this iconoclast practice, viewed as not suitable to the premiership; one only has to remember the comments after his visit in the Montreal subway after his election last October.

This reluctance to the practice of "selfie" recalls the questions that arose only a few years ago on the use of social media by politicians. Commentators in traditional media questioned whether the use of Facebook was compatible with the political function. Others questioned the presence of politicians on Twitter, arguing that their responsibilities would be neglected.

Times have changed and we now admire politicians or political organizations that master the use of social media. We grant them with a tremendous mobilization of power, a greater ability to reach young citizens, even so that we no longer conceive being in politics without mastering social media. During the last federal elections, in fall of 2015, the impact of posts and interactions has been studied more than ever. The winner of the fight on the social media sphere? The same as on the ballots.

Twitter recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, and we wonder today where are the politicians who are not frequent users of this network. It's the same for Facebook.

No "selfie", no dessert

Gone are the days when our leaders wanted large paintings of their own image. Almost as far as the time when people wore a campaign button, picturing the candidate face in black and white.

Taking "selfie" with a citizen is all benefit because it automatically creates a mini-media for this politician. The picture will go around: with family, with friends, in social media. It will generate discussions. The recipient will share his impressions – generally positives – of this politician.

When the politician publishes a "selfie" on his own account, he takes us into his privacy. It transfers us a dose of positive emotion. It also reminds us that the politician descends from humans.

It will certainly take some time before we stop pretending that taking "selfie" is the prerogative of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Minister Mélanie Joly. The cartoon is still funny, but a brief visit on social media accounts of politicians from all over the political spectrum shows that the practice is much more widespread than many pretend.

 

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