Political social media sucks

In light of recent events, it might be a good ideas for future presidents to avoid Twitter at all costs.

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Matthew Walter '21

Political Twitter is one of the worst parts of the internet.

When I first decided to write this article, the riot at the Capitol had not yet occurred. Obviously, that event will have a big impact on politician’s use of social media for the foreseeable future.

In some perverse way, I guess that riot actually helps me and makes this article more relevant. Either that, or I’m just one of the countless stuck-up Gen Z-ers who thinks he can run the country better than current officeholders. Who knows?

Originally, this article was going to be about how President Trump misuses his Twitter and how President-Elect Biden should use some alternative form of communication. However, Trump’s Twitter no longer exists, and I feel like it would be rather redundant to tell the president to stop using something that he can no longer access.

With the reality of Trump’s second impeachment, I also feel that yet another “orange man bad” article is the last thing anybody wants to read.

Anyhoo, you (all three people who will eventually read this) didn’t click on this article for my Ted Talk. So, without further adieu…

Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” He was, of course, talking about people who share their political opinions on social media.

Whether it be the crazy, conservative uncle stereotype on Facebook or the know-it-all, neo-liberal millennial on Twitter, the fact remains that overly political people online are the worst kinds of people. Just as bad, are politicians, who are not only political but also out of touch.

These people then create an environment of toxicity. Whenever a politician tweets something out, his or her supporters will be quick to defend and praise it. Even quicker, however, are the hordes of people ready to hate and harrass.

Popular actor Danny DeVito shares his political opinion online. (twitter.com)

The extremely liberal nature of Twitter means that whenever any conservative politician speaks or tweets, he or she will be flooded with negative responses, and Democratic politicians will be flooded with support.

For example, I searched AOC on Twitter. The very first tweet that popped up supported her. However, I could not find a single tweet supporting Republican Congressman Ted Cruz. In fact, I could not even find a single tweet that referred to him with even a neutral stance. Every single one was negative.

Although Twitter is a liberal echo chamber, it was still Donald Trump’s platform of choice. Although nobody wants to hear differing political opinions at a place like the dinner table, liberals would seek out Trump’s tweets just to mock him.

Wondering why this was, I once again searched AOC. Looking back, many of the tweets I described as pro-AOC were in reality just anti-GOP. I then came to a revelation: Twitter is not a platform where people spread their political beliefs. It is instead a platform where people spread hate.

That’s why it was a perfect platform for Donald Trump. Supporters and haters alike could both agree that Trump used his Twitter mainly just to complain. So, it is somewhat fitting that basically everybody else used their Twitter to complain about him.

Now, after Trump’s ban from Twitter, it looks unlikely that any future president will follow his social media strategy. Although Twitter would be much more receptive to constant tweets from President-Elect Biden, the very nature of the platform means that a large amount of hate would still find some way to get spread.

Twitter is not a platform where people spread their political beliefs. It is instead a platform where people spread hate.”

So, if Twitter is not the answer for politicians, what is? The answer is simple really, and it was perfected back in 1920’s: Fireside chats.

Back in times that were seemingly as crummy as today (Great Depression, WWII), president Franklin Delano Roosevelt found an effective way to reach the American people. Throughout those hard times, Roosevelt would use his platform to inspire and encourage the hopeless people. Considering the seemingly unending string of bad events that have occurred over the past year, some encouragement and reassurance would be nice.

A revival of fireside chats could also lead to a more effective and efficient way to inform the American public. Normally, when a politician shares some sort of news story online, it is one that helps their partisan agenda. However, when news is coming straight from the horse’s mouth (the horse in this case being the president) it is much more trustworthy.

It can also help the people feel more involved in what goes on in Washington. Most people hate the idea of the lobbyist and the politician, and feel they can do nothing to influence legislation. Constant updates from the president can help keep the public in the know and feel some sort of involvement.

President Trump mainly used his now-defunct Twitter page to complain. (twitter.com)

The logistics of fireside chats also seem to work out nicely. More Americans regularly listen to podcasts (24%) or watch YouTube (73%) than use Twitter (22%). Reaching out to Americans on non-Twitter platforms also allows the message to reach members on both sides of the political spectrum, instead of the mostly liberal audience it would reach on Twitter.

Although there is only about a 0.5% chance fireside chats ever make a triumphant return and an even smaller chance that Twitter stops being a breeding ground of vitriol and idiocy…

Actually, there is no silver lining to any of this. Modern politics are awful, and social media only makes it worse. But what do I know. “I’m just one of the countless stuck-up Gen Z-ers who thinks he can run the country better than current officeholders.”