When future historians try to understand the observed in our era, the rapid collapse of the American liberal-democratic norms and institutions, they are obliged to focus on the growing role of Twitter.
I say this not just because of the fact that it is hard to imagine the conquest of this demagogue, a charlatan Donald trump so popular if he hadn’t had instant access to a worldwide audience via Twitter. This is important, but not critical. The same can be said about the army “propaganda bots”, which, according to Manju, Farhad (Farhad Manjoo), turn Twitter into “a terrible disaster for democracy.” It is also important, but there is something else.
Much more important is how Twitter accelerates and enhances pathological social trends among those who revolve in the world of politics, illuminates political issues and writes about politics. Twitter spoils the personality of politicians, apparatchiks, reporters, editors, columnists and analysts, destroying aprofessionally quality and destroying the best of what is in them, turning them into petty, vain, infantile, poselstvi, aggressive, vindictive, arrogant, judgmental, impulsive, and irresponsible people. For this reason, Twitter is a terrible phenomenon in our politics and in equal degree for journalism. For politics and journalism would be better if Twitter in the near future ceased to exist.
If it happened, would I Twitter? Of course! Twitter for me is the teletype of the XXI century, which are always “supplies” last, the most important news in real time; and the endless get-together and exchange gossip with colleagues in the media. In part, this is a means of promoting my work and interacting with readers and critics. If you use Twitter mainly to follow the lives of celebrities or communicate with friends, your experience is certainly very different from mine.
But news feed, fellowship, possibilities of public relations and contacts with readers are not independent components of the activities on Twitter. All this happens in a context that can be compared with the situation in the school cafeteria. Twitter is the biggest, the noisy school cafeteria in the history of mankind.
In the center of the “dining room” sitting by people — reporters, editors and experts who work in the most prestigious leading media in the country. Everyone else who is in the room, seek their approval and their attention. Among them — the trolls are right-wing, sitting behind the battered Desk in the corner. There are clever nerds who sweat develop state policies in universities and think tanks. There is a more simple journalists like me who write for a little less known magazines and websites.
At the same time throughout the endless huge “dining room” sitting everywhere many faceless people, each of which is present in the “dining room” know by their avatars on Twitter. These are the most active members of our audience. Someone they support, a child is being bullied and made fun of, and sometimes run up to the man at the table to “like” or “retweet” some kind of sarcastic “comments”, instantly elevating him above all others. In a moment the room comes a new crowd of people surrounding someone else at another table, heaping her offensive personal tweets in response to frequent rude accusations and personal threats.
But the most popular guy (which many hate, but with which all considered) — a President trump.
As in any school cafeteria, all that’s going on here, driven by a desperate need for attention and affirmation. The contents of the tweet can be anything. But the desire to write in Twitter is the same hidden momentum. He seems to be saying: “Look at me!”
Each time everything is different. And each time exactly the same.
For example, Wednesday night, user @realDonaldTrump in a tweet criticized Hillary Clinton for her statements made during the day. In minutes the message has gotten thousands of likes and retweets that probably caused a rare smile on the face of the President, who recently was at the center of many scandals. Journalist, sitting in a prominent seat at the popular table, quickly tweeted behind him a hilarious sarcastic comment. What 100 users responded with witty remarks, and several users sitting at the table Troll, fell (in 47-th time for the day) to “defective media” with accusations of “hypocrisy” and “bias”.
And there gushed a powerful stream of sarcastic comments that could read the millions of users of the app Tweetdeck, as in the “dining room” various groups have rushed to write the following offensive comment, the following textbook example of the fallacy attempts to discredit an opponent in the spirit “he is”, the next batch of stinging criticism, sneers at the idiocy of the President. Then one of the most popular in the “dining room” and causing the polarization of the masses (Hillary Clinton), mocking hostility of trump, published a tweet mocking the frivolous, using that same word misspellings (“covfefe”), which trump wrote (and then deleted) on Twitter the previous evening. BAM! In the blink of an eye the tweet of the candidate for President from the Democratic party for the 2016 elections has gathered more than half a million “likes” — on the background of approximately 92 thousand likes that got the tweet trump. And that’s saying something!
Or maybe it only tells who won in the “dining room” last night may 2017.
As is well known to all those who are chosen from schools alive school canteen in the mental, emotional, and intellectually — this is not the place where you want to be. In the same way as Twitter.
Twitter is a place where the pursuit of self-affirmation can make people working in politics and the media, to turn to those who, in their opinion, they want to see their colleagues and their audience. And this often means more than what they already are. So conservative, as a rule, will tend to become more conservative. The same applies to the supporters of trump, to those who are leftist, and those who, like me, are mostly liberal centrists. Over time almost all end up even more entrenched in their positions, and persuade them virtually impossible.
Twitter is a place where communication tools can significantly improve the ever-strong desire for speed in the news business. All the media need sensational news. Usually, the news cannot be considered sensational, it is not published in the media. But this can only happen after the validation, confirmation and editing. But today’s reporters and other journalists have the incentive and the means to obtain positive feedback on sensational news and enjoy professional honour by publishing unverified Twitter rumor or repost someone else’s unsubstantiated claims. And this contributes to the spread of conspiracy theories and the promotion of nihilistic meme fakenews#, meaning that the media in most cases are spreading fake news.
Twitter is a place where the desire to obtain immediate response undermines the already losing its importance the ideal of objectivity in the news. After all, journalists seeking in their published in the media works to honesty and balanced opinions, Twitter is constantly reacting to an event, do not hesitate even for a minute. A particularly striking example of this is the reaction of journalists to the statement of the trump on the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. As a result, those who criticize the media (and especially those who hold right-wing views) is continuously receiving a lot of evidence to support the claim about the pervasive ideological bias of the media.
In addition, Twitter is the place where, in General, reasonable all too often turn into the frenzied crowd. This phenomenon is a provocation of anger, hatred and resentment, called “outrage porn” (the desire to arouse readers ‘ indignation for the sake of increasing attendance — approx. ed.), found on the Internet (and especially Twitter) more and more often.
We could see it in classic form in the beginning of this week when the actress-comedian Kathy Griffin (Kathy Griffin) published his stupid and offensive picture, in which she, like the terrorists of ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in Russia — approx. ed.), holding in his hand something resembling the severed head of trump. After several hours it in the nines carried the indignant users of social networks, she posted a video in which he pleaded to forgive her, and her ten-year collaboration with CNN has been discontinued. And Twitter the rest of the week continued to convulse with indignation and resentment against those who have not expressed enough outrage.
This is not how to behave in public thinking and serious citizens of a democratic state.