By: Christian Allison
Twitter, a social media platform started by Jack Dorsey in 2006 changed our everyday experience. With old ways of communication on the decline, a new way of messaging is emerging. Look back at your week. How many hours have you spent mindlessly scrolling through your timeline? This is the new medium for our political leaders to reach us. Why would the president do an interview on a traditional media news network, when he or she can reach the everyday person with the click of one button? A new way of reaching people has been developed, “Twitter and Facebook have become instrumental in organizing campaigns. They allow like-minded voters and activists to easily share news and information such as campaign events with each other” (Murse, 2019, para. 6). This messaging system can have its flaws and that should be acknowledged.
If our leaders only look to Twitter to govern and decide what decisions to make, that can put them in an information bubble. When you have an echo chamber of people who, like you, are telling you what to do, you will never see the real public opinion. There might be a concern regarding this way of thinking, “It is not the mental health of Twitter addicts that most concerns me, though; it is the well-being of the nation they collectively rule. To decision makers who spend most of their days ensconced in an elite bubble, Twitter can seem like a way out, a clear window into pure public opinion. In reality, it’s an extreme distortion” (Mounk, 2019, para. 4). It’s crazy to think that staying on Twitter all day can have mind altering effects. When you are on the platform all day it can change your world view as well as your opinions. When we look at things just from Twitter’s perspective everything can seem uncontrollably crazy. When we get a chance to get out of our own online worlds, we can see that things are not as bad as they seem..
Finally, to be my own devil’s advocate, lets look at another way that Twitter has been used to change our modern world. How much has Twitter grown in our modern-day world, “Obama’s first tweet came little more than a year after Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first tweet on March 21, 2006. In the 10 years since, Twitter has grown into a force that has bolstered grassroots conversations, disrupted the top-down nature of political leadership and thought, and given voice to groups long hidden on the political periphery” (Newkirk II, 2016, para. 2). Twitter can be good in certain scenarios, such as when we lift up voices that have not been heard or give a platform to people who need it. As of right now, according to Twitter.com, the official Black Lives Matter page has almost one million followers. It’s amazing that this page can spread good information to almost one million people in an instant. It is also good to raise minority voices so that everyone is loved and respected. In the end that is all we all want; to love, live and have peace ourselves.
II Newkirk, V. (2016, March 24). The American Idea in 140 Characters. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/twitter-politics-last-decade/475131/
Mounk, Y. (2019, May 05). The Problem Isn’t Twitter. It’s That You Care About Twitter. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/political-leaders-should-stop-caring-about-twitter/588004/
Murse, T. (2019, August 29). Social Media in Politics – Twitter and Facebook as Campaigns Tools. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-social-media-has-changed-politics-3367534