War in the Social Media Age

War in the Social Media Age

There’s a lot to regret about the Iraq War. But the one thing I’m eternally grateful for is that the Iraq War began before the social media age.

Let’s just say if the Russian invasion of Ukraine is any indication, war in the social media age is one gigantic shit-show.

People are losing their ever-lovin’ minds, you guys.

It’s like a never-ending Two Minutes of Hate with a “🇺🇦” thrown in for good measure.

I shudder to think how bad the war in Iraq would’ve been if Twitter existed nineteen years ago.

If this is how insane people get over a war America isn’t even fighting, holy mackerel the invasion of Iraq would’ve caused a thermonuclear-sized Blue Check meltdown.

I can’t say the Twitter response to the war in Ukraine comes as a shock.

Politics in the social media age has turned to crap. And we all know how a pandemic made social media a virtual loony bin. So why would war in the social media age be any different?

Speaking of which, on Saturday, Jesse Kelly made this astute observation on Twitter:

Ukraine is quickly becoming like COVID was in the very beginning in that you can see it destroy people’s minds in real time.

You can tell this is happening because they get angry with you if you don’t match their emotional state. Just like the initial covid panic.

I really am fascinated by this. I’m sure some smart head doctor can tell me what this is and why some people do it.

Why do some people allow themselves to be so consumed by the news cycle, they’ll actually ostracize friends and family over it? I think it’s so bizarre.

Twitter is not the place to go for a measured, reasonable exchange of ideas. It never was.

But in wartime, the lunatics that inhabit Twitter get extra crazy.

And the funny thing is, the people who are cranking the nuttiness over Ukraine to Spinal Tap Eleventy-zillion aren’t just random nobody’s with seven followers. It’s coming from blue-check journalists and pundits, not to mention elected members of Congress.

In short, the same people who went insane over COVID are going insane over war in Ukraine.

The social media age has turned far too many Americans into neurotic, easily panicked, narcissistic sheep.

They’re like a school of terrified fish moving in one mass every time a bigger fish swims by.

As Jesse Kelly put it in a later tweet, “People are so consumed by the news cycle, they cannot process information at a level above a dog.”

Saturday on Twitter, writer Spencer Klavan offered “Five Tips for Making the Crisis in Ukraine About You” that hilariously captures war in the social media age. It is so perfect, I didn’t know whether to howl with laughter or weep for the state of our union.

I’ve transcribed Klavan’s thread for all of you who are avoiding Twitter right now:

Many people are concerned to discover a major crisis that does not easily conform to the prior assumptions of self-absorbed white liberals. Here’s five easy strategies for getting yourself, and your ideological preoccupations, back to the center of attention

1. Focus on the Ways This Proves You Were Right All Along: Remember that absolutely any development, even those in a far-flung country with a unique history of its own, can be shoehorned into your pre-existing account of Who is Good and Who is Bad.

2. Imagine What You Would Do if You Were There: Obviously, if you were in Ukraine, you would be on the good side, fighting for the good things. Make sure to project absolute confidence about that to others.

3. Re-Affirm that the World is Exactly As You Have Been Taught to Imagine it: Remember that from your vantage point on social media as a regular consumer of American news, your picture of the world is the one which most conforms with reality.

4. Reduce All Relevant Actors and Nations to Avatars in your Personal LARP: Things are easier to deal with when you recast all heads of state and national organizations as meeples in your own psychodramatic game of imaginary Risk

5. Punish Ideological Impurity: Even as hard realities are plummeting down upon the flimsy stage set where you entertain yourself with online firewars, you can still accuse your countrymen of being The Problem. Now is not the time to suddenly start seeking unity at home.

 (Probably shouldn’t have restricted this thread just to affluent white liberals tbh… “based Russia” Putin LARPers are also a good audience for these guidelines. It’s a fun game that can be played by all!)

Twitter is nothing more than mindless entertainment. It isn’t set up for anything else.

What’s more, Twitter is not in any way a reflection of real life.

The people who are considered “influencers” on Twitter have got to be some of the most ignorant, ill-informed people on the planet.

And yet far too many American “journalists” use Twitter as a source for “news.”

Cable news outfits are bursting at the seams with “contributors” whose only “expertise” is in attracting a large Twitter following and getting oodles of retweets for their ignorant takes.

Throw the world into war, and social media was never going to rise to the occasion.

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5 thoughts on “War in the Social Media Age

  • February 28, 2022 at 1:08 pm
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    Spot on as always Dianny. I would add “useless” to your description of Twitter Influencers.

  • February 28, 2022 at 9:26 pm
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    Thanks for putting things into perspective!

  • March 1, 2022 at 12:26 pm
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    …avoiding Twitter right now??? I avoid ALL social media always and forever, never had anything to do with it or use for it, never will.

  • March 3, 2022 at 2:35 am
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    “…social media was never going to rise to the occasion.”

    You wrote it. It’s patently true. And apparent for others to see

    ..

  • March 3, 2022 at 11:35 am
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    That guy in the picture. That’s that Russian priest, ain’t it? Rasputin or something? I thought he dead.

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