"The election of Donald J. Trump is perhaps the starkest illustration yet that across the planet, social networks are helping to fundamentally rewire human society,” writes The Grey Lady. "With billions of people glued to Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, Instagram, Twitter, Weibo and other popular services, social media has become an increasingly powerful cultural and political force."
Then it quotes an "expert" saying “If it wasn’t for social media, I don’t see Trump winning.”
While all this conjures up imagines of opiate-addicted, undereducated (white) out-of-work steel workers across the Rust Belt hovering over Twitter to see what amusingly racist, misogynistic, xenophobic message the pending leader of the free world penned during the campaign, I would argue that the ONLY reason these tweets reached critical mass is because the mainstream media made them go viral.
Every time that nutcase upchucked something on Twitter, the press fell all over themselves trying to be first to report it, so millions of people who did not and do not follow Not-My-President saw what they might never have otherwise seen or heard about.
While it can be argued that social media helped drive the Green Revolution in Iran and the Arab Spring in the Middle East and North Africa — where governments would have shot (or more locally, beheaded) any editors who dared to amplify social posts in print or on TV — I have a very hard time thinking that social media put that scum in the White House.
Mainly because I don't think that his base is that adept at following what might be required to see those kinds of posts (regardless of claims that his following was “uge"!).
What social media did do (mostly because it was routinely picked up by the mainstream press) was allow Mr. Grab Your Crotch to promote his campaign for a fraction of the cost that Hillary Clinton and her team of "experts" spent.
While the postmortem of how the Clinton media team managed to push her message to everyone BUT the folks who eventually put someone else in the White House has yet to be fully written, it is worth wondering how the amateurs on Fifth Avenue beat the all-stars in Chappaqua.
It’s really hard to believe that the consultants Pumpkin Head hired were the only pollsters in the land to pick up on the discontent that was so obvious that someone like Michael Moore could see it.
Was the failure to elect Hillary a repudiation of all things Madison Avenue, from data-driven media buying to choice of creative messaging? It wasn't as if Hillary had assembled a team of rank amateurs. They actually started right after she lost to Obama and probably represented the best money could buy. They had access to social media, and I expect spent a fair amount on it.
Before we give the Idiot-Elect any more credit, let's make sure we are a little more educated about what worked and what didn't.
And I suspect it has less to do with Twitter than we think now.