The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

The Transformational Twitter User?

Dave Randall

Posted on July 15, 2017 19:41

1 user

Presidents and new media have a history. What will history say about Trump and social media?

With each stunning advance in technology, there's been the inevitable downside that accompanies our sparkling new conveniences. Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee put it best in their play, then the movie, Inherit the Wind, when their character, lawyer Henry Drummond, lamented that with the telephone, one lost the charm of distance, and with the aeroplane, the clouds smelled of gasoline and the birds lost their wonder. 

How do we go about describing how parts of our culture have been made more petty and more bellicose, by the quicksilver, 140 character means of communication we know as Twitter? In fact, all of social media has advanced way past the electronic-mail of the 1990s and disseminated into an addictive form of expression that spews praise, paranoia or hatred in almost equal quantities. Dangerous, when in the arsenal of the President of the United States.

President Trump's use of Twitter to bypass the "fake media," changes subjects, distracts, inflames, offends, and, yes, amuses. His Twitter missives have often been truculent and inaccurate, to put it mildly. Yet, the very media the President accuses of fakery, reports each tweet with the breathlessness of Usain Bolt after a 100 meter dash. It's been posited by one talking-head that his use of Twitter has been as transformative as any previous President's use of earlier media, in nascent forms. 

No. The unthinking may wax lyrical about Trump's tweets, but they're wrong. 

First of all, as long as their have been Presidents of the United States, they've had to contend with Newspapers. Some, like Richard Nixon, owed their early careers to the patronage of at least one paper, in his case the pre-Otis Chandler Los Angeles Times. Radio has been used by Presidents for 97 years. Broadcasting was a decade old before Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected, and took his message directly to the country through "Fireside chats." FDR was a master communicator before the term was coined. His charm and reassurance was a buoy to the country during depression and world war. Radio programmers today would call him "warm and friendly." His use of the medium: transformative.

Twenty years after radio brought the voice into homes and automobiles, Television offered pictures. Again, it was a decade into the life of a medium that a President mastered its use for positive impact. That President was John F. Kennedy. From his campaign to his election, to his live press conferences, speeches, and the coverage of his shocking death, the telegenic JFK was, via a box that flickered black and white images, transformative. 

Ronald Reagan used his bonhomme to achieve electoral landslides. He was and is known as the Great Communicator

Are we to surmise, then, that President Trump's late night / early morning missiles via iphone stands somehow with previous Presidents? Certainly not in any benign way. In this case, the message is in the method, and the method is almost always to blow something or someone up. Incendiary, yes, transformative, no.

Dave Randall

Posted on July 15, 2017 19:41

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: The Wrap

President Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning to rip the "ridiculous standard" of the first 100 days in office, writing,...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest