Politics belong on Twitter

Politics belong on Twitter

CW / Kylie Cowden

The rise of Twitter as a nexus between high-profile political and cultural figures and common people and its use as a platform for communication of specifically political material is unmatched – and should by all means continue.

One of the most clear examples of how important Twitter can be is our recent presidential election. For two long years leading up to November, Twitter was stocked with campaign analyses, political commentary from every direction and the candidates themselves. The latter is what makes Twitter so important. With a direct line of communication between the candidates and their supporters, it became clear how Twitter could be used to promote a platform. Specifically for President Trump, which he used and still uses to act almost offensively against other large media outlets. While I have many gripes concerning the current president, I do appreciate him disseminating information through Twitter.

It has become a popular consensus among the political and ideological left to use Trump’s usage of Twitter almost as a way to demean and delegitimize the role and respect of the presidency, but I strongly disagree with this thinking. While Trump is not considered a progressive, he has made politics and the controversy of politics readily accessible, which in some ways is actually progressive. As citizens, we gain direct insight into the presidency, whether we agree with him or not. Additionally, from Trump’s tweets come waves of reaction, criticism, opposition and support. A political discussion is sure to follow after President Trump tweets, and as a result, the exchange of ideas eventually ensues.

Because of how easily political fervor can be spread on Twitter, major news stations cover tweets, and in a way use political commentary to gage a reaction. There have been countless times I have seen news headlines with the words “Twitter” or “tweet” in them, and it has prompted me to figure out how this social media news cycle operates. It has come to a point that what happens on Twitter becomes headlines on news stations, instead of news making its way into tweets. Major news organizations now rely heavily on politicians to tweet their thoughts so that it can be used as a reference for political commentary.

Additionally, in President Trump’s case, his usage of Twitter has become a fact checker in itself. With archives of tweets available to anyone, it has become increasingly popular for people to find Trump’s tweets from years ago that contradict his current thoughts via Twitter. For example, in August of 2013, Trump tweeted, “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long term conflict? Obama needs Congressional approval,” which directly contradicts his actions on April 6. Trump’s tweets – those that are recent and archived – have acted like an easy radar to detect hypocrisy. So while many complain that it is immature for Trump to use Twitter to circulate his thoughts and opinions, at the same time it is essential that he does. The public does a superb job fact checking and pointing out flaws in tweets; the more politicians – from any political affiliation – that use Twitter to propagate political thought, the more accountability the political elite will have to the general public.

The raw intel the general public receives from the fingertips of a slew of politicians is essential in determining the credibility, dependability and reliability of lawmakers, our President and any other politicians. Twitter is imperative to our heated political landscape, and rightly so. Instead of criticizing the influx of political tweets, appreciate how important Twitter is in exercising our First Amendment rights. 

Zach Boros is a freshman majoring in psychology. His column runs biweekly.

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