Thursday, January 10, 2019

Will AOC win the internets?

Kara Swisher, NYTimes:
Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has done live conversations that include both cooking tips and policy pronouncements, has posted stories of her congressional experience the way others post vacation or holiday or food photos and has clapped back expertly in pithy tweets at whatever gets dished out at her by the right.

What she is doing is significant for politics, because of one key thing: She has made digital depictions of herself seem very analog. In other words, she is perfectly human online.

The ability to take your message and yourself directly to people is perhaps one of this era’s most important talents. In this, as much as she’d hate to admit it, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is following in the footsteps of President Trump.
In contrast:
What’s interesting about Mr. Trump’s digital efforts is that even though he is always online, he is not Extremely Online. Rather than fully engaging with the platforms and employing their nifty audio and video tools, he has stuck to text, using his own set of locutions and his own distinctive voice. While at first this made him seem, to many supporters at least, more authentic than the average politician, it is now making him look more and more like a giant cartoon bobblehead. The internet is not making him more of a person.

And while he spouts outward, turning into an online megaphone, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez listens, takes everything in and reacts. Both methods work. And she is the only one who can keep up with him online. The joint response by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer to Mr. Trump’s wall speech turned into a very funny mom-and-dad-sure-are-mad meme, while Senator Lindsey Graham looked like a feckless spinning top as he pinged from faux indignation at some of Mr. Trump’s acts to adulation.
A lot's been written about the internet and communication and politics and, in particular, about Twitter, especially since 45 has proven so devastatingly effective in his use of Twitter. I've not read much of that because, well, there's lots to read, and not much time. But this op-ed is hands-down the most interesting thing I've read in this general area.
It would be a mistake to dismiss their practices as just noise. Because, as Mr. Warzel noted correctly, they are controlling the narrative by doing this so effectively. “It’s agenda-setting,” he wrote, whether we’re talking about the wall (Mr. Trump) or taxing the rich (Ms. Ocasio-Cortez). “Constant content creation forces your opponent to respond to you.” It means you are creating the news.

While there is a danger in that, it’s probably the way it’s going to be from here on out, and those who can do it well are more likely to get the attention in this very dissonant world.

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