WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 24: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) questions Postmaster General Louis … [+]
Before he took office in January 2017, President-elect Donald Trump was criticized for his “overuse” of Twitter. During his nearly four-year tenure, the president only used the social media platform as a broadcasting tool, which at the time resulted in him being called out for spreading misinformation and even untruths.
However, President Trump isn’t the only politician who may have relied a little too much on Twitter. Today, almost every elected official spends some time tweeting, but in many cases it has only helped highlight how deep the political divide is in the United States.
Just this week, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) was in two separate spats after posting on the microblogging platform. This started after she called and tweeted her Republican counterparts from her @AOC account, “What these Conservative Senators don’t seem to understand is that I actually had a physically difficult job in the working class with no good health care in adult life. I bring this work ethic to Congress and my ward. They sit on leather chairs all day. “
She added, “Republicans love to poke fun at the fact that I used to be a waitress, but we all know if they ever had to do a double they’d be the ones to cry in the walk-in fridge halfway through first shift bc someone yelled at them for bringing seltzer when they wanted to sparkle “
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s critics responded – and that included those who actually had similar jobs in their careers.
Kasey Lovett (@lovett_kasey), press officer for HUD secretary Dr. Ben Carson, wrote, “This is wrong. I was a waitress in high school and college for over 5 years. I’m Republican and have cried in walk-in refrigerators just like you. The difference between us? I don’t expect the government takes care of me. I make my own money and take care of myself. “
The New York Congresswoman was also in an argument with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) after another tweeted: “Black, black-owned companies were largely barred from access to PPP credit, but right-wing disinfo PV needed one half a million in public money while direct federal aid is being deciphered as “radical socialism”. Republicanism in a nutshell. “
Senator Rubio (@marcorubio) replied to this tweet: “Research and development collaboration has helped save the jobs of 55 million Americans through PPP
Work more, tweet less and one day you too can make a difference “
Of course, a firestorm practically broke out and the politicians’ supporters reacted – and the support or criticism seemed to follow the party lines, practically ensuring that a time of healing is likely not in sight. While it’s not new for politicians these days to so openly despise and despise their counterparts across the aisle, it seems that technology has made it all the easier for the poison to get out.
“Technology has a huge impact on the way people work,” said Josh Crandall, technology industry analyst at Netpop Research.
“In the corporate world, technology has been used to streamline the organizational structure and speed up execution,” added Crandall. “E-mail and other cloud technologies such as Office 365 and Google Workspace have made it possible for every employee to express their opinion and present ideas in a company.”
In the corporate world, no matter how good or bad the idea, employees could get this message across across the company.
“The executives are no longer protected by the middle management gatekeepers,” said Crandall. “While flattening the business can accelerate the innovation process, technology has also made it much easier for younger employees to bypass their managers and share their thoughts. This newfound force has changed the way ideas are edited, polished, and often improved upon , disturbed from a wider distribution and often leads to unnecessary friction and distraction. “
Similarly, social media – Twitter in particular – has made it possible for everyone, including politicians and other influencers, to communicate with their audiences. And that may not be the best.
“Politicians have the opportunity to tweet what they are thinking at any time of the day or night,” said Crandall. “You no longer have to work with communications directors to edit a position, massage a message, or set up press interviews. Politicians and influencers have a direct connection, and the connection is direct, immediate and powerful.”
Widen the gap
Given Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s recent contributions and the reaction, it is clear that so much direct interaction in public spaces is not helpful.
“While social media isn’t just responsible for exacerbating our political divisions, it has definitely made things worse than it would have been without them,” warned Greg Sterling, vice president of Marketing Insights at Uberall.
“It’s a lot easier to throw out verbal abuse in a tweet than it is over the phone, in print, or in person,” Sterling added. “Social media shouldn’t be scapegoated, but we should also recognize, if we can call it that, the disruptive and destructive role it has played in our national political discourse.”
However, it is unlikely that politicians will end Twitter anytime soon.
“Unfortunately, politicians are human too, and like all of us, they are driven by uncertainty, ego and fear,” noted Crandall.
“Without the traditional safety net of handlers getting more detached to edit and formulate an opinion before it goes public, politicians today tweet and share what they think right now,” he added. “The result is often emotionally charged, personal attacks on the opposition, which tend to spark a reaction from both sides to an issue discussed online. This only creates more friction and discomfort between politicians and has a negative impact on their ability to work on a collaborative basis Opportunity to serve the people and solve our nation’s problems. “