Disclaimer, I could be wrong with this, but, let’s look at the current ‘war’ between Twitter and President Trump.
Let us look at history first. When the social media craze started there were several platforms. Facebook rose to the top very quickly and left in the dust bin were the majority of the rest. The ones that weren’t, were purchased by big tech, YouTube, Instagram, etc. some others took off, as Facebook became Mombook and the younger generations moved to other platforms to escape parental view.
Notice I didn’t even list Twitter? During all this mega growth Twitter was relegated to a newsfeed at best, and even that wasn’t the first choice for the majority. Twitter was shrinking with less usage, not just shrinking it was circling, and trying to find anything to be relevant.
Then came the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, and the one candidate who had been on Reality TV and grasped social media. Donald J. Trump, ‘The Donald’.
We may never know if it was him, or his campaign staff and advisors, but they embraced social media to get their word out. The majority of media outlets, having a majority of younger Liberal Arts majors using opinion instead of journalism in the vast majority of their reporting, was not giving fair coverage to anything considered center or right on the political spectrum. If anything, they denigrate all things considered to the right politically. Not just Right Wing politics, but anything to the right on the spectrum of their views.
Now enter Donald Trump, Republican candidate for President of the United States. Initially, everyone thought it was a joke, a billionaire construction magnet, who had a reality TV show and beautiful immigrant model second wife on his arm wasn’t here to actually run for President. He had actually supported mostly Democrats in the past. This can’t be real. Most, if not all, media outlets dismissed him.
So Donald Trump, historically was a successful billionaire, sure, his distractors will speak of his father’s wealth, and that he was given a million dollars, or more, to start. Others will talk of the bankruptcies for some of his ventures. But, when the rubber met the road, his construction firms built high rises, towers and other major construction projects around the world. And he took what ever monies he started with and became a multi-billionaire, more flamboyant than some, but still a billionaire. That is successful in business.
Now most people that are successful CEOs of companies, delegate. They receive updates in snippets, and only dive in to detail when they need to. They give most updates to others in short and sweet orders and statements. They don’t have time for long drawn out explanations or instructions. They are all pretty much self-centered and borderline narcissists, because their world does actually revolve around them, they are the boss.
Again, was it him, or his staff, that pushed him towards social media, but from a business perspective, Twitter seemed to meet Trumps needs. Short, to the point, statements on policy, response, and in my opinion, unneeded snipes. He used it effectively, and some say it is one of the main reasons he won in 2016.
Now, having covered a little of the history, the question arises, would Twitter have made it had Donald Trump not made it his go to platform for communications and the Bully Pulpit?
No, at least not in its current form or relevance. Twitter was an ‘also ran’ on the social media scale and diminishing with each passing day. Analysts were talking about who would buy them and put them out of their misery. Donald Trump shows up, wins an election, and uses their platform, and relevance is realized. Arguably for the first time, Twitter became relevant.
Flash forward to 2020, the majority of media is further left wing, political analysts have talked about how Donald Trump maximized social media in 2016 and that it has to stop, after all, everything to the right of their views is wrong, fake, can not be true. So all major social media platforms started censoring anything considered to the right of their views. ‘Cancel Culture’ was used against all non-correct views. Oh they started with what seemed to be the more radical views of purported white supremacists so that people would agree with the censorship. But they have continued to expand to everyone and anyone that uses there platform to disseminate ideas or information. Some call it Facebook Jail.
Not to be left out of the fray on political correctness, Twitter decided to join in, starting with eliminating the little check box which was originally only meant to identify an actual account as opposed to a poser using a similar named account. Then they started banning individuals as well. But how do you ban the President of the United States? You can’t without major backlash. So as the rest of social media pushes content down based on political leanings, making it almost impossible to see anything remotely to the right of their views through ‘algorithms’ which makes it sound scientific or fair. Twitter really couldn’t, their platform was a stream from an individual or organization, and other than remove the account how could they stop viewpoints that were to the right of theirs?
Enter 2020, Twitter has it solved, they will flag all content they deem right of their viewpoints as false or fake or inaccurate. And they flagged Donald Trumps tweets saying that his posts supported and encouraged violence when it was actually about the violence, and how the escalation wouldn’t be good.
Donald Trump, rightfully so, was upset, and started looking for solutions to the free speech censorship that social media was enacting against any view to the right of their increasingly further left views. The world has changed and social media is the village square soapbox, you shouldn’t be able to censor free speech.
There was a movie in 1995 called The American President, where the President in the movie is portrayed by Democrat actor Michael Douglas. He has a speech in the movie where he states:
“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.
Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.”
We as a people, as humankind, shouldn’t want censorship of anyone, no matter how disgusting you find them or their views, because censorship of any is censorship of all.
Twitter, and most social media, is exercising censorship. More importantly, Twitter is exercising censorship of the current President of the United States because he happens to have views that are to the right of their views. Is Twitter cutting their own throat?
If the majority of the media and social media is against Donald Trump, and they get their way, and stop his re-election in 2020, isn’t Twitter eventually doomed? Either with the 2020 election, or after 2024, Twitter will become less relevant, barring some other active individual that all of the media follows.
Right now Twitter has relevance directly related to Donald Trump, once Donald Trump is out of the spotlight, Twitter relevance will start to circle like it was before.