On nights like tonight, I can’t help but wonder how useful Twitter actually is. Yes, the person who has been singing this platform’s praises for nearly six years has doubts.
I just spent a solid 30 minutes scrolling through my feed, reading various reactions to tonight’s State of the Union address (disclaimer: I did not cover SOTU. I went to choir rehearsal, which is what I’ve done for the past couple years).
Here are some thoughts from one political analyst. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton is mad that the president didn’t mention D.C. rights in his speech. A snarky tweet hearkens back to last year’s GOP response, which featured Sen. Marco Rubio and a lot of water. Tweet after tweet after tweet about how good/bad/meh Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ response was. More thoughts from that same political analyst — oh wait, no, those are the same thoughts, but in case you missed it, he tweeted it again.
There’s just so much goddamn NOISE. And it’s hard to sift through and figure out which parts — if any of them at all — have any meaning.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love Twitter. People often joke that I must have a chip in my head that translates my thoughts directly into tweets. I think I’ve unconsciously started speaking in 140-character bits, because roommate Kaitie often quotes me on her own feed.
But is it possible that we’ve maybe reached critical mass when it comes to Twitter and political coverage? I admittedly follow mostly journalists and political types (and food trucks — glorious, glorious food trucks), and whenever anything remotely political happens, I feel like I’m being sucked into that bubble that I’ve tried to mostly avoid since I moved to (yup, I’m going to say it) this town nearly four years ago.
It could be my fault. I am the one who chooses to follow those folks, and I won’t unfollow them because of some weird, twisted version of Fear of Missing Out. And yes, this is all coming from a girl who livetweets romantic comedies for her own amusement and without shame.
Still, I honestly believe it’s something to think about. Folks are always telling me that they are simply trying to be professional on Twitter, and I think that’s great and admirable. But perhaps it’s also important to consider how useful you’re being, too.