I don’t write about politics on this site — one can argue whether I should or not, but that’s a different conversation.
This is a post about social media. It’s actually a post on a smaller aspect of larger issues surrounding social media that I’ve been pondering, but whatever … call it a snapshot.
Despite keeping politics away from Dodger Thoughts, I do tweet about politics, and also retweet people and stories I find relevant. At different times, I wonder if I do it too much or not enough.
Today is one of those days, one of those many days when nothing in the world, wherever your allegiances stand, seems more important than what’s happening politically. I have not tweeted about it. Part of that is I feel there are other voices out there who are tweeting plenty, and part of it is a feeling of “Where do I begin?”
I don’t remotely claim that Twitter is the most consequential form of political expression around, but more often than not, it’s the best I’ve got. Sometimes, I’ve got nothing to offer besides a retweet. But other times, I think have something worthwhile to say.
And so I often wonder if silence on any given day is palatable. Does silence imply consent with the status quo? Or is there as much risk in tweeting so much that the words lose impact? What does it mean to take time off, and what does it mean to refuse to?
I’m certainly not shy about over-tweeting about the Dodgers, but that’s an apples-to-broccoli comparison.
Perhaps most of all, I feel strongly that we’d be better off if the political area of the Internet — and Twitter specifically — adopted the Dodger Thoughts guidelines. That’s not to say I don’t understand the urge to violate these or other social protocols when the stakes are so high. I’ve watched people I value the most tweet with profanity, hyperbole and sarcasm, watched them double down on arguments and more, watched them tweet in ways that I wouldn’t dare — and I’ve cheered them on. I get it. I’m not saying they aren’t right to do it. But at the same time, I wonder how breaking the rules impacts their message. It helps it bust through the morass, but even after it busts through, who’s ready to listen? Maybe it’s enough to rally the apathetic on your own side, and then worry about the opposition later.
This gets into a larger and complicated conversation about civility throughout society that I’m not ready to take on here. But there’s little doubt that on the Internet, we’ve lost so much of the ability to have a thoughtful debate between very strong-willed opponents across the political spectrum.
If a place that encouraged that kind of political conversation ever gained mass popularity, it might do wonders for us as a country. Once upon a time, back when the Dodger Thoughts comments section was vibrant and I think the best example of conversation on the Internet in any area, I actually pondered founding such a place. But that’s probably not realistic today.
So I’m left with picking my spots for political tweets. I’m mostly settled on that approach, but it doesn’t mean I don’t question it regularly.
Please note in the comments below that the guideline against discussing politics still applies. In particular, I would interpret that as a restriction on expressing a particular political view. But I welcome your thoughts on the issues raised here or on anything else within the site guidelines.