As Twitter Goes, So Goes The Country

25 Apr

I know this blog thing has been hit or miss… if you can call a blog that has few hits and isn’t missed by anybody that… lately but once again I’ve simply lost sight of where I wanted to go with it.  I blame it on Twitter of course.  Everybody blames everything on Twitter. And Facebook, but I don’t express my opinions on Facebook.  Whatever, it’s time to get off the Social Networking as a means to political ends meme and get back on track yet again and see what I can do about staying there this time, the “track” being one of opposition the corporate takeover of the United Stats and the degeneration of the country into just another failed quasi-fascist feudal state. 

The problem with that is that the potential social networking had for being perhaps the greatest tool for societal advancement in history… at least before the Wall Street barons sent the dogs out to get all the mainstream sheep herded back together in their individual little groups and gaggles and marginalize or even demonize those who still cling to the tattered shreds of individuality and free thought that caused them to be social outliers in the first place… has pretty much been negated by not only the mindless bickering and fighting between factions but the just as mindless bickering and infighting between people who are supposedly part of the same faction and therefore on the same “side”.

It’s not easy being a person without a party or even any real ideology to subscribe to in a system that practically DEMANDS one be a part of some group, clique or cult.  This is what happens when we are so busy arguing among ourselves about which group we should or shouldn’t belong to we allow our supposed public servants to become our rulers and abdicate our responsibility for governing ourselves to the elites that… like turds… always manage to float to the top in any society when the people get fat and lazy.

The tendency of modern Americans to band together in easily manipulated little herds is perhaps nowhere more apparent than on Twitter.  Not only is Twitter a microcosm of society at large, it’s where entire political movements consisting of huge numbers of what we called rubes back in the old days gather in their groups and herds, all of them just waiting for some Elmer Gantry style “guru” to come along and “bring them together” into one humungous group and tell them how to organize and channel their passions in the name of that almighty group. The free thinking individuality and self sufficiency that did much to build this country has been largely bred out of a lazy and self satisfied population.  

We Americans are never satisfied with mere human beings as our public figures.  These days, we have to have people we can place on pedestals and not just respect and look up to but outright worship and idolize.  If some if the idols we set up turn out to have feet of clay once we’ve set them up there, we’ll not only overlook that but we’ll go totally postal and destroy anyone who attempts to point it out because that person is committing two cardinal sins.  He or she is casting aspersions upon our particular idol of course but also daring to offer thoughts and opinions that “go against the grain” or more bluntly, failing to conform to the collective opinion of the group. 

This mental or ideological collectivism is often referred to as Groupthink which is defined thusly by Wikipedia:

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people, in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an incorrect or deviant decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative ideas or viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

Loyalty to the group requires individuals to avoid raising controversial issues or alternative solutions, and there is loss of individual creativity, uniqueness and independent thinking. The dysfunctional group dynamics of the “ingroup” produces an “illusion of invulnerability” (an inflated certainty that the right decision has been made). Thus the “ingroup” significantly overrates their own abilities in decision-making, and significantly underrates the abilities of their opponents (the “outgroup”).

Twitter has never lacked for shepherds ready and willing to take on ‘responsibility” for the flock and they range from A) those who have managed to build little rock star cults around themselves replete with their little bands of groupies who faithfully retweet anything and everything they robotweet and tell them constantly how wonderful they are, right on out to Z) a major cult built around the President of The United States in which he is held in esteem of biblical proportions and the firmest requirement for anyone daring to express an opinion on something he might or might not have done is that “Ye shall speak no evil of our president no matter what he says or does“.  And of course, anything and everything between those two points.

The one common thread in all these semi cult like groups, from the mini idol who turns out to be a convicted major felon to the president himself who often tends to adopt positions that during the last administration would have been considered by his own groupies as decidedly right wing, is that any slightest inkling of opposition to any of these people or any actions carried out by them will bring instant retaliation from their adoring worshipers and sycophants. 

Most often of course, the retaliation will take the form of hateful little tweets and moronic little hashtag zingers.  Or that used to be the case before people came along with the knowledge and the tools to exploit the differences between these various groups for financial gain.  Now it’s a whole new ballgame. Now the war is just as intense between the cliques and subfactions… at least among Democrats (I don’t DO right wing sites)… as it is with the opposing faction itself.

In a future installment we’ll be talking about the NEW style of Twitter guru… the ones who use loopholes and specialized tools unavailable to regular Twitterites to “organize” members… to get their sheep ducks all in a row and gain financially from the bunker mentality of the members of the almighty group and the need to marginalize or demonize any of the “outriders” who don’t conform.  In doing so we of course run the risk of arousing the wrath of the groupies but then I’ve never considered the opinions of groupies as relevant to much beyond the blind adoration of whoever they’re groupies for anyway. 

1 Comment

Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


One response to “As Twitter Goes, So Goes The Country

  1. mjg7

    April 28, 2013 at 15:13

    An interesting and not wholly inaccurate if somewhat cynical evaluation of the state of the American public in general and Twitter in particular. As a partisan, I have obvious conflicts with some of your conclusions, but I presume a certain level of hyperbole, so those conflicts are not worth debate nor justify dismissal of your thesis. I will posit for the record, that we all have to one degree or another a base position which informs our interpretations of our experiences. In my case, I assume the mantel of Democrat, since the underlying liberal philosophy of individual freedom tempered by the social contract is a general framework which I believe offers mankind the opportunity to both excel in personal terms as well as be part of a self-governing society that allows the application of aggregation of talents and resources to tackle issues at the scale unachievable by the individual or small group. This seemingly paradoxical coexistence of forces requires a concern, empathy for our fellow individuals to the level of open willingness to contribute in non-equal fashion to insure that no person suffers needlessly while growth and success of the species is still promoted.

    This willingness to contribute more than another is, I think, a necessary requirement for the social contract to be valid. While I agree with much of your thesis that people become self-organizing drones seemingly mindless and directionless on the individual level, I don’t believe that this is a permanent condition. We live in a complex world, made more so by the technologies that allow us to accomplish much more “productivity” with far less effort. Yes, we have become complacent, greedy, spoiled, and overly materialistic, but I wonder how much of the angst we experience derives from the transition from an agrarian/industrial economic mix to a predominately information based economy. The natural competition that the species inherited, is now being transitioned into seemly senseless turf wars over ideas. The days of the strongest back able to plow more soil, hammer more plows into sharp instruments that fed the village, and defend the tribe against threats being naturally elevated by tribal consensus to leader or chief have ended. So has the time of marshaling people into organized workgroups to build an industrial nation and thereby stepping into the role of industrial baron. We now live in a world that is so rapidly shifting seemingly under our very feet, that our collective balance is challenged.

    The challenge of living in a rapidly changing society based on ideas and communications of information has created a new form of serfdom. The barons are now those adept at psychological manipulation of the group, and Twitter is a great petri dish to watch these colonies of organisms bloom. I agree with your characterization of Twitter. I have become an outsider by choice.

    Thank you Tom for taking the time to organize your thoughts and write this blog post. It is a serious piece that deserves careful consideration by all people on Twitter.


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