Tweets as a tactical weapon

The tweets either get his framing established first, knowing that whoever frames first tends to win. Or when things look bad for him, he diverts attention or attacks the messenger. And when he wants to test public opinion, he puts out an outrageous trial balloon.

Each tweet gets his message retweeted so he dominates social media. Reporters, social media influencers, and many others fall for it hook, line, and sinker. Every time. They retweet, share, and repeat his messages ad infinitum. This helps Trump tremendously.

They may think they’re negating or undermining him, but that’s not how human brains work. As a cognitive scientist, I can tell you: repeating his messages only helps him.

First, it focuses all attention on Trump’s antics. This makes his nonsense seem like the most important thing in the world. It’s called the “focusing illusion” – and it’s a large part of why he got elected in the first place. It makes him larger than life.

Second, constant repetition of his Trump’s messages embeds them deeply in the brains of millions of people. Whether it’s locking up his opponents or threatening nuclear war, he has the power to control tens of millions of brains via tweets. He focuses them on his chosen topics.

Third, the constant attacks and outrage increase his credibility with his base. He can portray himself as a victim of the “establishment” – under constant attacks (which he provokes with tweets). He acts, his opponents only react. He is in heroic control.

I understand the desire to portray Trump as childish or deranged. But do you deal with a child or a deranged person by sinking to their level? Do you mock and scorn them, or trumpet their ridiculousness on the front page? No.

Imagine if we took a different approach to Trump’s social media antics. Imagine if we put them in a small, quiet corner of the newspaper. Imagine if they were only a minor throwaway item at the end of the newscast. Imagine greeting them with calm clarity, not instant outrage.

Imagine keeping a steely focus on what actually matters: the dismantling of our government; Republicans robbing the middle class and poor to pay off the rich; Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation into the Trump Organization’s betrayal of America.

Imagine if we took back OUR power from this disgraceful man. Imagine if WE decided what was important, rather than dancing to Trump’s tune. Imagine if a tweet were just a tweet (or evidence in a criminal case), rather than the dictator of our reality.

We have the power stop him. But we must stop letting him control our media — and our minds. It’s time to give Trump a Twitter Time Out. Let’s shrink him down to size. Let’s take this weapon out of his hands.

Think of Trump as a puppeteer, his tweets as the strings, and anyone who retweets/shares him as the puppet. Cut the damn strings!

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20 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  January 4, 2018

    I find them undignified. The leader of a country should not be using social media in such a childish nyah-nyah way. He is lowering the dignity of the office.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  January 4, 2018

      Never had much time for pompous dignity myself.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 4, 2018

        I said nothing about pompousness-which is NOT dignity, The two things are totally different. A pompous person is grandiose, overbearing and bombastic. A dignified one is none of these things. Nobody would call the Queen pompous, but she is very dignified. The leader of a country should not be a laughing stock-they, of all people, should display common dignity and not a total lack of it.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  January 4, 2018

          The country is bitterly divided and half of it is at war with the President. Pretending it isn’t will not fly if you actually want to make change. Which Trump does and is doing.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  January 4, 2018

            But what SORT of change ?

          • Blazer

             /  January 4, 2018

            has emigrating crossed your mind Al….all the loony lefties here and the Donald you so admire…beckons.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 4, 2018

              Far more loony Lefties in Washington, B.

            • Gezza

               /  January 4, 2018

              You’re needed tbere then. I’ll look after the truck.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 4, 2018

              I’m sticking with my right hand drive, Sir Gerald.

    • PDB

       /  January 4, 2018

      The presidency of the USA has been a joke for some decades…

  2. Zedd

     /  January 4, 2018

    sounds like Mr T just cant ‘keep his hand of it’ (twitter.. I mean) 😀

  3. “Imagine if we took a different approach to Trump’s social media antics. Imagine if we put them in a small, quiet corner of the newspaper. Imagine if they were only a minor throwaway item at the end of the newscast. Imagine greeting them with calm clarity, not instant outrage.”

    Media not mature enough

    • Gezza

       /  January 4, 2018

      Media thick. Media only interested in competing with Trump for attention. In doing so they simply multiply the amount of attention Trump’s getting. Not to any useful purpose.