By Victoria Lynn Hall
When we were volunteers on Marianne Williamson’s presidential campaign, my friend Mary Hollywood passed on the same advice to me and others that she shared in this tweet:
It’s really good advice but I don’t see very many people on Twitter following it these days and sometimes I forget to as well. Instead we seem to have a tendency to consume social media in the same way we do television. Those who have the most reach are rarely more than broadcasters and replying to them usually has the same effect as yelling at our TV screen, even when it comes to politicians, who we seem to forget are not celebrities or “content creators” but public servants.
It dawned on me after I finished recording this episode with Jesse that the reason why Bernie’s tweets, and the tweets of many of his colleagues in Congress, bother me so much is because they don’t show a willingness to listen. Even the “What would X mean to you and your family?” tweets seem to be a rhetorical question or something designed for gathering data rather than a conversation starter.
Twitter is not a passive medium. It isn’t broadcast news. We have the opportunity to have two way conversations there. Why aren’t we taking full advantage of that? Why aren’t more of us using it to create a new paradigm of inclusiveness and community rather than allowing it to reflect the division that already exists “in real life”, as people say.
“Twitter is not a passive medium. It isn’t broadcast news. We have the opportunity to have two way conversations there. Why aren’t we taking full advantage of that?”Tweet
Caitlin Johnstone warns in her article about Jack Dorsey’s resignation from Twitter that:
“…we could soon be looking at a Twitter where communists, anarchists, conspiracy analysts, Covid skeptics, antiwar activists, supporters of empire-targeted governments, and other perspectives considered “borderline” by Silicon Valley narrative managers could receive very little visibility on people’s feeds, while authorized opinion-havers like blue-checkmark reporters from mainstream media outlets are given greater amplification.”
I’m not sure we can avoid this fate, not just because powerful forces seem hell bent on it, but because comfortable people have already willingly submitted to such a reality; most of them already trusting “official sources” and being skeptical and dismissive of anyone who contradicts them.
As for the rest of us, it may seem that our only hope is to come together and form community and solidarity beyond these tech platforms but we can’t do that if all we are doing is broadcasting at each other or worse, “sniping at [each other] over some perceived difference that would be undetectable by someone with a more mainstream perspective.” (also Caitlin’s Words).
I also believe there are things we can talk about beyond strictly political issues that can expand our consciousness and poke holes in the mainstream, capitalist, imperialist narratives; things like our fears, our dissatisfaction and our struggles – or our hopes, dreams, and longings – our talents, knowledge, and resources – our empathy, compassion, forgiveness and understanding.
People who share those things in a safe and supportive space are creating their own power source, the kind of power that rises out of community, not division.
In this episode Jesse spoke about CodePink. Visit their website to learn how you can get involved and support their actions and campaigns for peace.
I mentioned my pinned tweet below, which lists some strike funds that you can donate to. Please RT to help spread the word about supporting striking workers and unions:
Have a question to “Ask Jesse”? Email us at AskJesse@AmplifireProject.com
Listen to the full episode below or on YouTube where you can subscribe to our channel.
A Los Angeles native, Jesse Crall graduated from UCLA’s English Department before working as a copywriter, script reader and project manager for an engineering firm.
A self taught artist and creative entrepreneur, Victoria Lynn Hall lives in the Kansas City area with 4 spoiled cats. She believes in art and the magic of kindness.