Scrolling through my Twitter feed is like walking through a battleground of thousand protests and counter-protests and counter-protests of the counter-protests. It’s insane. There are so much sharing and calls to actions as social media become saturated with the opinions of millions of people. What’s not to love?
Twitter is the single greatest soap box of our time. You can reach a massive audience from the comfort of your own WiFi connected home. It is a powerful tool for ordinary citizens and even more so for our politicians. Our congresswomen and men are adopting Twitter as a new style of open communication by posting pictures of meetings and votes they cast on policy decisions in their respective houses. In fact, it is now essentially political suicide not to have a Twitter account. It directly connects the constituency with their representatives in an unprecedented way and it is important to know how to use this awesome weapon of political information.
The first thing you need to know before embarking on a journey through the maelstrom that is the bright, blue sea of political commentary is that you need to follow a wide spectrum of political accounts. It is imperative not to wrap yourself up in the rhetoric bubble of like-minded people for the comfort of knowing at least someone else in the world is sane. Branch out! Follow people you would never agree with to see their concerns and perspectives. It is political education on a whole new level.
Another rule of navigating is to always evaluate your sources. Sometimes you come across tweets that sound impossible to be true and chances are they aren’t. Always remind yourself that the 140 character snippets are only a fraction of the whole story. Try to get the context from reliable news outlets. It never hurts to follow political fact checking accounts too.
Finally, be mindful of your followers. Retweets and replies will become almost compulsory over time. Like I said, Twitter can be a great way to spread content, but oversaturation can overwhelm and desensitize you and your followers. Maintain a balance between politics and everything else in your retweets and your home feed. With these tips in mind, be active and get involved in this new platform of American news and culture.