“My life got so much better after I opened my Twitter account,” said no one ever.
“People look at my Twitter account, and they think, ‘Gee, what a sharp cookie that person must be,’” said even fewer people than that.
Twitter: Haven for internet trolls and mean teenage girls.
Twitter: Unabashed, unashamed, unenlightened, unintelligent snark at 280 characters a pop.
Twitter: Just ask Roseanne Barr and Anthony Weiner about the wondrous contribution it’s made to their lives and careers.
Yes, as many of you know, I despise all social media, but I have a special hatred for Twitter. It’s the writer in me, I think, that patently distrusts any forum that limits communication to a mere 280 characters. That’s just enough to show the world how stupid you are, and not enough to explain that you really didn’t mean to say what you just said. Or put better, just because you can express every twerpy thought that enters your head online doesn’t mean you should.
So guess what? On April 24, the President of the United States summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to the Oval Office. Dorsey was of the opinion he was there to discuss Twitter’s efforts to address opioid addiction with (I’m not making this up) a special emoji for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. (Because nothing fights a nationwide prescription drug abuse crisis quite so well as an emoji.)
Well, Dorsey was sorely mistaken, because President Donald Trump summoned him to the Oval Office to complain about having fewer Twitter followers than he thinks he should have. (Again, I’m not making this up. I wish I was.)
The president believes Twitter is biased against conservatives, and is purging followers from his account. However, Dorsey assured him that Twitter regularly purges fake and spam accounts. (Turns out some people have multiple social media accounts. People make stuff up on the internet. Who’d have dreamed such a thing?)
That said, even if Twitter did purge legitimate followers from the president’s account, (they didn’t) that doesn’t mean they can’t read what he posts. It just means they’re not listed as followers, and as near as I can tell, the president’s self worth is deeply tied to the number of people (real or not,) who follow him on Twitter.
I don’t know why, but I’m suddenly reminded of something my Mom told me when I was in high school: “If you waste your time worrying about what other people think of you, you won’t have time to live your life.”
So, the President of the United States; you know, the “leader of the free world,” the guy who has access to nuclear launch codes; the guy who’s the commander of the largest, most complex military ever amassed in the history of mankind, has his underpants in a bind because he thinks he should have more Twitter followers than he has. Furthermore, his nightie is in a knot because former President Obama has more Twitter followers than he has, when according to the president, he’s better at Twitter (whatever that means,) than the former president.
Because that’s what every leader should aspire to, right?
Here’s some direly-needed perspective: The president’s 59 million Twitter followers figure seems impressive, until you consider the fact that he leads a nation of roughly 327 million people. That means 268 million of those people don’t follow him on Twitter, because they don’t care, they don’t like him, or they’re just too danged busy to waste their time reading what put a burr under the president’s saddle this quarter hour.
It’s one thing when far too many people obsess over how many friends and followers they have in the phony, snarky world of social media, but it’s quite another when one of those people is the person who’s supposed to be the nation’s leader.
Leadership is also a verb.
Craig Carter is an Ontario resident and can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Argus Observer.