Observing the Twitter Resistance or, How I Learned to Love the Blue Dot

PART 2:  The Day After

On Wednesday, November 9th, I woke up, as many of us did, hungover as fuck and angry.  I had to go to work.  I didn’t have the common sense to have taken the day off.  I pulled myself together and got on the train.  I was seething, and when I sat down at my desk I immediately made contributions to both Planned Parenthood and the Equal Justice Initiative.  It made me feel better, but I was still pissed.  Four fucking years of this clown. How many days until Election Day 2018?  Maybe we can take the House back.

I had started to use Twitter during the campaign, realizing that it was an interesting and quick source of information.  My use of Twitter up to that point was halting (see part 1 of my essay series).  Most of the accounts I followed were government agencies, because I’m a contingency planner and following FEMA and DHS is a sort of a job requirement.  There were the usual national news outlets (“mainstream media” or MSM in social media shorthand), and also a smattering of humorous accounts (if you are truly hard to offend, I suggest Nihilist Arbys).  I was starting to get the hang of things.  I don’t think Twitter allows you a way of finding out when you started following someone, but it seems like my first follow of “The Resistance” was Jim Wright, who writes the blog “Stonekettle Station.”  I started following him on Facebook, and as I “transitioned” to Twitter, he was a natural follow.  He, like many who I follow in the resistance, is a pretty conservative guy.  And I liked that.  It’s comforting to know that there are conservatives who are just as pissed about the situation our country is in as I am.  He’s a great writer with something to say.  He is also seriously funny – able to swat away trolls with snark could make you do a Danny Thomas spit take if you were mid-gulp.

As is my nature during a crisis, I started to consume news voraciously.  As I was getting into using Twitter, I started to notice people on the news and follow them; this is more or less how it’s supposed to work.  An interesting thing starts to happen when you follow news analysts on Twitter; in many cases, they have already tweeted what they’re going to say before they’re on.  Of course, they don’t tweet exactly what they’re going to say, but if you follow them, you have a pretty good idea because the day’s news cycle has set up the conversation.  If POTUS creates an international incident by tweeting something stupid from the can at six in the morning, said analysts will tweet their view of said shitstorm and mention they’re going to be on TV that night to talk about it.  You turn on the news, listen, and it’s then that you realize you are actually ahead of the news.  You’re not getting ahead of events, but you are at least getting ahead of the analysis.  I didn’t even realize that was happening at first.  People who are social media experts have probably known this all along, but I wasn’t paying attention.  Twitter was changing the way I was consuming news.  Actually, to be more accurate, Twitter was changing the way I was consuming  information, tweets themselves aren’t news…typically.  It was making the whole cycle seem to move more quickly.

Initially, most of the people I followed were fairly mainstream.  George F. Will (an old favorite of mine from This Week with David Brinkley).  Kurt Eichenwald.  Keith Olbermann.  Then I started to follow the more “in-depth” subject matter experts like Matthew Miller.  While watching MSNBC on night, I caught a segment with Naveed Jamali.  The story here is that he was recruited by the FBI to infiltrate a group of Russian agents, so he must know what’s going on.  Click <+Follow> (more on that story line in a future installment).  Then I found John Schindler.  John is right up there at the top of my list of follows; again one of the reasons is that he is a conservative who understands that the situation we are in right now as a country is very wrong.  He has extensive intelligence experience via the NSA and Naval War College, and is also hilarious.  Win, win, win.

The point here is not to list who I follow so that you can follow them too – I don’t have any sort of special inside knowledge on this.  I’ve walked my path, and everyone else needs to walk their own.

The point is that the people I followed started mainstream, then trended towards wonks and analysts, and each level of digging and following gave me more detail.  I felt like I was getting “inside.”

To summarize, I was digging deeper into Twitter and the information was coming quicker and in more detail.  News headlines no longer sufficed.  I needed the “inside baseball.”  I needed to know what the pundits, wonks, and analysts were thinking before the story.  I needed to know what they were hearing and from whom.  I was creating my own little personal intelligence clearinghouse.

Then we come to Louise Mensch.  I cannot for the life of me piece back together how I found Louise.  I really wish I remembered.  All I know is that my first like of one of her tweets was on February 4th 2017.  It wasn’t until February 14th that she published her “Carolina Conspiracy” blog.  This blog blew my doors off and sunk me deeply into the murky, titillating, crazy, frustrating world of the Twitter Resistance.  That goddamned blue dot was flashing brighter.

NEXT:  PART 3 – PUTTING THE BAND TOGETHER

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