Think of the ripple effect when you drop a pepple into the water. This is the principle behind a video going “viral” on the internet. It’s not merely the number of people who stumble across the video by chance; it’s how many times the video is shared with others via Facebook, Twitter, ect.
Those familiar with my blog, The New Counter-Culture, are already aware of the fact that I’m an advocate for appropriating the language of the New Left. It is my opinion that in many areas of our culture the New Left radicals of the 1960s and 1970s have become the New Reactionary Establishment and that the methods they used as young people were not unique or exclusive to them and can now be used effectively to bring them down.
In furtherance of this goal, I will now present my case for the Conservative “teach-in” for which I think Twitter is a particularly useful social media tool.
The essential purpose of a teach-in is to provide information and raise awareness about subjects that the mainstream media and/or academia either refuse to cover at all or cover with such outrageous subjectivity that the reporting cannot be trusted. The teach-in is, therefore, an alternative method of educating people on certain issues that are uncomfortable or even damaging to the Establishment.
As I have stated on more than one occasion the Establishment in academia, the news media and Hollywood entertainment is in the business of promoting and, when necessary, protecting a narrative that is at best “liberal” in outlook and frequently full-fledged Leftist in ideology. To promote and protect the narrative means making highly subjective decisions as to which news stories will be covered and how they are covered, as well as what constitutes “normal” and what constitutes “fringe” activity and thought.
For instance, the media narrative regarding high-profile Conservative women is that they are either ignorant, crazy, racist or frequently all the above. “Liberal” women, on the other hand, are well-meaning, intelligent and perfectly “PC” in their thinking. Understanding the often extreme bias of the Establishment Media will cause a thinking person to question the validity of the content produced by so-called “journalists” who harbor such bias. The same is true of the tenured radicals who constitute the Academic Establishment in our schools and on college campuses across the country. It’s also true of the Left-wing propagandists in Hollywood who churn out one travesty after another in an effort to herd the people into a certain politically correct point of view.
The first major teach-in was organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor on March 24–25, 1965. The event was attended by about 3,500 (including student radicals/future domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn) and consisted of debates, lectures, movies, and musical events aimed at protesting Lyndon Johnson’s escalation of the war in Vietnam. Similar events were held in New York City at Columbia University, in Washington D.C. and the largest of them all, in Berkeley at the University of California.
It was at these events and others like them that students, faculty members and others became radicalized and were given the talking points they would need to recruit their peers into the movement. Because they mostly occurred on college campuses and included faculty participation, the indoctrination sessions maintained a veneer of intellectualism and academic propriety that afforded the movement a significant measure of credibility. They helped to discredit the Johnson administration to the point where he eventually refused to run for a second full term.
So now here we are in 2012, faced with a Democrat in the White House whose policies have failed and whose extreme Left-wing ideological viewpoint is hostile to the cherished tradition of American exceptionalism. He has proven willing to govern by fiat whenever the Legislative or Judicial branch does not kowtow to his demands. He cannot be trusted to play by the rules since he is a product of both the corrupt Chicago Democrat political machine and an upbringing that was corrupted by Marxist anti-Americanism. He is motivated by bitterness, resentment and all the negative aspects of Marxist ideology.
And yet while the 2008 Democrat primaries offered glimpses of the real Barack Obama (mostly because Hillary Clinton, an Alinsky acolyte herself, was perfectly aware of it and used it), thanks to the remarkable (and deplorable) efforts of the Establishment Media it was effectively glossed over, minimized and occasionally defended to the point where it was buried beneath an avalanche of bogus “hopey changey” rhetoric designed to bamboozle the middle class.
Glenn Beck recognized what was going on and was disturbed by it. On his daily show on FNC he would conduct what I would call teach-ins. The famous chalkboard sessions are classics and even though he is no longer on FNC they still aggravate the Left to a remarkable degree.
The real reason the Left despises Glenn Beck so much is not because he’s a “crazy bigot” or “racist” (he is not) but because they know that he was exposing them in ways that they never thought anybody in the media would dare to do. Why would the Left assume that nobody would dare to expose the inner workings of the Democrat Party and it’s Left-wing agenda? It’s because they assumed that the tactics of marginalizing, ridiculing and demonizing individuals or organizations that threaten The Narrative had put the fear of God (or whatever) into them so that they’d never dare try it.
It’s intimidation, pure and simple and it’s because of the educational efforts of Glenn Beck and a handful of others that we now know that there’s a word for it: Alinsky. The danger of being portrayed as extreme, unstable, ridiculous or hateful by the media is part of a strategy promoted by the late Saul Alinsky.
Of course, Alinsky didn’t invent any of the tactics that are associated with his name. They are as old as politics and culture itself. What he did do, however, is to capture and crystallize the techniques and the mindset behind them in an easily-digestible book that could be passed around from person to person among impressionable, naive baby-boomers who were anxious to find new ways to defecate on the legacy for which their parents, the Greatest Generation, had worked so hard and sacrificed so much to provide them.
Nowadays, we don’t have to literally pass a book hand to hand among our circle of friends. We have the internet and social media. Which brings me back to Twitter.
When a new tweet lands in your timeline, there are several things you can do with it. You can read it, obviously. You can read it and look at the attached article, photo or video. Then you can favorite it, which can be seen by the person who originally tweeted it and also by anybody else who “expands” the tweet. This is all well and good. Certainly the tweeter would like to see the appreciation or at least acknowledgment that the tweet was noticed. You can reply to the tweet which, depending on whether or not the tweet was appreciated and agreed with or unappreciated and objected to, could lead to further interaction and thus additional tweets.
But if you value the tweet and whatever it contains then the best thing you can do is to RETWEET IT! There’s a reason why the bio blurbs of well-known tweeters often indicate that a “retweet does not necessarily mean endorsement.” It’s because a retweet has intrinsic value. In other words, when a tweet is retweeted it’s usually a sign of approval by the retweeter. But it could also mean that it is not appreciated to such a degree that the person thinks his/her followers should see it for themselves. However you use the “retweet” feature there is no disputing that it is the single most effective way to utilize Twitter.
For instance, if you have 1,000 followers and each of your followers has 1,000 followers of their own, just think of the impact your great tweet can have when all of your followers and all of their followers retweet it. The more people that see what you’ve tweeted the more impact it can have. If you merely “favorite” it then that’s essentially an interaction between two people, you and the person you follow. If you reply to the tweet then it is between you, the person you follow and whoever might follow both of you or just happens to spot it in their timeline.
But when you retweet you are theoretically sharing it with every single one of your 1,000 followers, which then gives them an opportunity to share it with all of theirs. Think of the ripple effect when you drop a pepple into the water. This is the principle behind a video going “viral” on the internet. It’s not merely the number of people who stumble across the video by chance; it’s how many times the video is shared with others via Facebook, Twitter, ect.
And the best thing about all of this is that it never has to be simply one thing or another. You can do “all the above” for any tweet. You can favorite a tweet, retweet it and also reply to it directly. That would be a case of maximizing the effectiveness of the tweet.
Of course, the impact of the tweet is also tied to how many followers a person has. If you have only 50 followers and they mostly have a similar number of followers then the impact will be less than if you have 3,050 followers and many of them also have large followings. Top celebrities and athletes have the most followers and it can be hundreds of thousands. Writers, journalists, politicians and others who have some independent way of becoming well known will also have considerable numbers of followers. The average anonymous internet user will never have those kinds of eye-popping numbers. But I know from my own experience that it is possible to build up a nice-sized number of followers by maximizing your tweets.
And how does one maximize a tweet? Make it a tweet that people will find interesting enough to share with others. It could be a quote, a witty observation, a photo, a video or a useful, instructive article. If you produce a tweet that can entertain and/or inform others then you will have produced a tweet that will be retweeted, possibly many times. This should be everybody’s goal because anybody can do it. Read articles online and then tweet them to your followers. If somebody you follow tweets an article, read it and then RETWEET IT! The same goes with humorous photos, campaign ad videos…anything that helps raise awareness, promotes solidarity or otherwise helps the cause.
The more times your tweet gets retweeted the more followers you will have. People will follow someone whom they believe will provide further excellent tweets. And these followers will be like-minded and serious about helping the cause as well. And now you are building a useful and supportive online community. Solidarity, like knowledge, facilitates praxis, which is an old Greek word that simply means “the practice of” or “action.” And in this election year the ultimate praxis is to argue with the other side, to promote our views, to motivate the electorate to get out and vote; all of which – hopefully – will result in regime change in November.