In the past week the United States got to experience the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump. Its hard to ignore “the elephant in the room” when it comes the experience of this transition of power from President Obama to President Trump. Because of this I thought why not dissect the ways these past couple of days have allowed social media platforms to exhibit the traits and characteristics of an elephant.
Elephants are gray: Yes everyone knows elephants are unmistakably gray. Social media is similar. When a case seems to be ‘as clear as black and white’ social media affords the space for someone to throw in alternative facts. When this happens it makes prior information seem questionable thus making the case at best ‘gray’. The current debate on the size of the crowds for the inauguration is an awesome expression of this.
Aerial shots of the Trump inaugural crowds where taken by members of the media and published next to images taken of the Obama inaugural crowds. The Trump administration felt the need to present other data for public consideration regarding the size of the Trump inaugural crowds. The other data wasn’t first induced through social media but rather through the press conference of Press Secretary Spicer and the Chuck Todd Interview of Ms. Kelly Anne Conway.
Since their television airings both the commentary of Spicer and Conway have been viewed over a million times via youtube. The day of the Conway interview the hashtag #alternativefacts was re-tweeted close to 380,000 the same day. Again while the information was not specifically introduced via social media, social media definitely has helped to make a case that seemed black and white at best gray
Elephants are massive: The elephant is the largest land mammal. Even a baby elephant on average weighs 200lbs. With the help of Facebook, the world was able to witness the biggest protest on Washington, DC ever. This protest was the Women’s March. There were over 600 organized Women’s March protests throughout the world on 7 continents. This massive protest, which was organized in roughly 2 months, was all made possible with Facebook. The most interesting part of the march and its organization was that it was a platform that had infusions of all different agendas: Black Lives Matter, LGBT concerns, Planned Parenthoods, Gender Equality and so much more. There have been estimates of 4 million protest participants worldwide, with roughly 3 million of those in the US alone.
Just like an elephant its hard to look at this Women’s March protest and not marvel at how massive it was. I mean even a baby elephant needs 22 months in the womb prior to birth. This protest took a sheer 2 months (and a couple of days) to execute. Considering the short time and large turn out this protest was and is truly impressive and it will be interesting to see what happens in the next coming months given the outpouring of support that was shown for this protest. I’m certain social media will continue to play a significant role with continuing the momentum from this protest.
Elephants never forget: There is this saying that elephants never forget. And while that might not be entirely true, there have been incidents that help to at least highlight an elephant’s memory can span more than just a couple of days. I recently read a story of a two elephants being introduced to each other. When introduced there was immediate trumpeting, usually reserved for aggression but these two elephants seemed to enjoy each other. As it turns out, they had worked with each other years ago at a circus. The last time they saw each other was 23 years ago! Click here to enjoy that!
So how is social media similar? The Internet never forgets and as such social media never forgets. Truly no post that was a mistake is ever really forgotten and if you are a celebrity of any sort, then understand that your social media will be used to help corroborate or disprove any future statements you make.
A recent example of this would be President Trump’s previous use of twitter as President Elect. Because his twitter account was closely followed, its contents were always being scrutinized which would have had one believe that any content placed on twitter by Trump (President Elect at the time) would have be carefully considered. This weekend after being inaugurated President Trump, visited CIA and stated that the media has been trying to cause a feud between him and the Intelligence Community. Because the social media never forgets, several articles appeared showcasing the language Trump used just 10 days prior comparing Intelligence agencies to Nazi Germany when it came to ‘leaking’ data about his supposed relationship with Russia.
Again while it seems pretty black and white that Trump did start this feud with the Intelligence Community, the ability of Trump to state he didn’t allows for alternate facts to be presented and although the social media never forgets, at best it makes this situation too become gray…very much like the elephant it is.