While I’m sitting here waiting for the six-digit code to pop up on my droid so that I can connect to Threads, I’ll spend some time thinking and writing about how easily and quickly these two real social media players – Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg – are going to help us get rid of Donald Trump.
Not that what is becoming a looming battle between Twitter on the one hand and Threads on the other got started because either or both of those young digital entrepreneurs see Trump’s silly little Truth Social app as a competitor they have to injure or destroy.
In Truth Social’s first month, the app was downloaded 1.4 million times. In the first seven hours after it was launched this past Thursday, Threads was downloaded 10 million times, a number which quickly got up to some 30 million by the next day.
Twenty years from now I won’t be around, so someone else is going to have to write about digital media the way Marshall McLuhan wrote about TV. And if the way TV content was transmitted and viewed, or what McLuhan referred to as ‘the medium is the message,’ we can certainly say the same thing about social media – in spades!
The first TV program I ever watched was in the 1950’s when we went to my grandparents’ house on Sunday and my grandfather required absolute and total silence from everyone in the living room while he watched ‘Meet the Press.’
Grandpa would sit right in front of the Dumont and watch someone like John Foster Dulles answering questions about the Suez crisis. If Dulles said something that Grandpa thought was correct, Grandpa would nod his head up and down. If Dulles gave an answer that Grandpa didn’t like, he would shake his head back and forth and mutter, ‘demn fool.’
Let’s face it. What did the American Secretary of State know about the Suez crisis that Yossi Savetsky of Beach 36th Street in Rockaway, Queens didn’t know?
But the difference today is that today not only could my grandfather post a comment on his droid when he didn’t like something that was said by the person being interviewed on the screen, but his comment could be read and responded to by anyone and everyone else looking at the same app on their own screens.
When McLuhan talked about how TV created its own human community that went far beyond the geographical location of community members, he had no idea how today’s communication technologies allowed such content-based communities to develop and interact.
Not only can someone who owns an app like Twitter or Threads know exactly how many users are talking back and forth about something that someone else said, the app lets its owners know who these talkers are, where they live, what they buy, and how often they connect up with an app which they use to say whatever they want to say.
Do you think that when you post that cutesy video on Instagram that it’s not being stored away on some memory disc which then becomes the property of Instagram to learn more about who you are, the way you think and what you believe?
Yea, yea, I know all about the so-called ‘privacy’ that you maintain when you go online. Yea, yea, yea.
Don’t get me wrong. If Facebook is really interested in what I ordered at some restaurant last night because I posted a pic of me chomping away on my French fries, good for them. After all, I and everyone else connected on the digital superhighway have one, very simple method which can guarantee to keep the details of my life known only by me, which is to shut the droid down after I check the weather report or see the notice about this morning’s sale item at Family Dollar (which is where I’m going to buy this week’s food for Leonard, Bernie, Seymour and Elsie.)
That’s right. I live with my wife and four cats. My wife’s name isn’t mentioned above.
When we start referring to the 2020’s as the ‘good old days,’ we’ll have to give Trump credit for being the pioneer who first used social media to drive a national, political campaign. But now that every politician looking for your vote uses it, the bloom is off the rose, so to speak.
Fake News is so desperate for content that they still report Trump’s nightly rants on Truth Social as news events. But does Trump have an account on Instagram? Of course he does. And that account has some 23 million followers, as opposed to Truth Social where his number is less than 5 million users, at best.
Trump’s quickly becoming just another social media presence like Kim Kardashian or Michelle Obama or everyone and anyone else.
Hell, even my brother has 64 followers and believe me, nobody’s ever heard of him at all.