When I joined Twitter in July 2006 I was the 3,365th person to sign up for the 140-character message streaming social network. Now, with more than 190 million users having taken the plunge, I guess you could call me an early adopter of sorts.
See, I’ve always believed that the Internet — and by extension new online tools like Twitter — have the ability to create change because it levels the political playing field tearing down walls that have traditionally separated the powerless and the powerful.
It turns out I may have been wrong — at least when it comes to a certain half-termer from Alaska.
Since prematurely leaving the Last Frontier State’s governorship in 2009, Sarah Palin has avoided potentially devastating repeat performances of her sit-down disasters from 2008 with Katie Couric and Charles Gibson by rarely if ever subjecting herself to questions from serious journalists.
Insulated by her role as a Fox News contributor, Palin instead turns to Twitter and Facebook to communicate with the legitimate media. Rather than tearing down the walls that shield the powerful, the medium is instead being used as a cudgel of self-preservation by Palin.
It was especially evident during the health care reform debate last summer when Palin claimed on Facebook that “Obama’s ‘death panel’” could decide the fate of her son who has Down syndrome or her parents. Repeated frequently by right-wing politicians, bloggers, talk radio hosts, and Fox News personalities, the assertion quickly became conservative conventional wisdom.
It mattered little that the non-partisan PolitiFact.com described such claims as “a ridiculous falsehood.” In the months following the “death panel” lie Palin was able to skate on by with the press returning time and again to breathlessly report her latest online musings despite her documented track record of misinformation.
For a medium designed to increase communication between people, Palin’s use of these social networks has been remarkably one sided.( Collapse )
No new information, but an interesting point of view.