In a captivating blend of political dissent and occasional comedy, “rogue” Twitter accounts are rising up to say what they could not in an official capacity. Since President Trump has taken office, concerned scientific communities, media outlets and activists have had to go on the offensive when it comes to his disregard for America’s environmental responsibility and general lack of leadership abilities. With media blackouts and apparent gag orders, sharing facts is becoming more of a challenge.
The uprising of anonymous, rogue accounts started in January of this year when one of the National Park Service’s Twitter accounts was hijacked by a former employee. What followed was a string of tweets featuring climate change facts, such as: “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than anytime in the last 650,000 years. #climate”. Though the rogue tweets have now been removed, dozens of “rogue” and “alt” accounts claiming to come from government employees and agencies have now sprung up across the web.
RogueNasa, AltEPA and AltForestServices are just some of the accounts that mimic their namesakes to say what their official counterparts cannot. Are these accounts run by ex- or rogue employees, as in the case of the National Park Service incident? Unless the account holders come forward, we may never know for sure. What we do know is that these Twitter accounts each have hundreds of thousands of followers — so people obviously want to hear what they have to say.
An interesting outlier in this trend is the “Shadow Cabinet” (@Shadowing Trump), who are going rogue under their own names and faces. Unlike its counterparts, @ShadowingTrump doesn’t opt for the protection of anonymity. The account, run by 17 progressive policy experts, posts blunt opinions that criticize POTUS under real names, including Diane Ravitch (Citizen Education Secretary), Mark Green (Citizen Chief of Staff) and Laura Tyson (Treasury/Trade). Some tweets even include caricatures of their faces, the complete opposite of anonymity. Clearly, these individuals want the world to know that they think TheWhiteHouse.Sucks.
Whether anonymous or not, official employees or just interested parties, serious or satirical, people across America are going rogue to make sure their voices are heard amidst a political storm of media blackouts, lies and misinformation. And, given their (growing) follower counts, it’s working. With tools like Twitter at our fingertips, protests no longer have to mean taking to the street in droves — though that can be wildly successful, too. These days the only thing required to take a stand and be heard is a Twitter handle or a snappy URL.
These alt and rogue accounts are being described as a “Trump Twitter resistance” or “Twitstance“ — and they are just one way of carving out space on the web to make dissident opinions heard. Freedom of speech and the freedom to protest are an American right and a crucial part of any democratic society. Make your voice heard with a site like TheCabinet.Sucks or ThePOTUS.Sucks and start a conversation today.
Photos: NASA HQ PHOTO, Shutterstock / Ink Drop, Shutterstock / a katz