One person’s history of Twitter, from beginning to end
Mike Monteiro

Although the criticisms of Twitter are well-founded, I think it overstates the case and reveals a bit of SV myopia of its own. Twitter didn’t get Trump elected, and Twitter didn’t invent populist politics, propaganda, or outright lying. If Twitter didn’t exist, the people using Twitter as a propaganda outlet, or to rile up their base, would use one of the other more time-tested venues (ranging from traditional newspapers with a friendly editorial bent, to talk radio and TV, to “Web 1.0” sites like Drudge, etc.).

It’s giving Twitter far too much credit to say that they tipped an election. They took eyeballs and ad dollars that probably would have gone to traditional media in some parallel universe where they didn’t exist, or maybe to Facebook, or some similar-but-different social media service. But they didn’t win or lose anyone an election. Economics, insecurity, the Electoral College, and a whole lot of embittered white voters—many of whom weren’t and probably still aren’t on Twitter—looking to thumb their collective noses (or raise their middle fingers) at The System, but a bit too polite to say so in advance polls: all of those things could be rightly pointed-to as significant factors in the election. The presence of Twitter, given all the alternatives that exist, and would exist to fill the same niche if it hadn’t been created, isn’t even a rounding error.

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