Social media, politics and narrative – @roughtype

Here’s a great essay from Nicholas Carr on social media’s effect on the US presidential campaign, and much more.  It explores how social media is different from previous media – not necessarily better or worse, but different – and how that requires a different approach:

“The message, as always, has to fit the medium.”

Reflecting on a previous shift in the prevailing medium, in the now-famous 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debate:

“Nixon’s mistake was to assume that he was still in the radio age. He believed that the audience would concentrate on what he said and wouldn’t care much about how he looked. Oblivious to the camera’s gaze, he had no idea that the sweat on his upper lip would drown out his words.”  (my emphasis for a beautifully turned phrase)

And what works in a social media age that is not so much democratising as diminishing:

“What’s important now is not so much image as personality. But, as the Trump phenomenon suggests, it’s a particular kind of personality that works best — one that’s big enough to grab the attention of the perpetually distracted but small enough to fit neatly into a thousand tiny media containers. It might best be described as a Snapchat personality. It bursts into focus at regular intervals without ever demanding steady concentration.”

Worth a longish read and a ponder.

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