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U.S. Army Tweet Does Not Get the Responses it Expects

By Petr Knava | Social Media | May 30, 2019 |

By Petr Knava | Social Media | May 30, 2019 |


You know, usually when someone gets owned on social media, you wanna laugh.

Though I don’t mean just about anyone. I mean someone powerful. When it’s a nobody, who really cares? Besides, it can be a bit sad mocking some anonymous drone-cog on Twitter or wherever.

And I know! I know. That’s me saying that. I have an archive positively overflowing with random nobodies falling over or getting their faces almost snapped off by turtles. I’m aware of the slight stench of hypocrisy of me ruminating on the morals of laughing at random nobodies on the internet.

But, like, there’s a difference, you know? I try to be relatively discerning with my mockery. To make sure that we’re mostly just laughing at literally anonymous bods, and that there’s no actual harm done (though I know and admit I do fuck up sometimes; mea culpa and all that). But the point is that the laughter is ephemeral, and though we sometimes see their faces there’s no real way to link the person’s name to it. It’s also unbound in time. Sometimes these things happened years ago. Sometimes there’s just no way to tell when, or even where. So all in all the mockery remains at a healthy remove from the real person.

On social media it’s different. There’s a time stamp. A name. A direct route from A to B. That’s a different game. And the power dynamics can be iffy sometimes too. Like when somebody expresses a boneheaded opinion about something on Twitter, and then a celebrity with huge reach retweets it mockingly or with contempt, and then the tidal wave of responses crashes over Mr or Ms. 67 Followers’ timeline. Shit, sure sometimes they deserve it. Any abusive or racist twat deserves what’s coming to them. But other times, when it’s really just some daft kitten fart masquerading as an opinion? Who cares?

But when it’s someone who’s already powerful? Someone actively malicious, and full of hubris? Fill yer boots, ya Twitterati. Let them know their shit won’t stand.

But you know what, even that can be sad. Even a righteous dunking can fundamentally feel deflating. Just when considered as a whole. For example we’ve got to this stage in the evolutionary life cycle of our species where we have corporations crafting amiable personas on social media in order to ‘connect with the consumer’ and ‘further brand engagement’ and other such combinations of corporate wankspeak. It’s the final stage before capitalism wipes out life on earth as we know it—the natural evolution of the dissolving of the barrier between companies selling concrete products and instead selling ideas and personality markers as described in Naomi Klein’s seminal book ‘No Logo’—and watching it unfold is just depressing as fuck.

You remember that time people dunked on Chase Bank for condescendingly chastising people for not saving money, and it sorta felt good for something blowing up in that awful entity’s face, but then you think about the totality of the situation and really it’s just depressing more than anything else? Same thing happened a few days ago, when the US Army—the world’s no. 1 polluter, iron fist of the blood-soaked US empire, and destroyer of its own vulnerable citizens—sent out this tweet in ‘honour’ of Memorial Day:


Let’s just say the responses to that did not go the way they probably expected them to, but again, rather than any sorta victorious ‘gotcha!’ vibe, the whole thing just makes you depressed as hell.


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Petr is a staff contributor. You can follow him on Twitter.

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