Dubbed the 'crack' of internet addiction, Twitter has become the go-to source for breaking news for one simple reason: its "immediacy and speed is unmatched by any other network". It has also had a profound impact on the world's political landscape.
While some politicians have been unsuccessful in using the platform (remember when David Cameron accidentally became a meme?) others have harnessed it to an unrivalled degree.
Trumpus: (definition) a rumpus, commotion or noisy disturbance created by Republican president-elect on social media
On Sunday, facing a ballot recount in key battleground states, Trump posted:
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
Trump made this claim about illegal voting while declaring that there should be no recount. Aside from the puzzling contradiction of this statement – he claims massive voter fraud, but doesn't want the ballots checked – Trump's media strategy here bears closer examination.
The future president is a past master at using Twitter to misdirect the public. He doesn't respond directly to the issue, but points them towards a separate, distractingly controversial claim. Guardian journalist Peter Paton reflects on Trump's sleight of hand: "Why talk about serious policies or serious appointments (not to mention serious promises swiftly shredded) when you can whip up a meaningless storm in 140 characters?"
When we feel that we cannot understand something, the only appropriate response is apathy – what Adam Curtis calls an "oh dear" response. When all narratives are elevated to equal status, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on, or even to remember, what you believe. This can be very useful.
The desperate, shrieking nowness of social media (and America's president-elect, come to think of it) with its bewildering profusion of news, 'facts' and stories makes it the perfect medium for our post-truth era.