I can’t help but be amused that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), an unwitting mascot of detached politicians, uses a secret Twitter account that follows journalists, late-night comedians, and athletes to “keep tabs on the political conversation,” as The Atlantic put it. That is, of course, precisely the worst way to keep tabs on the political conversation.
There’s certainly value in tracking the undulations of Acela Corridor conventional wisdom, and I’m sure Romney actually talks to his constituents to follow the “political conversation” of greater import.
I’m also pretty sure Romney is a great guy, even if the senator’s politics are different than mine, which is why I find it especially telling that his bizarre anonymous Twitter account was so very silly.
For all the years of stately self-presentation, disciplined rhetoric, and neatly coiffed hair, Romney is just another boomer who uses social media to yell at Fox News. For all Romney’s connections and all his power, he, too, still feels compelled to devote precious time to airing grievances online—even when nobody is watching!
This is the damage Twitter hath done. It is a time suck, irresistible even to those with the least to gain. Romney’s sad, secret account reveals something about Twitter’s strategic reliance on human nature: we all just want to be heard, and social media affords us that catharsis. So powerful is this catharsis, even Mitt Romney, a man with a Senate office and the means to build a car elevator, chases its fleeting satisfaction.
Pierre Delecto is holding a mirror up to the rest of us. Social media brings out the worst in everyone, and that outcome is fundamental to its design. We’re wasting so much time.