The map is not the territory, and Twitter is not America


An interesting article at Outkick explores how Twitter fools many politicians, opinion formers and others about what America really thinks and feels.  It’s not just Twitter that’s responsible – it’s a function of the platform’s users.

In the last four years, Twitter has become America’s target audience, and subsequently, one of the most powerful groups in the country.

Applicants are hired if their Twitter accounts are presentable. Employees are fired if their past tweets don’t age well.

Politicians build laws with social media reactions in mind.

Major media companies promote, demote, and protect personalities based on retweets and likes.

Corporate America’s decisions attempt to anticipate social media results.

When America is called racist by too many blue checks, curriculum is changed.

In other words, American’s most influential individuals and industries are at the mercy of the most frequently seen and shared Twitter accounts. 

As a result, these accounts dictate state policy, education, entertainment, and industry.

That’s who has the power. But who exactly are these people? They are the most easily offended, bored, pampered, and hateful sociopaths in our population. They all think alike. Yet, the all is still quite small in raw numbers.

Pew data finds that 3% of the population creates 90% of all tweets sent. Only 8% of the US population is “active” on Twitter.

Late-night TV, award shows, and comedy have adjusted content to correspond with Twitter reaction. Appealing to just 8% of viewers is bad business. Now, all three hemorrhage viewers for a nominal group of actual viewers.

In addition to a misleading sample size, Twitter has convinced the media, corporations, and politicians to adopt a narrow worldview.

The same Pew study finds that Twitter users are D+15. Were Twitter a state, it’d tie Hawaii and Vermont as America’s most liberal. What’s more, the 10% of Twitter users who post 92% of all tweets are D+43.

Herein lies the disconnect. Twitter has told decision-makers that Americans agree that the country is systemically racist; that white supremacy is the country’s greatest threat; that Americans, by and large, are okay being viewed merely on the color of their skin. In reality, though, Americans rarely agree on any topic.

We are a divided country. Yet Twitter has led us to believe that the divide is based not on substance but hate. Twitter says that one side is right. The other is hateful, racist, and ignorant. So, people feel justified in ignoring those with different opinions.

Politicians before were incentivized to answer voters’ pressing questions and concerns. Twitter now convinces politicians that Americans lack curiosity. Questions aren’t welcome on social media. Big Tech censors the few who dare to question authority before their concerns are answered.

There’s more at the link.

You can easily see how this is a problem.  If people, corporations, politicians and others are tailoring their words, actions and image to what people say about them on Twitter, they’re preaching to a very narrow section of the choir.  It becomes an ideological echo chamber.  They never ask themselves what those outside that chamber think, and they never hear from them, because they won’t take the time and trouble to go and look for them.  It’s quicker, easier and more convenient to just stay within the echo chamber, where feedback is quick and ideologically reliable.

It also explains why Twitter silences opposing voices so quickly and so ruthlessly.  If the ideological purity of the platform is breached, why, it could no longer present itself as the arbiter of political correctness, truth, justice, and the American way.  Can’t have that, you know!  Also, that’s why Twitter and other Big Tech companies are actively working to undermine competing social media platforms that threaten their dominance.  They spend an amazing amount of money and time whipping up opposition to and activism against any platform that offers a competing ideological perspective, and will de-platform them whenever possible.

Twitter offers a map of what it and its users think America should be.  However, as semanticist Alfred Korzybski pointed out years ago, “the map is not the territory” and “the word is not the thing”:  in other words, “an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself”.  Is it any wonder that those of us who don’t derive our world view from Twitter are increasingly frustrated and angry with those who do?  They aren’t living in the real world, but in an ideological simulacrum of it.  Thus, those of us in the real world find we have almost no points of contact with them, because they can’t recognize reality when they encounter it.



  1. There's a more fundamental problem: an unknown, but significant number of Twatters are fakes.
    Pretty much like 10-20% of the votes cast in the last election.

    The jackholes chasing likes are no brighter than the morons walking in front of busses and off cliffs to catch Pokemons.

  2. Yes, but is that a bug or a feature? Convenient to have an echo chamber you can use to prove your narrative is valid to the public.

  3. This is true more generally in all sorts of things.

    Take polling as an example. How much of our perception is shaped by poll results? A damn sight too much. One of the things that cripples patriots is the widespread despair at how "half of America thinks…" XYZ horrible collectivist cant. My response now is, how do you know that? Who told you that? We love to think that we are so awake now to the Oligarchy's deceptions and fake news but we unquestioningly accept all sorts of things that have no basis except polling.

    Polling??? Since when do we trust that, especially in light of the frauds from 2016 to 2020?

    We naively accept that half of Americans are randy for socialism, voted for Gropey Joe, love lockdowns, believe in global warming etc…

    I say, prove it. More than likely, polling is just another tool in the authoritarian box to convince the sheep that the fight is lost, give up, you're a fringe opinion. They use news, entertainment, and govt to reinforce this narrative. Psy ops and conditioning. Twitter is part of it. Same w Faceblab.

    The truth is likely that most Americans, the clear majority, share our patriotic views. Which is another reason Trump had to be eliminated. He was starting to break the illusion and forge a broad and deep coalition that would have made us all realize what a small group of oligarchs are running the asylum.

  4. The map might not be the territory, but the people are the nation.

    Mixing nations has predictable results since the beginning of history.

  5. What McCoy said…Prove your statistics and where you got them from. I for one do not talk to pollsters. I don't have a twitter, facebook, instantgram or whatever the current fad is, except for blogger and I haven't posted to that in several years. Hell, my cell phone is so antiquated that I can receive a call, make one and texted, sort of, which is about all I want in an electronic tether. Most of the time it is off and in the bottom of my purse.

  6. I not only don't use Twitter, but I have blocked it and Facistbook from my computers via the HOSTS file. DRT. The one thing I won that can access them is my iPad, and that's so I can deal with my radio club duties.

    Oddly enough, I don't miss either. I recommend this path to anyone was wants less stress in their life.

  7. So…3% creates 90% of the Tweets. Now, I seem to remember a big thing being made about how 3% (sometimes expressed as III%) kinda had a big impact on how things went in a global backwater 200 odd years ago.

  8. I believe it was after the Brexit vote five years ago that some UK Remainer politician (possibly David Cameron) said

    Your country is not your twitter feed

    I'm not sure if it was him though. However about 12 years ago, just after twitter started he made another comment about twitter that he had to apologise for – because it was rude, crude and accurate:

    Too many tweets make a tw*t

  9. A guy who's dedicated his life to his imaginary friend complains about people out of touch with reality.

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