While You Were Offline: Kanye West Would’ve Voted for Trump

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For those hoping that life on the Internet would calm down after the US presidential election, some unfortunate news: Like “fetch,” that’s probably not going to happen. Instead, this last week has been one where everyone has been talking about fake news, and journalists have been learning that maybe we’re in the wrong line of work after all. But it’s still worth looking at the real world and seeing what’s going on every now and then. Here are some of the things you might have missed while trying to sift through all the made-up news this week.

Tweeter-in-Chief

What Happened: As Donald Trump continues his transition to his new job as POTUS, attention turned to his use of Twitter, and whether or not he can use it more presidentially.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Donald Trump’s love of Twitter became famous (infamous?) during the 2016 campaign; he’d send out messages in his very particular syntax at all times of the day—including, famously, at 3 in the morning—to pass comment on whatever was on his mind: how his opponents were failing, how wonderful he was, and whatever else happened to pop up on his timeline. After winning the election, many wondered if he would, as the saying goes, pivot towards behavior more befitting the leader of the free world. Last weekend, in one of his first post-election interviews, he promised to do just that very thing, and then, well, got on Twitter:

As before, he was being somewhat economical with the truth; the letter he was referring to, from publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and executive editor Dean Baquet, pledged “to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism” after covering the election “with agility and creativity,” and thanked subscribers for their loyalty. Oh, and that thing about losing thousands of subscribers?

Trump’s use of Twitter became a subject of much discussion this week, as well as late night show monologue fodder. But while this was happening, his Twitter following was only getting bigger—

—something that should be paid attention to, in case, as some believe, Twitter is actually where Trump gets his information.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party sees no problem with what’s going on at all.

The Takeaway: So, how will this all end? One news pundit had a suggestion that makes sense, and would tie up two current loose ends.

Crtl-Alt-Right-Delete

What Happened: Meanwhile, as Trump’s Twitter use continues, the same can’t be said for some of his most fervent supporters.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Twitter announced new tools to help combat hate speech on the service early this week (CEO Jack Dorsey also apologized for the service promoting white supremacist tweets, which is a sentence it feels surreal to even type), and then made a surprising move to back up their goals: It suspended a number of accounts of alt-right users.

Of course, this didn’t go unnoticed by the media at large, but the biggest reaction was amongst alt-right supporters still on Twitter:

Two of the most high profile people suspended released a statement condemning the move:

Meanwhile, as some wondered if Twitter’s crackdown on free speech might hurt the platform, the alt-right was springing back into action—not just creating fake accounts pretending to be black, but by signing up for Gab, an invite-only Twitter alternative still in beta.
The Takeaway: On the one hand, yes, threats to free speech are things that really shouldn’t be taken lightly. On the other hand, Twitter has had a harassment problem for a while, so seeing the company make moves to curb abuse is probably a welcome sight for many users.

Kanye West Would’ve Voted for Donald Trump—If He’d Voted

What Happened: For anyone who thought that the one voice missing from the 2016 election was Kanye West’s, good news. He’s a little late, but he’s stopped shying away from the subject.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: Hey, we’ve not been talking about Kanye West for awhile. Maybe there’s some way we could change that?

Oh. OK, that’ll work.

Guess what? Now people are talking about Kanye again. Although perhaps it’s not the kind of talk he’d want…

The Takeaway: Hey, any publicity is good publicity, right? Right?

M-M-M-MONSTER?!?

What Happened: How best to pay tribute to a beloved kids book? By turning it into a tweet storm, of course.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter
What Really Happened:It was the 45th anniversary of the release of the classic children’s book There’s A Monster at the End of This Book this week, and to celebrate, Grover from Sesame Street recreated the experience on Twitter:

The Takeaway: Meanwhile, because we really can’t have nice things:

Oh, Internet.

On Second Thought, Don’t Tell Me

What Happened: People found a new purpose for their selfies on Twitter: Using them as an invitation to be insulted in amazing new ways.
Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports
What Really Happened: In the beginning, it had a serious purpose. People—mostly people of color—would post photos of themselves to Twitter with the sentence “What does it look like I do for a living?” in an attempt to disprove stereotypes or bigotry along the “Don’t judge a person by their looks” lines. It was a fine exercise in pushing back against lazy thinking… and then other Twitter users started answering the question being asked in ways that no one expected.

Turning Twitter into an accidental roast was all that was needed to cross into “regular” media. Meanwhile, on Twitter, people’s selfies stopped being so… well, self-y.

The Takeaway: For those tempted to play along, it’s always best to listen to your inner self.

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