In order to avoid misunderstandings, we should come up with a system for social media– and Twitter in particular– that alerts people to the point you’re making quickly. For example, this Tweet does an important service calling out despicable behavior spreading lies.
This lie/conspiracy theory is appearing on fringe sites. It’s spun from the fact that Jussie Smollett’s mother’s maiden name is — wait for it — Harris. (@KamalaHarris has one sister, Maya, and she’s not his mom.)
The 2020 election cycle will be insane. Beware of hoaxes. pic.twitter.com/fsqHXQYBo8
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 23, 2019
In my response to this Tweet, I would like to suggest a semantic clarification without undermining the original point. Can we create a quick abbreviation for that intent so that we don’t court two misunderstandings. The first, that there is anything wrong with the original Tweet and the second, to convey that the semantic clarification is not on the same moral plane as the original Tweet.
This was my clumsy effort.
Semantic less urgent question: Isn’t this just a lie? For, me, to call it a conspiracy theory suggests something that exists because there is some doubt or uncertainty. This is obviously a lie and people are spreading it anyway to cause confusion and harm. https://t.co/NCfwGjENYh
— John Dickerson (@jdickerson) February 23, 2019
“Semantic less urgent question” was my attempt at signposting my meaning. There has to be a faster better way. (+1/Q2) would show agreement and classify the following point using the Eisenhower quadrant system but that’s kinda clunky. Still: we can either throw up our hands at this mode of communication or create systems for making it more efficient for those of good intent and curiosity. Plus, we’re in the age of emojis, so this idea of quick identification isn’t totally insane, right?
Additional benefit: Creating this norm would force people who respond to Tweets with off topic responses to think twice before offering responses that are not answers, rebuttals that are red herrings, etc. Such a system would allow others to weigh in to classify responses as well.
Okay, going back to writing. Perhaps there should be a symbol for writing that is done to avoid other writing. Like Heart of Darkness to Lord Jim.