Social media feels like a war zone now, says John Robb

Futurist, blogger, security analyst John Robb says “On social networks. If you’re online, a lot of the time you can feel you’re in a war zone.” Indeed, it feels like a war zone because it often is a war zone. Especially Twitter. Combatants can get doxxed, swatted, harassed, have their children threatened, and some leave forever. John Schindler started a private Twitter account because he got tired of blocking hundreds of bots and trolls every day, says he knows of a suicide triggered by Twitter attacks.

Twitter is Ground Zero for Trump and Never Trump. Trump said he didn’t think he would have won without Twitter. And, as Robb says, Never Trump lives and organizes on Twitter. I’ve been a part of Never Trump since before the election. One of the most fascinating things to me is Never Trump on Twitter is people from all over the political spectrum. Traditional divisions in politics are breaking down. New ones are forming. Six months ago we were crazed conspiracy nuts. Today, I routinely see mainstream media articles about Trump / Russia that was researched, documented, and discussed on Twitter months ago.

Robb discusses how our politics now are being driven by social media, that this is new, sometimes scary, and no one really knows what the outcome will be.

An online movement that was almost totally separate from the Republican party propelled Trump’s candidacy, he says, and “almost all the opposition to Trump is being run on Twitter and online — it’s not even coming out of the Democratic party.” Robb says that “the online network has the potential to set the agenda, and take the reins away” from both established political parties. New parties will use apps and software to attract adherents and communicate with them. “Software-based political parties will just trounce the existing ones,”

Robb says he has “an underlying optimism, but I don’t see a lot of tangible things underway that would make me optimistic. Most of the stuff I see is going in a negative direction.”

But, he adds, “I’ve always had a hope that something would come out of left field and change the dynamic.”