June 13, 2011

"Heavy users of Twitter, as Weiner used to be (he hasn’t posted since June 1), play a complicated strategy game."

Writes Virginia Heffernan:
Like World of Warcraft and Halo, Twitter is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, but with higher real-world stakes. It is grounded in the first principles of game theory, including variations on the Prisoner’s Dilemma. You have to give to get; you have to get to give. Managing these ratios — deciding how much of your attention to expend to win attention to yourself, say — is the lion’s share of the Twitter action....

Anthony Weiner went from a junior congressman to a politician of national significance, thanks in large part to his use of new media. By following back some of his most ardent fans, the way a teen idol might oblige his fans with signed photos, and otherwise working the apparatus of Twitter to drive up his followers and get a hearing for his issues, he managed to create an online persona using the same tricks — digital versions of gerrymandering, triangulating and earmark — that politicians use. Twitter handsomely rewards those with a capacity for risk and an aptitude for the social sciences, especially economics, game theory, psychology and sociology....
Weiner on Twitter was like an amateur pianist on an improv tear....
Well... there's a big difference between risky, edgy writing displayed to the entire public, and initiating private conversations. And when you're saying things in those private conversations that would be horribly embarrassing if they accidentally went out to everybody, then you're obviously in a different realm. You're no longer playing "the game of Twitter." You're doing something else, with somebody you met at the game.

33 comments:

David said...

Plus, it's all bullshit. He did not really have a national following. He moved up in the Democratic party because he is a bullying manipulative prick. He got some national attention from rabid lefties because he shouts and lies.

Drew said...

Expect the Weiner-apologia to get weirder and more shrill the closer we get to his resignation. (Which I assume is pretty much a given by now.)

Post-resignation, expect to see the whole thing blamed on the bitter clingers.

The Drill SGT said...

The strategy game is a variant of that classic Male/female paradigm.

- Give sex to get love
- Give love to get sex

In the Politican's case it's

Give strokes to get votes

(strokes can be literal or emotional :)

gerry said...

David: What's amazing is that he used race-baiting to win hi seat the first time around.

traditionalguy said...

The Wild Weiner is a highly educated man. He earned a BA from Plattsburgh State, which is 20 miles south of the Canadian border in the Adirondack Mountains.So playing childhood games maybe his escape from a disappointing reality. Keeping up with the progressive attack lies all day can make a man need some escape time to get his head right again.

MadisonMan said...

The beauty of twitter is that you get to deal with people remotely, and not have to interact with them up close and personally, where they will see your foibles for themselves.

It's a wonder that all politicians don't use it.

Scott M said...

You're doing something else, with somebody you met at the game.

Agreed. Aside from the axiomatic truth that I'm hammering into my young kids (who aren't even using social media yet)that anything typed into a computer is permanent and public record, it seems completely plausible that Der Weinerr just screwed up and sent a private "tell" publicly by mistake. That's not his dilemma. The ham-fisted coverup is.

As far as politicians and games, they should really start paying more attention to the way some of the persistent virtual economies work. Economists are in ever growing numbers.

traditionalguy said...

Weiner may be a full functioning modern man, but being a member of the U S House of Representatives does not mix with a life dedicated to game playing with whores and porn stars just because that is what he enjoys doing the most.

David said...

Gerry--thanks for that link. That was a new one for me.

One of the distressing things is how the press allows itself to be manipulated by truly nasty people like Weiner. Anthony got caught, and with luck has risen as far as he ever will, but he's not the only one out there.

virgil xenophon said...

Notice also how Weiner, who has only a BA in Poli-Sci, was labeled (pre-Weinergate) by the S.C.U.M (State Controlled Uber Media) as "aggressive" "articulate" and "informed" simply for being a fast-talking loud-mouthed schnook (h/t Henry the Chicken-Hawk) of no real accomplishments in the real world. Fast-talking Ann Coulter, by contrast, who DOES have an advanced degree (JD)from a university waaay above the academic/social pecking-order from the institution Weiner graduated from, and who is a highly knowledgeable women of real accomplishment in her own right, is labeled as "crazy" by the SCUM.

No, no institutional bias, nothing to see here, move right along...

Scott M said...

but being a member of the U S House of Representatives does not mix with a life dedicated to game playing with whores and porn stars just because that is what he enjoys doing the most.

But he IS uniquely positioned to go straight into porn without suffering through the usual gay porn internship. Nobody's managed that since John Bobbitt. He would be in good company with comparable pump gauge. Sans the scar, of course.

Chip S. said...

Whoever the fuck Virginia Heffernan is, she knows nothing about the Prisioner's Dilemma other than its name. It's clever, but hardly complicated, and it has nothing at all to do with "giving in order to get."

When the media go all-in--to explain why Weiner is really a super-genius or Palin is a corrupt moron--they reveal just how incredibly stupid and ill-educated they really are.

William said...

Weiner is like some rap star whose career arced before I became aware of their existence and is now famous for being a has been. Weiner is the MC Hammer of politics.....He avidly sought fame and is now famous for his infamy.

Fred4Pres said...

What a crock of shit.

Seriously, who writes this crap?

Fred4Pres said...

Virginia Heffernan is putting the cart before the horse. Do you think Anthony Weiner would have 77K followers if he wasn't Congressman Weiner? Twitter is another media to use, but so is television, doing things significant so you get mentioned in the local New York papers, etc.

And while I am not on twitter, I am pretty sure you can participate without having discussions like this one.

Fred4Pres said...

David is correct. Weiner was not much of a national figure before weinergate, other than appealing to lefty dems who like Chuck Schumer. I would suspect before this scandal, most people did not know who he was. And those who did knew him as a "bullying manipulative prick." (an excellent description by David.)

Henry said...

He was not playing the game of Twitter. He was playing the game of twit.

Someone should start a social media buzz flash message photo feed named "Moron".

edutcher said...

The Weiner thought he was protected the way Little Zero is from all bad things.

He forgets that even Zero has a lot of embarrassing things leaking out these days.

PS One presumes this is why Ann no longer has, "Follow me on Twitter", on her sidebar.

William said...

The Twitter sex games were Weiner's way of thinking outside the box. (Get it--outside the box. Extra points for a non weiner pun.)....The ultimate game of life is to win fame, fortune, and the love of beautiful women. All other contests are subordinate to these goals. I suppose Tom Brady is the current champ, but, considering what Weiner had to work with, he did pretty well.....I'm not unsympathetic to Weiner as a human being. As a Congressman, he's a low life, but as a guy entertaining himself while the wife's away, he's fairly inventive and did relatively little harm......I cannot think of any politician who has recovered from a similar disgrace, but his role model should not be a politician. Think Kim Kardashian. Her life became enriched and ennobled after her sex tape scandal.....I think a reality show starring Weiner and Huma would be a sure fire winner. They can continue their quest for fame and fortune but in another, more lucrative venue. Their divorce would be a sure fire ratings grabber as would Anthony's visit to the waxing salon. Just blowing bubbles here, but you can see the potential.

Luke Lea said...

"You're doing something else, with somebody you met at the game." Good line.

Chip S. said...

Her life became enriched and ennobled after her sex tape scandal.

OT, but--why do people typically refer to "sex tapes"? Who the hell is still using videotape?

Old Dad said...

David is absolutely right. Heffernan and Weiner are both full of shit. What the hell does a Harvard PhD in English know about game theory for Christ sakes? Twitter is a cheap way for pols to whore votes.

Weiner was a sucker--a technology imbecile, and as David succintly observes, an insecure loudmouthed prick.

No magic there. Here's a lesson for Harvard PhDs. Don't flash your privates on the internets if you want to keep your day job, and don't mistake adolescent for edgy.

Luke Lea said...

"S.C.U.M (State Controlled Uber Media)"

Back in my day S.C.U.M. stood for "Society to Cut Up Men." An early radical feminist organization -- or maybe just a joke.

X said...

Sorry honey, sending dick tweets is not Game of Thrones.

Fred4Pres said...

Old Dad and David are right that Heffernan does not really know what game theory is (or rather the use of the term in the context of her article does not make a lot of sense and is not really expanded upon). My guess is Heffernan just likes using the term because she thinks it makes her sound smarter.

Scott M said...

Sorry honey, sending dick tweets is not Game of Thrones.

More's the pity. Der Weinerr is obviously loosing and you know what happens when you loose at the game of thrones...

X said...

Weiner should offer to become a eunuch. It's not like he'd ever get laid again if he lost his seat, so that will probably be his next gambit.

Fred4Pres said...

Trying to dodge DMV fees by putting the wrong license plate on his vehilce?

That is so pre twitter of him.

Fred4Pres said...

Trying to dodge DMV fees by putting the wrong license plate on his vehilce?


my bad.

Chip Ahoy said...

I do hope this will be the dumbest column I waste time on this week.


[ Rep Weiner
Lets remember that the debt limit vote is to continue the BUSH debt. #TaxCutsForBilionaires
31May ]

Translation: You're all stupid.

Phil 3:14 said...

why must we over-think this. Like too many guys he couldn't keep his fly closed. Its an age-old story.

King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. ... He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines
1 Kings 11

(And this was supposedly the smartest guy on the planet.)

Phil 3:14 said...

Even Seinfeld had a better explanation.

Bruce Hayden said...

Trying to dodge DMV fees by putting the wrong license plate on his vehilce?

I thought that that was both humorous and enlightening. Here is a bit more detail: Above the Law: Weiner's Pathfinder Has Different Plates, is Unregistered. I like this:

"Switching around license plates is what criminals do," noted a retired Brooklyn accident investigator. "If you are a congressman, you aren't supposed to be switching out your plates. I guess that's the least of his worries."

We have a media painstakingly poring over 24,000 Sarah Palin emails, but in the meantime we've also got a very shady soon-to-be former politician who seems to need a little vetting by the press. A shame they never did any background on Weiner until two weeks ago
.