May 5, 2021

Trump discovers blogging.

Yesterday, I read "Trump launches new communications platform months after Twitter, Facebook ban The space will allow Trump to post comments, images, and videos" (Fox News).

But it's not a "new communications platform" other than in the sense that he's new to communicating in this old way, the way that I love and hold dearest. It's a blog. 

The platform, "From the Desk of Donald J. Trump" appears on  

Fine. But why didn't he set up a page like this as soon as he got dumped from Twitter and Facebook? By the way, the Facebook Oversight Board is issuing its opinion on Trump this morning, so he might get back onto Facebook. [UPDATE: Trump lost.]

I can think of 2 good reasons why Trump might have delayed putting up a blog. First, he was actively arguing that Twitter and Facebook were oppressing him. If he has an easy work-around, it undercuts his argument. Second, he may have wanted to create something that really would be a new communications platform, something more like Twitter (or Parler), where millions of microbloggers could pour in and react back and forth to each other, creating waves of passionate chitchat and the seeming newsiness of trends. But it just didn't work. It was hard to design and keep running or too expensive or legally problematic. After months of experimenting, they gave up and went utterly minimal, with a blog — a blog that could have been put up the day Twitter banned him.

I see many people are mocking Trump for blogging. It's just a blog! The mockery makes sense aimed at Fox News and anyone else who calls it a "communications platform," but don't mock the blogger. The blog is sublime! I don't mean Trump's blog in particular, but The Blog, in the abstract and in my experience (which is 17 years of daily blogging). 

Will Trump's blog be sublime? We shall see. If he blogs the same way that he tweeted, it might not work. He doesn't even have comments, so where's the dynamic? His style is to attack things and on Twitter, you have more of the sense of hitting someone who's there with you, and then your followers retweet that and get something going, back and forth. It's a game to be played. By contrast, the blog just sits there, more like a book. Want to read it? Where's the sport in that? 

Trump had millions of followers on Twitter, and all they had to do was show up at Twitter and his little nibbles of quips and carps popped instantly into their heads. Do these people have the kind of heads that will go to Trump's blog and maybe copy the text and maybe the link and go back to Twitter to try to propagate the man's latest words? Or did Twitter — with Trump — ruin those heads, make them so dependent on little yummy word snacks that they can't pull it together to read a blog anymore?

Possible solution: Read books! It's retro, like Billie Eilish in a corset. No no, not like Billie Eilish in a corset. Books are not squeezing you smaller in the places convention designates as needing to be as small as possible. That's more like Twitter. Twitter and your brain.

As for blogs... well, it all depends on the blog.

(You can email me here. I don't have comments anymore. I have email! Speaking of retro.)

FROM THE EMAIL: Alex writes: 

I have to wonder if Facebook's decision, and Trump's move to a blogging platform, won't backfire on the anti-Trump establishment. Without the stream of consciousness of Twitter, Trump may be forced to slow down and replace instant, brief, commentary with something that is still relevant, but a bit longer and more nuanced. This risks making him look respectable and even *gasp* dignified and statesman-like. Well... ish. As for comments, I'd think the first step is getting into a rhythm regarding publishing his thoughts on the new platform, as well as deciding how to deal with issues such as the inevitable trolls and nutjobs. I wouldn't be surprised if eventually there's a deal to integrate Gab or Parler as a means of commenting.