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Jamie Bartlett @JamieJBartlett
, 7 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
A lot of debate at the moment about what is driving the ‘populist’ moment. The left tends to say the financial crisis; the right says immigration. I believe both miss the role of the internet in changing the nature of political communication. (Thread)
Obviously social media helps outsiders left & right. It lowers the cost of mobilisation & organisation. And because outsiders have felt ignored & smeared by ‘MSM’ they were all early adopters. EDL, Swedish Democrats, Syriza - all were miles ahead of establishment parties.
But there’s something more fundamental too. Populists are usually defined as having 2 characteristics. 1) Simple & immediate answers to complicated questions & 2) pitting decent ordinary folk against a venal political / cultural ‘elite’.
Social media is a good vehicle for both. First, the populist message is far more attuned to our lives as consumers. Immediate, perfect answers - right now! Populist politics is like dating on Tinder or shopping on Amazon. Populists are more in tune with technology of today.
Second, social media is a way around ‘the elite’ who run the show - a direct route to the ‘decent common sense man on the street’ that they all claim to represent. No wonder they all love (and will increasingly call for I guarantee) digital direct democracy. Just watch.
This is not therefore about fake news - a patronising liberal orthodoxy which says the silly proles are easily duped and don’t know their own interests. It’s not about left vs right either. It’s a deeper change to the structure, incentives & style of our communications.
This comes at the expense of ‘moderates’ & ‘establishment’ interests. Something to cheer perhaps, but the first true digital politician is Trump.

I’ll be discussing all this at a @FunzingUK event on 15th October w/ @GoodwinMJ & @CatrinNye. Tickets here:…
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