Engaging the Opposition, Part I: Social Media Agitation
by Jed Alexander
U.S. Congressman Jason Chaffetz (Utah’s 3rd Congressional District) recently told a crowd at a Salt Lake City town hall that protestors around the country are being paid. As I write and ponder what Chaffetz insinuated, I’m thinking perhaps I should count every word on this page and invoice him for this protest piece alone. The only catch is will he actually pay me? If he doesn’t, does this mean I can retain a lawyer and sue him for not paying an independent contractor like myself, which he has no obligation to do, thus proving my claim irrelevant. Let me think about that one and get back to all of you.
I kid, of course, but wouldn’t it be lovely? What I would like to focus on and suggest are different tactics Code Blue members can use in either engaging or educating the opposition through something I’d like to call “social media agitation.”
Per Merriam-Webster, the word agitator is defined as follows:
one that agitates: such as
a : one who stirs up public feeling on controversial issues <political agitators>
Similar to words like “liberal” and “progressive,” where the meaning has become skewed over time, agitator is now associated with a movement beyond peaceful protesting, rather violent action(s). We need to reclaim agitator and engage in positive outreach.
Social media agitation is how Code Blue members, friends of CB, or associates in other groups, can browse, scavenge and infiltrate various news sites and public forums to bring the individual(s) in a given thread to some common ground, potential group membership or perhaps planting tiny indirect seeds of Code Blue’s mission.
This kind of agitation is something I do myself and this is how I do it.
Mission: To More Effectively Engage the Opposition Online
- If there are comments attacking an individual, use humor or polite defensive techniques to gain sympathy in your favor and off those individual(s).
- Provide accurate facts for the individual(s) attacking the thread.
- Private message potential members who sound like they can contribute to Code Blue.
- If there’s an endless argument, rants, etc., provide information on local and state elections for people to get involved, or make a simple joke to disarm the negativity.
- Online groups may include CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, NPR, BBC, The New York Times, TIME, The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and yes, those similar to Breitbart. There are many but this is a start.
Some of you may already troll various sites to provide accurate information or correct those in the thread. If that’s the case, keep up the great work. What I’d like for us to attempt is to sway the thread in our favor and have them eventually focus on what matters in the end for our group: Building a progressive majority at the local, state and federal level.