Dueling Biden Hashtags Have Been Trending: #IStandWithBiden Vs. #BidenDisaster
President Joe Biden waves as he arrives at Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington on Monday, August 16. … [+]
One day after President Joe Biden was called to the Taliban on social media for handling the case of the Afghan capital Kabul, it is clear that he is receiving a lot of support on social platforms. By early Tuesday afternoon, the hashtag #IStandWithBiden was trending with more than 50,000 tweets.
The vast majority offered support to the president, although some continue to question whether his decision to withdraw US forces and essentially end America’s longest war was the right one. It is noteworthy how quickly the anti-Biden commentary took over Twitter on Monday, with hashtags like #WhereIsBiden and #BidenDisaster making the rounds, while on Tuesday it was the exact opposite.
This continues to show the huge political divide our country is in, but it also underscores the power of social media to seriously amplify the voices of a very small percentage of the population. The 50,000 tweets on Monday, followed by an equal number on Tuesday, could also show the passion that political debates on social media bring.
That is not to say that the comment is actually for the common good. Just as many of the anti-Biden comments were angry with no solid argument, a similar line of passionate support was posted on Tuesday. Indeed, just a few comments might be enough to sway different opinions and have the effectiveness of a protest sign on a political march.
However, some comments were instructive.
“The loudest and most extreme voices are amplified very quickly on social media,” explains telecommunications industry analyst Roger Entner of Recon Analytics.
“They are the snowflakes that agglomerate in an avalanche and overwhelm the silent, much more rational majority,” warned Entner.
A political sample
While those who voice their opinions may be the most extreme, social media can still serve as a real-time indicator of public opinion on fast-paced events, such as the president’s reaction to the fall of Kabul by insurgent forces.
The quick responses, which condemned Biden’s decision, gave insight into the public’s attitude towards the situation. Whether it could be as effective as an actual survey is not yet clear, but the responses should be viewed as authentic and even passionate.
“Social media is kind of an accurate barometer of real sentiment, as long as you remember to leave out other feelings that are also real reflections of opinions that are not shared on social media,” said Matthew Schmidt, Ph.D. , Professor of Political Science and Coordinator at the Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences at the University of New Haven.
The fact that there were two waves of glowing and even glowing hashtags condemning rather than praising the president should speak volumes about the political divide while suggesting that social media has really become a major part of political discourse.
“Duel memes have always existed in American politics,” said Schmidt. “They are at least as old as the fight for IRL supporters (in real life) in the War of Independence. What we see today in the political arena, the divisions, is not really new in our history. That is the norm after World War II until 2000 is the unusual. “