DC RIOT: The really striking thing is that the rioters were creating content for social media. It’s where the power lay

Like many people I watched the scenes in Washington DC with a sense of shock.

A crowd pumped-up by President Donald Trump marched on the Capitol building – the US equivalent of the Palace of Westminster – broke their way in and forced the suspenion of the election of President Joe Biden.

To someone who grew up on American soft power the occasion was jaw-dropping. There was a sense of 9/11 about it. Stuff was happening that shouldn’t be happening.

I’m in no place to comment on US politics but I’ve found myself hoovering it up in the last six months. This is partly because the character of who is the Leader of the Free World has a bearing on British politics. Partly, this is because politics is a petri dish for experimental comms and partly pure escapism from the truly depressing state of British politics in 2021.

I wasn’t going to blog about the episode but this tweet caught my eye for its simple truth:

Real power lies in the content you create and the protestors got that instinctively.

In 1812, when the British Army sacked Washington had there been Instagram there would have been Red Coats LOL-ing in the Oval office too.

I’m not sure why that tweet has landed but it has.

In 2016, the Turkish military staged a failed coup by rolling tanks up to the airport and TV station. President Erdogan defeated it because he was still in possession of his iphone and Facetimed his country to demand his supporters take to the streets. They did.

There is truly a different rule book in the 21st century.

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