Thursday, December 1, 2022

Anna Dobler: (M) a year in 280 characters

Anna Dobler: (M) a year in 280 characters

Apart from the daily headlines, what controversies did Twitter deal with this year? A very personal review of the year about gender asterisks, Germany hearts and communist newspaper sellers.

Anna Dobler
25 December 2021 08:37


At the start of the year, German political Twitter dominated the CDU party congress and the question of how a small circle of power would argue if the by far most popular candidate, according to surveys, is prevented out of calculation. Like-minded people networked under the hashtag #TeamMerz with the aim of leading the CDU back to its conservative, bourgeois roots.


Strangely, part of my Twitter discussions this month revolved around the question of whether a young woman in Vienna wanted to sell me a communist newspaper. Because I described that anecdote on Twitter and also expressed myself anti-communist (ie democratic), which aroused strong emotions on links Twitter.

Among other things, a well-known left-wing journalist intervened in the debate and doubted my presentation, whereupon I gave the video evidence. “Would you like to buy a communist newspaper?” Then became a meme on Twitter and some jokers signed me up for newsletters from communist and socialist media in a row. One of them still reaches me today because of it it is technically not possible to cancel it. I still read neither him nor communist newspapers.


The public dispute between Antifa activist Natascha Strobl and the left-wing weekly “Falter” was certainly striking in March. In essence, it was about the question of whether it is true that anti-Semitic slogans can sometimes be heard at anti-fascist demos. A Falter columnist had heard it with horror, but Strobl vehemently denied it and then went underground for a few days on Twitter. Later they all got along again – but this important question could no longer be answered satisfactorily.


Much debated this month was the question of whether it is okay to beg for money on Twitter. Yes, when you are in an emergency, but less when half the business model is based on receiving criticism from controversies, then framing them as shitstorms from the right and then holding your hand at every opportunity. Lament instead of performance. For some it seems worthwhile. What does the tax office actually say?


The gender issue is very present on Twitter this month and it actually shows with every single tweet that a majority of Austrians and Germans have absolutely no desire for the Binnen-I and Ghent asterisk. Nevertheless, a noisy minority wants to establish a new language. The debate has long since degenerated into a culture war. The demands are becoming more and more absurd, which strengthens the resistance. On Twitter, the gender-sensitive spelling has also become a code with which you can signal like-minded people that you are also one of “the good guys”.


In fact, the German political Twitter dealt intensively this month, among other things, with the question of whether it is okay to be proud of the German national colors. The background was a left wing criticism of a police unionist for tweeting three hearts in black, red and gold. That in turn mobilized a lot in the camp of the sensible, so that the Twitter conclusion was: Yes, it’s okay, especially with people who work for the state.


The summer month was shaped, among other things, by the baby news from Kurz. The news met with great public interest and heads of government from various neighboring countries congratulated – I was surprised on Twitter about the silence from Germany, which in turn was taken up by the German EU parliamentarian Martin Sonneborn for a satirical, but unfortunately also tasteless tweet.


Is it allowed to call a horde of mad men who have attacked a woman “monkeys”? In late August, a more intense Twitter discussion actually revolved around this question, as activists described the phrase as racist in a police officer’s tweet. Ironically, it was mainly left-wing women who were obviously more interested in defending the horde of men than their female victim.


Halb Polit-Twitter posted screenshots of their Wahl-O-Mat results before the German general election and a left-wing Spiegel columnist publicly boasted that she had 100 percent political agreement with the radical Left Party. Only a little later this party had to tremble with significant losses to be able to return to the Bundestag, which also shows that Twitter majorities are not necessarily democratic majorities.


Once again, celebrities spoke up in a campaign to criticize the Corona measures, among other things. That immediately set off “swaggering reflections” on Twitter. In other words: Everyone who takes part in such a campaign or who publicly endorses it should de facto lose his right to freedom of expression because he is not to be taken seriously as an “oath” anyway. “Why can’t we simply classify critical comments on the corona policy as valuable contributions to the debate instead of always dequalifying everything immediately in a kind of automatism? What’s wrong with this country? #Everything on the table“I wanted to know on Twitter. This in turn led to discussions and the instructive realization that it is becoming increasingly difficult to tweet on the topic at all.


How important is the economy in our society? A question that was eagerly debated on Twitter in November. The background was demands from primarily the left to make the lockdowns even harder and longer. Lockdown critics were repeatedly confronted on Twitter with the argument that after all, the economy is not as important as a human life – but that human lives also depend on the economic prosperity of a society does not seem to have reached everyone’s minds.


Finally. Friedrich Merz becomes the new CDU chairman. And the city of Vienna will no longer allow itself to be danced on by eco-activists. After all, a conciliatory end of the year – at least for parts of the political Twitter bubble.

Anna Dobler is a multi-award-winning, trained and studied journalist and columnist. After working in Berlin, Munich, Italy and Salzburg, she now lives and works in Vienna. @Doblerin advocates free markets and free opinion on Twitter.

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